Insider Request: Is Chris Paul the Best PG Ever?

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Will CP3 surpass Magic?
Yes, he's more efficient.
26%
 26%  [4]
No, not enough jewelry.
73%
 73%  [11]
Total Votes : 15

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uncool
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Looks interesting...

CP3Heliflopter
CTB MVP X2
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Simply put it is extremely doubtful unless he racks up several Finals MVPs and MVPs.

I can definitely see him becoming a top 3 PG all time however.

Playing on a terrible franchise like the NOHs makes it very difficult to have much postseason success no matter how good you are.

Its stupid for them to even make this comparison WHEN CP3 hasn't even made it to the WCFs. Its not his fault of course but its silly at this point. When CP3 wins a Finals MVP maybe they can talk about this.

FightOnRon
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After converting an "and one" late in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night, Chris Paul surpassed Magic Johnson on a dusty page in the record books. With 20 points and 11 assists, Paul registered a double-double for the 12th straight game to start the season, breaking Johnson's record, set in 1990-91.

Get used to hearing Paul displacing Johnson's standing in history, because Paul already is on pace to be the best point guard to ever step foot in the league. At least he is statistically. The sad thing is that almost no one even realizes this is happening.

I know what you're thinking: "Better than Magic? Paul has never even been to the NBA Finals. He's never even won an MVP. How dare you stomp on Magic's legacy!"

Stomp on this: Paul has the highest player efficiency rating of any point guard in history (25.6) and considerably higher than Johnson (23.5). And if you look at win shares, which estimates the number of wins a player contributes to the bottom line, it tells the same story. Just 12 games into his ninth season, Paul already has more career win shares than Johnson had through nine seasons.

Here are Paul's per-game and advanced metrics next to Johnson's so far:

CP3 vs Magic: Through nine seasons

PLAYER MPG PTS AST TOV FG%/3FG%/FT% WS/48 WS PER

Paul 36.5 18.6 9.9 2.4 .472/.353/.860 .244 105.4 25.6

Johnson 36.8 19.1 11.0 3.9 .533/.192/.823 .213 104.2 23.5

So why don't people think of Paul in this light?

Behold, the power of Hall of Fame supporting casts.

As far as NBA teammates go, Johnson came into the league with a basketball in one hand and a silver spoon in the other. As luck would have it, the Lakers drafted Johnson No. 1 overall, and immediately he joined a star-studded Lakers team that featured two future Hall of Famers in their prime -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jamaal Wilkes. At 32, Abdul-Jabbar still was dominating the league and won the MVP award in Johnson's rookie season by averaging 24.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.4 blocks per game on 60.4 percent shooting. Sure enough, with Abdul-Jabbar, Wilkes, future two-time All-Star Norm Nixon and defensive stud Michael Cooper in tow, Johnson won a championship in his very first season in the league, due in no small part to his own heroics in the clinching Game 6.

You know who Paul had on his team his rookie season? David West and Speedy Claxton. That's not a knock on West or Claxton, but Claxton isn't a future Hall of Famer and West isn't one of the top handful of players to ever pick up a basketball. But these were the cards that Paul was dealt. Unlike Johnson (and Tim Duncan more recently), Paul wasn't fortunate enough to land on a team with a Hall of Famer in his prime.

This is a trend that holds throughout Paul's career. The guy has had pretty crummy teammates by any reasonable standard. Paul's lack of support cuts two ways in the legacy-building department. Not only did his teams rarely contend for a title, but the weak rosters hurt his MVP credentials, because voters tend to fixate over team win totals.

No doubt Johnson was elite and deserves the "greatest point guard ever" moniker, but let's not overlook that he was also gifted with great teammates. To illustrate this phenomenon, I compared the 50 best teammates of Johnson's first eight seasons next to Paul's in his first eight seasons, using win shares, which can be found on Basketball-Reference.com.

The results might shock some, but it shouldn't if we consider the enormous talent gap on the Lakers against the Hornets/Clippers. To wit, Johnson enjoyed six seasons of Abdul-Jabbar that were better than anything Paul has been gifted in the NBA. Furthermore, 31 of Johnson's teammates put up at least a five-win season on their own merits; just about half as many for Paul, with 17.

You can see the jarring difference in the chart below. Johnson played with Hall of Famers like Abdul-Jabbar, Wilkes and James Worthy. Paul has played with West, Blake Griffin and Tyson Chandler. In all, Johnson's 50 best teammates contributed 314.3 wins in eight seasons. Paul's best slapped together nearly 100 fewer, just 219.8 wins.

[b]right here a big graph of chris vs magic that won"t copy[/b]

If you prefer more traditional standards, Johnson shared the court with an All-Star 13 times in the first eight seasons of his career. Paul? Try four. That means once every couple of seasons on average, Paul would get lucky enough to play with an All-Star. Johnson enjoyed at least one All-Star on his team every season he played in the league until he left the game in 1991. And often times, he had two of them.

To be clear, this study is not meant to diminish Johnson's career, but rather to provide some important context to Paul's. As irrational as it is, it has become standard practice these days to reduce a player's rsum into a count of championship rings and MVP awards, which are heavily influenced by teammate quality over player quality. It remains a mystery how Kobe Bryant won the 2007-08 MVP over Paul, who bested Bryant in just about every meaningful category except for points per game.

So what else does Paul need to do to top Johnson? For one, he needs to keep up this level of play for a few more seasons. He currently ranks in the top five in PER this season, and ranks second in his career among active players behind LeBron James.

But the truth is that no matter how unfair it might seem, the court of public opinion will ultimately judge Paul by titles and MVP awards. And in that department, Johnson owns three MVPs and five rings, so Paul has some work to do there. With J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley added to the fold, this Clippers roster probably contains the most talent he's ever played with (though the bench goes maybe three players deep). If the Clippers put together a 60-win season, Paul might indeed win his first MVP award, which will help boost his all-time standing.

But statistically, he's closed the gap on Johnson, regardless of the record Paul broke Wednesday. Now Paul just needs the hardware. The question is whether his roster is finally good enough to get it.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
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Simply answer....no. I'd take Magic without hesitation. Nice thought though.

FightOnRon
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Well the game is different then compared to now,but I agree. Magic any day.

CapsNClips
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Magic is the best PG of all time, but you'd have to be a paraplegic to not win with that 80's Lakers roster. I'm sure Chris would have 4 or 5 rings if you replace Magic with Chris. Magic had 2 Finals MVP's on his roster.

Chris needs 1 reg season MVP and a Championship to be mentioned with Magic. I think he will still be better than Stockton and Thomas even if he never wins either of those things.

ClipperPostman
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1254
votes: 17

You put Chris Paul with those lakers and they'd have 10 rings.

The reality though is Chris has to win at least 1 ring,

finals mvp, and reg season MVP. Which will be hard

considering the politics behind it.

I'm sure Lebron will get MVP a few more times,

then they will start giving it to Durant to turn him into

the Cash Cow as lebron starts to diminish.

catalyst
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Chris Paul is my favorite NBA player since his rookie season and I admit I started rooting for the Hornets and later for the Clippers because of him. I've never been a team fan ever since mainly because I'm from the Philippines and I don't have that sense of pride, passion and knowledge of team history to be dedicated enough to any team. So to root for a player is the next best thing for me.

To be honest at first I was disappointed that Chris didn't went to a team that is ready to contend and win it all, because how else can he prove he is the best PG if he lacks the hardware to prove it. I was frustrated for him, sure APG and SPG titles are nice and all but that can't take him far. I'm sick and tired of people saying that Tony Parker or Drose is better than Chris or say that he's overrated just because he haven't won anything significant which is somewhat slowly becoming frustratingly true unless he proves them wrong.

For Chris to achieve some of this little milestones in his career he's proving that he IS the Best PG in this league dominated by many great and upcoming PG.

But then again these achievements continue to mean nothing if he doesn't get at least an MVP (that 2007-08 season really succccccckks big time! damn you Kobe!), a Finals Mvp and a Ring. Also to compare Magic and CP3 is unfair maybe to both but I have to agree Magic over CP3 or we just have to wait and see what Chris have to say.

austin009009
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Once he wins at least 3 rings we can start this conversation

austin009009
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until then he is just the best PG right now

Agent0
CTB MVP X1
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Regular season he has an argument, but the reality is that when you have close players, even if Paul has never truly had a capable team, you have to have playoff success to lay any claim of best ever.

Magic has the advantage that he was a very big player and he could score easier than Paul can against a tough defense. Paul has to work a lot harder to score.

Outside of some nostalgia and the rings, and story lines, Chris really has been a better player than Isiah Thomas, but don't tell some people that, they might have a heart attack.

Thomas was good, but his teams did win on the back of great defense as much as they did on his ability. He arguably wasn't even the best offensive player on the team in both championships.

toohipcliptoslip
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That's an interesting question.

Magic is a better PLAYER. CP couldn't have done what Magic did, play all five positions. Magic was bigger and a stronger defender but not as quick. Would CP have worked with the Showtime Lakers. I have only my gut feel and it says NO. Don't ask why.

The Stockton-Malone twins were better. Stockton alone Who knows??? How about the Griffin-Paul twins???

OSCAR DOES THE SPLITS You youngsters forget Old School

Averages a triple double one year 30 pts, 12.5 reb, 11.4 assists before the 3 pt shot. Most career triple doubles 181. Magic 136, 42 triple doubles in one year.

Credited by most authorities as being the 3rd GOAT. He finally got rings when Kareem played with the Bucks.

He would get more assists now because the rules have changed but there is a five sec (?) backdown rule now. His ppg would have been higher because of the 3 pt shot. He was inhumanly strong.

Paul has yet to prove how good he is. Head to head against Magic or Oscar who would win? Not Paul. Even more interesting due to the generational increase in size, make Oscar 6'7". Oscar vs Magic would be REAL interesting. Oscar was meaner. Neither were above the rim players so "athleticism" shouldn't play a factor

So much of this is personal preference like who was the GOAT Wilt of MJ. -- Or which came first the chicken or the egg? I couldn't forcefully disagree with any of the above. Apples and oranges

HOWEVER. If I had to pick a player who would help me win be he the greatest PG or not I would pick Oscar. Who would you pick? That's the real question.

I say this once every three months but for you pups PLEASE go on you tube and check out Bob Cousey. Once there were five seconds to play and Cous' was dribbling the ball and the whole opposing team was trying to foul him. They couldn't catch him. His foul shooting was near 100% (sorta). At 60ish years old he's giving an interview and shooting FT's. During the whole interview he doesn't miss one. He shoots the last one left handed. He could dribble with his right hand pass the ball behind his back to his left hand and shoot with his left hand and never break stride. Give him 5 more inches and put him on the floor today and the conversation may be different.

Toohip 3:16 The answer is - The Rooster

CP3Heliflopter
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^Really Oscar's ppg and apg would be higher? Seems like extreme era bias to me since it would be the complete opposite. It is true that assists were recorded differently in Oscar's era but the pace was also much faster. Much much faster. His stats would be down across the board. His raw stats would probably be a bit lower than Lebron's for the most part with lesser scoring efficiency and inferior defense. As for Paul vs Oscar. You are correct Paul hasn't "proven it" but remember Oscar didn't win until he was 32 and Kareem was the best player on that Bucks team by far. As for the ppg argument. Its hard to say how good Oscar would be in today's era. Defenses nowadays are much more sophisticated compared to back then. How would Oscar fare if he faced a defense like the Spurs that dared him to shoot just like they did with Lebron? Of course I think he would probably be a great player but its just different and difficult to compare eras.

Btw I would pick Magic though I have Oscar at number 2.

toohipcliptoslip
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Not really an era bias. The only Old School guys I bring up are Wilt and Oscar. Cous' is a history lesson like Bob Petit. We don't know how good a three point shooter he was but it's fair to assume - pretty good since he had a 30 ppg season. He didn't win a ring till late because he never had another elite player until Kareem. You usually need three. Oscar's game was one of strength not speed so the tempo may not have mattered that much. As far as defense against the Spurs it depends on who he has on his team. A PG's success depends on who he plays with. That's why I said Stockton-Malone twins. Comparing him to Lebron is interesting but LBJ doesn't have almost 10 assists over his whole career but Oscar had four years of college. A PG who has double digit rebounds? Oscar with Showtime could have worked. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of film out there to really compare.

As far as defenses being more sophisticated , he could learn.

Oscar and I are both from Indianapolis.

Back to the topic, you didn't mention CP3 and neither did I. At least Magic is from the Midwest. Oscar PG Magic SG beat that.

toohipcliptoslip
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These are interesting discussions like Ali vs Louis vs Marciano vs Tyson (a joke) vs Sonny Liston Liston threw the fights

Louis, Marciano at 200 lb with same speed, Liston, then a young Ali. Larry Holmes destroys Tyson, then Frazier-Tyson a great fight

John L Sullivan vs any black fighter

Worth many late nights and many beers

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