Top 50: Chris Paul, no. 7

by Myles Brown / @mdotbrown

It’s only right, I suppose. The two of them, one right after the other.

Nah. Fuck that. This is wrong.

Point guards are a largely slept upon bunch, mostly due to our own misplaced values. They don’t score or rebound at the rate of post or swingmen and they’re a comparatively less intimidating defensive presence. With only three or so exceptions, point guards don’t win MVP and they don’t winChris Paul championships.

Due to such thinking-logical as it may be-floor generals have practically been relegated to a subspecies, left only to argue amongst themselves as to who is best since they can’t be considered alongside their contemporaries.

Which is why were constantly quibbling about whether Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA rather than the best player, period.

When such debate arises, the question of who’s the leagues best playmaker is routinely answered with another. ‘How can Chris Paul be the best point guard when Deron Williams dominates him in head to head matchups?’ Well, the same way The Wire can be the best show on TV yet have no ratings or Emmys to show for it. The game is rigged. Right, Bodie?

Deron Williams should get the best of any head to head matchup. He’s bigger, stronger and has better teammates. But in comparing overall ability and production, Paul can hold his own with anyone in the league, not just Williams.

Besides LeBron James, is there anyone more dangerous in the open court than Chris Paul? Including LeBron James-and Steve Nash, for that matter-is there a better passer in the NBA? Vision, timing, accuracy, discernment and at such a breakneck speed? Methinks not.

Are there more clutch players? Better leaders? Stronger competitors? More efficient players? More talented players? More valuable players? Maybe, but six still seems like three too many.

And when considering those three, consider the excuses we afforded them in their claims for supremacy. ‘He’s stuck under bad management!’ ‘He doesn’t have a good coach!’ ‘He doesn’t have any teammates!’ Well now they have everything they need. Now it’s Chris Paul’s turn.

The other name consistently coupled with Chris Paul-the one I’m more inclined to mention-is Isiah Thomas, one of the three aforementioned exceptions. Obviously not as a competitor, like Williams, just as a reference point. But because the name Isiah Thomas draws little more than laughter in many circles, such a reference is lost. To those I say, that guy with the pills, the guy who called that gal a bitch, the guy who killed the CBA, the Knicks and possibly your pet turtle? He was a bad motherfucker. So no, you shut your mouth.

He has no gold medal and only one Finals MVP to show for it, but let it be said loudly and often that Isiah Thomas won back to back titles when Jordan, Magic and Bird were at or near their prime. Think about it. While that and a dollar still won’t get you a coffee at Starbucks, it will get you the eternal respect of your peers, even if it is begrudging. And maybe a lapdance on Thursdays when Cinnamon is working.

Anyway, as I was saying. Same uncontainable speed, quickness, ball handling, heart and desire. Same strength of leadership. And Chris Paul could do the same thing: beat the unbeatable. Twice even.

You don’t believe me? I’ll prove it you. Just help me get him the hell out of New Orleans.

Then we can talk about these other six guys in front of him again. But please, no more about Deron Williams. It’s just getting silly.

Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 10 9
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 9 8
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 8 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 7 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR
Gerald Wallace Bobcats SF 32 NR 7 NR
Manu Ginobili Spurs SG 31 29 6 7
Tony Parker Spurs PG 30 15 9 3
Kevin Garnett Celtics PF 29 13 9 3
Rudy Gay Grizzlies SF 28 44 6 9
Josh Smith Hawks PF 27 40 8 13
Andre Iguodala 76ers SG 26 26 5 6
Al Jefferson Jazz PF 25 23 7 7
Russell Westbrook Thunder PG 24 NR 8 NR
Chauncey Billups Nuggets PG 23 19 7 5
Tyreke Evans Kings PG 22 NR 6 NR
Danny Granger Pacers SF 21 21 5 5
Carlos Boozer Bulls PF 20 32 6 9
Paul Pierce Celtics SF 19 17 4 4
Joe Johnson Hawks SG 18 20 4 4
Rajon Rondo Celtics PG 17 27 5 8
Amar’e Stoudemire Knicks PF 16 16 5 6
Steve Nash Suns PG 15 22 4 6
Tim Duncan Spurs PF 14 6 4 1
Chris Bosh Heat PF 13 13 3 4
Derrick Rose Bulls PG 12 18 3 4
Brandon Roy Blazers SG 11 10 3 3
Pau Gasol Lakers PF 10 14 2 5
Dirk Nowiztki Mavs PF 9 9 1 2
Deron Williams Jazz PG 8 11 2 2
Chris Paul Hornets PG 7 4 1 1

• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.