FanPost

Offseason Boredom: Chris Paul edition



So in the comments to the Top 20 thread, I found that apparently more than couple of BSoS frequenters believe that Chris Paul is not a franchise player.  Also, apparently at least part of this sentiment was based on this Fox article by Charley Rosen.  Since I think Chris Paul is one of the best players in the game, I tracked down the article to find out what exactly were his flaws.  

Unfortunately, all I found out was that apparently Charley Rosen doesn't care anymore and pretty much just says what he wants.  I don't really have any good way to explain other than to go through his claims one by one and talk about how astoundingly wrong or unimportant they are.

Claim 1:

In half-court offenses, he's a threat to do damage only in screen-and-roll situations, which means that doubling him virtually renders him impotent

To begin, yes, Chris Paul is very good on the pick and roll.  Also, however, he's an excellent and frequent spot up shooter.  To explain:

  1. 74% of his shots are jump shots on which he shoots 49 eFG%;
  2. he shoots a solid 36% on 3s (54% of which are assisted)
  3. He has the 4th best shooting percent on 2 pt jumpshots in the league (just behind Nash).

Now while undoubtedly some of these jumpshots are the product of the pick and roll, many of them will not be , especially his 3 pt. attempts, the majority of which are assisted.  So we already know Rosen is flatly wrong when he says Paul is only a threat on the pick and roll because he's also an excellent shooter, especially from mid-range.  So is the majority of Paul's half court scoring the product of jump shots and pick and roll? Probably, but I'm not sure how many PGs that's not true of.  So  it seems like a stupid criticism to point out that Paul is very good at what PGs should be good at.

Regarding double teams: 1) yes, double teams will limit his effectiveness, because they're double teams. That's what they do. To everyone. 2) it also means  that someone will be open if you would like to double the league's reigning assist leader, then feel free and 3) if rendering Chris Paul "impotent" were so simple, then why did he score 21 ppg on .528% eFG and average 11 apg? This seems like an unlikely outcome for such a limited and easily impotented(?) player.

Claim 2:

Because of his diminutive size — listed at 6-feet but closer to 5-foot-10 — he can be easily doubled.

In socks, Chris Paul is 5'11.75" which, if you're not a mathematician, is closer to 6' than to 5'10."  What's more, in shoes, Chris Paul is 6'1" and shoe height is the height that matters, since no one plays in socks.  If they did such beasts as Dwight Howard (6'9" in socks) and Amare (6'8.5" in socks) would not be nearly as imposing.  So, to be as plain as possible, Rosen is making this up. (These are all DraftExpress pre-draft camp measurements by the way).

Additionally, about doubles: once again, everyone can be easily doubled and it makes all players less effective. No one plays better when he's doubled. So this is nothing unique to Paul.  Also, if he is so easily doubled and doubling makes him impotent than Paul must be the most dominant player in NBA history when single-covered considering, once again, he put up 21 ppg on .528 eFG% with 11 apg and only 2.7 TOs this past year.  Imagine what he would put up if other men couldn't so easily double up on him to make him impotent (which sounds kind of gross).

 

Claim 3:

His defense consists of steals. Period. Which in turn depends mostly on opponents' mistakes.

I'm a little thrown by this.  So is Rosen saying that steals are simply a measure of opponent mistakes and isn't indicative of a player's defense? One would think then it would be an erratic statistic that wasn't consistent from year to year for any given player since it is mostly about the other guy. I mean, if steals are mostly about other players, there is no reason why they should be consistent for any particular player.  But wait: how many steals did Chris Paul get this year? 2.8 per game.  What is his career average? 2.4.  How many did he get last year? 2.7?

So apparently according to Rosen people just consistently make the same incredible amount of mistakes (the most in the league) around Paul without that having anything to do with Paul.  It's just a fluke. An 82, no 164, game fluke.  Yes, that makes sense.

Also: even if steals were just a startlingly consistent fluke, Paul is also a superb defensive rebounder i.e. 4.7 per game this year, which if you're counting is more than Kobe (4.1) and Wade (3.9).

Paul also plays great on the ball defense, but we'll leave that for...

Claim 4:

Many opponents simply take the ball to their favorite spot and then shoot over him.

Actually, I would guess that all opponents simply take the ball to their favorite spot and shoot over him. Unfortunately for them, they don't make that many of those shots.

Last year, opposing PGs shot .471 eFG% against Paul, which is lower than opponents shot against Rondo (.474 eFG%), Billups (.485 eFG%), Wade (.482 eFG%), Kidd (.485 eFG%), Parker (.481 eFG%), Williams (.498 eFG%) and Rose (.476 eFG%).  Also, opponents generally shot .488 eFG% when Paul was on the court and .521 eFG% when he was off.

Based on these statistics then, like with steals, I would encourage this flaw in Paul and hope that more players would continue to shoot over him since they do it so poorly.

Claim 5:

Even when using a screen-and-roll, he's not nearly as effective going left as he is going right.

I have no idea if this is true. But like the double teaming, if it is true then that is just one more reason that Chris Paul is so awesome, because he puts up ridiculously productive and efficient statistics in spite of his one-handedness.  So I don't care if he is using his head to dribble, it obviously works.

Claim 6:

When was the last time that a pipsqueak-sized point guard led his team to an NBA championship? Slater Martin with the St. Louis Hawks in 1958 — which means that while Paul's Hornets will be a good team, they'll never be good enough.

Now this claim, his last one, actually makes me laugh.  First, let's talk about Slater Martin. Yes, he was small: 5'10."  He also was the starting PG for St. Louis in 1958 when they won the title.  But did he lead them to the title?  He averaged 12.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.6 apg and shot .336 FG% (!!!!).  In contrast, his teammate Bob Petit averaged 24.6 ppg, 17.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, and shot .410 FG%.  Another teammate, Cliff Hagan, averaged 19.9 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.5 apg on .443 FG%. 

So by "led" I'm supposing that Rosen simply means started, since Slater clearly wasn't leading St. Louis anywhere.

That said, we have to remember that Chris Paul is 5'11.75" in socks and 6'1" in shoes (the measurement that counts and that you read in game programs).  So when was the last time a starting PG 6'1" tall or near that height won an NBA title?

Derek Fisher (6' 1"): 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009

Rajon Rondo (6' 1"): 2008

Tony Parker (6' 2"): 2003, 2005, 2007

Isiah Thomas (6' 1"): 1989, 1990.

So is Rosen correct that no player since Martin has been that short and won a title as the starting PG? Yes. Does that have anything to do with Chris Paul? No, because Paul is much taller than Martin and plenty of titles have been won with PGs that are Paul's size.

Also, as a last bit, remember Paul has a 38 inch vertical.

Conclusion:

It may happen that Chris Paul's teams never win a title. Who knows? He's only 23.  But if those teams fail to win a title, it will almost certainly not have anything to do with the nonsense Rosen is talking about here. Because no matter how many books he's written or writes, these claims will always be either wrong or unimportant.

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