According to some, Chris Paul is not just one of the best point guards of all time, but Top 5. Period. Over the last little while I’m seeing big name analysts claim that he’s the best point guard since Magic Johnson. This is after coming into the NBA Draft dubbed as ‘the next’ Isiah Thomas. Over his Hall of Fame career we’ve seen him play with tenacity on both ends of the court, and be back home in time for a long summer vacation each year.
He’s truly one of the best at never leading his team anywhere while getting paid a lot.
Furthermore, if you want a vocal leader on the court who will yell at the refs all game long and kick his legs out like a baby having a tantrum, it’s hard not to select Paul over other guards like Gary Payton, Oscar Robertson, and others.
It’s hard to even think of other point guards who have tangible accomplishments when you get lost so easily in Paul’s light brown eyes, slightly obscured by lush lashes.
Only the most boring and not-fun people would even look past the suprificial superstar and see that, yes, there are flaws there. Some think that there’s a valid comparison to be made between Paul and guys like Magic and Isiah - multiple championship winners who dominated the position. Is CP3 even in the Top 3 at his right now? Really? In an era of Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, and man, non-playoff version of Kyle Lowry?
It’s absurd that we elevate Paul, and in the same absentminded thought, disregard John Stockton. Stockton CRUSHES Paul in everything besides shooting the ball a lot as a pass-first point guard and TV ads.
Someone said that CP3 would pass John in steals, an admission that no one will pass him for assists. Right now, not including playoff stats - which should count for career stats - John has 3265 steals. Chris has 1910. Chris is 1355 behind, and 58.49 % of the way there.
John played 19 years, and Chis is in his 12th. CP3 plays fewer games per year and gets fewer steals per season. Only twice in his 12 season career did he finish with more steals than John - and both of those were back when John was a bench player. So for 10 of the 12 seasons between the two players Stockton has increased his lead.
It’s just very hard to pass someone when you go slower than them. Paul, in 12 years, has 1910 steals as previous mentioned. At that same time, 12 years in the NBA, Stockton had 2365. That’s more than 400 more.
How likely is it that Paul is going to make up that 400 difference, AND catch up to the 1000 more he’s behind? Paul is no spring chicken. He’s 31 and I don’t know if the advancements in medicine and private planes will help extend his career. He’s been injured his entire career. Stockton was a whole lot tougher. You can’t get ANY stats if you are sitting behind the bench in a suit.
He’s also in his third movement of his career, if you divide a career into segments of five seasons each. Let’s look at the breakdowns for both players:
- Season 1-5: Stockton 82.0 games average, 189.6 steals per season
- Season 6-10: Stockton 81.2 games average, 216.6 steals per season
- Season 11-15: Stockton 72.0 games average, 134.0 steals per season
- Season 16-20: Stockton 82.0 games average, 141.0 steals per season
He didn’t play to season 20, only season 19. But his career averages are playing in 79.2 games per season, and stealing away 171.8 balls a season.
Paul? Sure, let’s play this game.
- Season 1-5: Paul 69.0 games average, 164.4 steals per season
- Season 6-10: Paul 70.8 games average, 163.8 steals per season
- Season 11-15: Paul 67.5 games average, 134.5 steals per season
- Season 16-20: To be determined if he makes it this far. State Farm pays well.
Wow. I’m really impressed. The history books will remember him well: 69.5 games a season, 159.2 steals per season.
At his career averages, it will take Paul another 8.51 seasons to catch Stockton. Is he going to be at his career average, though, for seasons 13+? Really? Is Paul really going to want to play 21 years in the NBA? Can he?
It gets worse. If you recognize he can’t be at his peak, or his average, but you look at just the last four seasons he’s only playing getting 144.75 steals a season. That means he’ll have to play 9.36 more seasons to catch John. So, 22 seasons in the NBA? A 40+ year old Paul out there throwing tantrums, trying to catch an actual legend?
N.B. The Slopes for those sections . . . you can’t catch up to someone by going slower than them.
Princess Christina, she who has yet to make it to a Conference Finals cotillion, is historically significant. But she’s a whiner, not a winner. And even if people think she’s better than any point guard after Magic (really? Steve Nash won two MVPs and revolutionized the offensive system of the NBA), then it’s okay. People are allowed to be wrong. Just like the people who think that Stockton will ever be caught.
You can’t catch someone who is the master at stealing. To be a master at stealing means you’ve spent your career not being caught. And he will not be. If they ever decide to pony up and recognize that winning is what matters the most and add playoff values to career numbers . . . that’s almost another 400 for John, and about 150 for Chris.
If Chris Paul is great, then John Stockton is epic. If Chris Paul is HOF worthy, John Stockton is on Mt. Olympus. If Chris Paul is Top 5 all-time, then there’s no honest way John Stockton isn’t at worst Top one smaller number than Paul. Ever. Forever. Chris Paul needs a sever migration glitch where there are TWO of him to get close to Stockton when it comes to assists. Man, Stockton has so many more playoff game winners . . . how is this even a debate? Because of recency bias and three point attempts?
Pathetic. Just like the Clippers. Period. Full stop.