There is no doubt that Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards to have ever lived. An 11-time All-Star, Chris Paul has achieved almost everything on an individual level as a miniature point guard. In 16 seasons, Chris Paul has made 9 All-NBA Teams and 9 All-Defensive Teams as a member of the Hornets, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder, and Suns.
Chris Paul has also led the NBA in steals 6 times and assists 4 times. Since his rookie season, where he won the Rookie of the Year Award averaging 16.1 PPG and 7.8 APG, he has been one of the best floor generals in the game. The only thing missing for Chris Paul is an MVP and the achievement of an NBA championship. The Phoenix Suns are in the Finals, thanks to the play of Chris Paul, and have a legitimate shot to win it all.
Paul and the Suns went through battles in the postseason, including a first-round matchup with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns then handled business against the Denver Nuggets with the league MVP in Nikola Jokic, before ending the fairytale run of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Suns benefited from injuries to Anthony Davis, Jamal Murray, and Kawhi Leonard but they got the job done. Spearheading the incredible playoff run by Phoenix is Chris Paul, the most hungry NBA star in the NBA right now.
With powerhouses such as the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers out of the postseason, this might be the best chance for Chris Paul to win an NBA championship. If he gets it done, we are looking at a top-5 point guard who ever lived. Even with an NBA title to his name, he will never usurp 4 Hall of Fame superstars at the point guard position.
4. Oscar Robertson
Players Stats: 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Honors: 1963-1964 NBA MVP, 12x All-Star, 11x All-NBA Selection, 1960-1961 Rookie Of The Year, Hall Of Famer
Oscar is the original triple-double king, and one of the best players in NBA history regardless of position. He filled up the stat sheet like no other guard in history, except Russell Westbrook, and did everything well on the floor. A regular-season MVP as a point guard is very rare but he accomplished it in 1964.
Oscar also has a whopping 12 All-Star and 11 All-NBA Teams to his name, along with a Hall of Fame inclusion. To many of his peers including Charles Barkley, Oscar Robertson is a top-2 player of all time because of his raw talent and accomplishments. Chris Paul doesn't have the accomplishments of Oscar in terms of an MVP or even an NBA championship yet, so The Big O has the edge.
3. Isiah Thomas
Players Stats: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 9.3 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Honors: 1989-1990 Finals MVP, 12x All-Star, 5x All-NBA Selection, Hall Of Famer
Superstar Isiah Thomas is an exceptional leader, and one of the most competitive forces on the NBA court we have ever seen from a little man. His scoring ability from mid-range and desire to attack and finish around the basket was truly exceptional, but his leadership and competitive spirit could be his best trait.
Thomas won the NBA titles in 1989 and 1990 as a member of the Bad Boy Pistons, and he was great enough to win Finals MVP in 1990. Two straight NBA titles make it almost impossible for Chris Paul to pass Isiah unless he gets two of his own, and at least one Finals MVP. Otherwise, Zeke will always be the greater player.
2. Stephen Curry
Players Stats: 24.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG
Honors: 2x NBA MVP, 7x All-Star, 6x All-NBA Selection, 2x Scoring Champion
While Curry's career isn't over, it is safe to say he's the second-best point guard ever. Since he became a superstar player and two-time MVP, Curry has won three NBA titles and has established himself as the best shooter in NBA history. Curry has incredible shooting percentages of 47.7% from the field, 43.3% from three, and 90.7% from the free-throw line.
Curry was also the first-ever unanimous MVP and such accomplishments cannot be ignored when listing all-time great point guards. It is obvious that as great as Chris Paul has been, he didn't change the game like Steph. 2 MVPs and 3 titles cannot be surpassed, which means Paul will never crack the top-2 of all-time point guards.
1. Magic Johnson
Players Stats: 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Honors: 3x NBA MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 12x All-Star, 10x All-NBA Selection, Hall Of Famer
Magic is the best point guard ever, and it isn't very close. He was an oversized guard with perfect guard skills including dribbling and passing. He was unstoppable on the break and was one of the very best players in the league during each of his 5 NBA championship rings. To many fans of the Lakers, Magic is the best to ever wear Purple and Gold.
It will be hard for any point guard to ever top the great Magic Johnson. He has 3 MVPs, 3 Finals MVPs, and 12 All-Star selections. Magic effectively changed the game and we haven't seen a point guard better and probably never will. Unfortunately for Chris Paul, Magic will never be reached. He is just a different breed, and as a much larger player, Magic affected the game in many more areas than Chris Paul.
Chris Paull Will Be Better Than John Stockton, And Will Be 5th All-Time
Even if Chris Paul will never surpass these 4 superstar point guards, it doesn't take away from his own greatness if he does win the championship this year. As of right now, John Stockton is the 5th best point guard to have ever played. Stockton is the all-time leader in assists and steals and has 2 Finals appearances with the Utah Jazz. If Chris Paul doesn't win a championship, he will never surpass Stockton.
Stockton has 10 All-Star appearances, 11 All-NBA Team selections, 5 All-Defensive Teams, and has led the NBA in assists an amazing 9 times over his career. Whenever Stockton was the point guard of the Utah Jazz, the team never missed the playoffs. Of course, playing with Karl Malone helped. The raw statistics of Stockton and the fact he made 2 NBA Finals is enough to usurp what Chris Paul has achieved.
But if Paul can lead the Phoenix Suns and win it all, he will take the 5th spot. The major difference will be the coveted NBA title that Chris Paul will win as the best player on his team. Stockton never won an NBA title, going 0-2 in the NBA Finals thanks to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. An NBA title for Chris Paul will mean much more than the assist and steals records of John Stockton.
As things stand, Chris Paul is on the edge of entering the conversation as a top-5 point guard of all-time. He has achieved everything on an individual level and is one of the best two-way players in NBA history at his position. His on-court leadership makes every team he plays on instantly better, and his track record is truly amazing. If he can get the job done, Chris Paul's legacy is solidified as a top-5 point guard.
As much as the majority love Chris Paul, even with a championship, it will be hard for him to catch Oscar Robertson and Isiah Thomas. Oscar has a regular-season MVP, and arguably the most impressive individual statistics by a point guard along with an NBA title. Of course, Thomas won 2 straight NBA titles in a very competitive NBA landscape. As a result, Paul would need at least 2 rings to surpass both Oscar and Isiah Thomas which is highly unlikely considering Paul is 36 years old.
Nonetheless, if Chris Paul wins the NBA championship for a title-hungry Phoenix Suns franchise, he will forever be in the top-5. Even Charles Barkley couldn't win an NBA title for the Suns, so a Finals achievement this year for Phoenix would cement the legacy of one of the best players of his generation.