Chris Paul is a great point guard. He passes when his guys are open, and he draws fouls when he has to. He's speedy with the ball, and knows how to direct his team in the halfcourt. If commercials are to be believed, he'd also be the best biology teacher in the world. That said, for all of his All-Star game nods, magazine covers, and Gold Medals, he only has three wins against the Utah Jazz. This is Chris' sixth season in the NBA. Again, he has three wins in his career against this team that's in the same conference as him. Chis was drafted back in 2005, rightfully behind Deron Williams if head to head means anything. Despite Deron Williams' 14 wins against the Hornets, and Chris' 3 wins against the Jazz, Chris is called the better point guard. (Up until this past playoffs)
Jordan didn't let some shooting guard eat his lunch his entire career. Shaq won his head to heads against Ewing and David Robinson. Karl Malone feasted on Barkley, Kevin McHale, and Derrick Coleman. You can't be the best at your position if someone else at your position owns you, and his teams always beat yours.
This is, if we're being honest here, what we have to look at when we try to defend Chris Paul as the best point guard in his era. They both put up stats, but one of them wins games, especially head to head. I want to focus on head to head here because I don't want Chris Paul fans to cry over the fact that Chris has 8 playoff wins in his entire career while lowly Deron only has 20. Take the emphasis off of the teams, and well, the stats tell a compelling story.
It's a horror story if you are a Chris Paul fan . . . well, it's not THAT bad, but it's not "best point guard in the NBA" worthy either.
It's remarkably close . . . but shooting 41 fg% and 21 3pt% isn't going to get it done, and looks really bad when Deron is shooting 56 fg% and 40 3pt%. The main difference is efficiency. And against Deron Williams, Paul becomes highly inefficient compared to his 'normal' self. Not only is Paul shooting more frequently than Deron, but he's doing a really bad job whenever he attempts a shot -- that's not from the free throw line. Deron also out assists Paul and our rebounds him as well. It's not by much, but it appears to be enough.
And while Deron is doing enough to collect these wins, Paul's been enjoying a lot of losses. I guess then it's just that Chris Paul is just having another bad game against the Jazz, right? What happens when you make a career out of having bad games against a certain player / team? I guess it makes you the better player. Paul's 99 Go Rating translates to a very good player. And I'm being quite obsequious with this post . . . but Deron is playing much better than him (125 Go Rating is much higher, a 26 GO Rating difference is the difference between Pau Gasol and Danny Manning). After all, Chris Paul's CAREER Go Rating is 142. Deron's holding him down to 43 less than his AVERAGE (not his highs or anything). What does that mean in terms of Go Rating? That's like dropping down Steve Nash (93) to the ranks of a Brevin Knight (50).
And that's why, especially when these two guys go head to head, Chris Paul is the better point guard. He's so good at passing, and spreading the wealth, that he even makes the worse point guard look good. He's that unselfish.
Or maybe he's just not the best point guard in the NBA . . . right?
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