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Where Is Chris Paul Ranked Among The Greatest Point Guards In NBA History: CP3 Is Not In The Top 5

Where Is Chris Paul Ranked Among The Greatest Point Guards In NBA History: CP3 Is Not In The Top 5

There is no doubt that Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards to have ever lived. A 12-time All-Star, Chris Paul has achieved almost everything on an individual level as a miniature point guard. In 17 seasons, Chris Paul has made 10 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 5 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.

But the major thing missing for Chris Paul and his legendary legacy is the achievement of an NBA championship. The Phoenix Suns made the Finals last year, thanks to the play of Chris Paul, and had a legitimate shot to win it all. But Phoenix somehow faltered against the Milwaukee Bucks after blowing a 2-0 lead, and Chris Paul seemingly had no power of stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee from taking over the next 4 games. Phoenix was thoroughly outplayed, and they had to settle for a frustrating defeat. For Chris Paul, that loss will probably haunt him for the rest of his career.

But CP3 and the Phoenix Suns returned with a vengeance this year, holding the best record in the West and the best record in the NBA. Phoenix ranked 4th in offensive rating and 3rd in defensive rating, with both Chris Paul and his teammate Devin Booker making All-Star Teams. Once again, Paul led the NBA in APG with 10.8 and also chipped in an impressive 14.7 PPG and 1.9 SPG at the age of 36. As expected, the Suns were a major player to make the NBA Finals this postseason.

But it was not meant to be, even if Paul and the Suns went through some interesting battles in the postseason. Phoenix had to deal with a young and rowdy New Orleans Pelicans side that somehow took them to 6 games, but a sensational series by CP3 gave them the juice for the next round. The Suns then handled business against the Dallas Mavericks by taking a 2-0 lead in an impressive fashion. But somehow, the Suns collapsed and Chris Paul became the first player in NBA history with five blown 2-0 leads in the playoffs.

With Chris Paul, now at age 37, heading home in disappointment yet again, his legacy has unfortunately been tarnished. If he had won last year’s championship or even returned to the Finals again this year, we might have been looking at a top-5 point guard ever. But yet another blown 2-0 lead leaves Chris Paul scrambling for answers, as he cannot be considered a top-5 point guard ever by any stretch of the imagination.

Chris Paul Is Not Better Than The 5 Greatest Point Guards Ever

John Stockton

John Stockton

Championships: 0

Players Stats: 13.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 10.5 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 10x All-Star, 11x All-NBA Team Selection, 5x All-Defensive Team Selection, 9x Assist Champion, 2x Steals Champion, Hall of Fame

Anytime a point guard has an unbreakable assist and steals record, it is obvious he is one-of-a-kind. And Stockton truly was never missing the playoffs once in his career with the Utah Jazz. While many will point to the fact that Stockton played with the legendary Karl Malone, Stockton and The Mailman needed each other to achieve the greatness they achieved.

Quite frankly, without Stockton, Malone is probably not top-3 all-time in scoring and probably does not have both of the MVP awards he won.

Stockton achieved everything in the game from making 11 All-NBA Team selections to leading the NBA in assists a whipping 9 times. John was a master at the pick n’ roll, and he terrorized defenders with his playmaking and clever offensive moves, which included basket cuts and jump shots. Most importantly, nobody ever accused Stockton of being abrasive to teammates or even lacking production in big moments, which is why he has to be a top-5 point guard of all time.

Isiah Thomas

Isiah Thomas

Championships: 2

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 Team Selection, 1984-1985 Assist Champion, Hall of Fame

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 drove him to the greatness he achieved. After all, no man was more important to the Detroit Pistons than Isiah Thomas, the toughest little man that ever played.

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. During the series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Thomas posted 27.6 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 7.0 APG in the 5-game “gentleman’s sweep” of the opponent. Two straight NBA titles make it almost impossible for Chris Paul to pass Isiah unless he gets two straight of his own, along with at least one Finals MVP. Clearly, this is unlikely, and the legendary Pistons guard will probably forever be ranked above CP3.

Oscar Robertson

Oscar Robertson

Championships: 1

Players Stats: 25.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 9.5 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG

Honors: 1963-1964 MVP, 12x All-Star, 11x All-NBA Team Selection, 6x Assist Champion, 1960-1961 Rookie of the Year, Hall of Fame

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 for Russell Westbrook, and did everything at a superstar level on the floor. A regular-season MVP award for a point guard is a very rare achievement, but The Big O accomplished it in 1964 when he put up 31.4 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and 9.9 APG while shooting 48.3% from the field and 85.3% from the stripe.

Oscar also has a whopping 12 All-Star and 11 All-NBA Teams to his name, along with a Hall of Fame inclusion. Too many of his peers, including the likes of outspoken media members Charles Barkley, Chris Webber, and Shannon Sharpe, Oscar Robertson, is easily one of the greatest players 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 and there is no debate about that.

Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry

Championships: 3

Players Stats: 24.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 6.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Honors: 2x MVP, 8x All-Star, 7x All-NBA Team Selection, 2x Scoring Champion, 2015-2016 Steals Champion

While Curry's career isn't over, it is safe to say he's a better point guard than Chris Paul when looking at pure achievements. 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 47.3% from the field, 42.8% from three, and 90.8% from the free-throw line. How can Chris Paul compete with those numbers?

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 as Steph did. In fact, very few players in NBA history changed the game as Steph did. 2 MVPs and 3 titles cannot be surpassed, which means Paul will never crack the top-3 of all-time point guards and will likely never surpass Stephen Curry in that regard.

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson

Championships: 5

Players Stats: 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG

Honors: 3x Finals MVP, 3x MVP, 12x All-Star, 10x All-NBA Team Selection, 4x Assist Champion, 2x Steals Champion, Hall of Fame

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, and is simply a special player in his position, much like Michael Jordan was in his. 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 also the best to ever wear the Purple and Gold jersey, an honorable consideration.

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 during the 1980s and brought the NBA to the forefront (alongside Larry Bird and then Michael Jordan). We haven't seen a point guard better and probably never will. Unfortunately for Chris Paul, Magic will never be reached as he is just a different breed, and as a much larger player, Magic affected the game in many more areas than Chris Paul.

Chris Paul Had A Shot To Be In The Top-5, But That Ship Has Sailed

As much as the majority of fans and media love Chris Paul, it is impossible for him to catch Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas, and John Stockton to even sniff the top-5 list. Oscar has a regular-season MVP, and arguably the most impressive individual statistics by a point guard along with an NBA title. Not to mention, Oscar was the original triple-double king, and by many standards, he is considered one of the top-20 players ever by the vast majority of fans and pundits. Chris Paul, even with 12 All-Star Teams and 10 All-NBA Team selections, cannot quite compare.

Of course, there is the great Isiah Thomas who won 2 straight NBA titles in a very competitive 1980s and early 1990s landscape and ran away with a Finals MVP award in 1990. In terms of being a pure winner, Thomas is one of the all-time greats and he has consistently saved his best performances for the biggest moments in the playoffs. Thomas never had criticism for failing in big moments, and he actually spearheaded the Detroit Pistons team that did not allow Michael Jordan to win his first championship in the 1980s. That track record is simply legendary beyond means.

Of course, John Stockton is the all-time leader in assists and steals and formed one of the greatest duos in NBA history alongside Karl Malone. Chris Paul never did that and also never made the Finals twice like Stockton did, let alone shatter any all-time assist records. Stockton had more team success and also unbreakable records, so it would be unfair to rank CP3 above him, either. 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. The fact that Stockton is tied to Karl Malone is yet another reason why Chris Paul’s name won’t be synonymous with greatness because CP3 never formed a duo that great.

If Paul won the championship last year or even placed himself and the Suns in the Finals again this year, John Stockton’s place among the top-5 could have been in jeopardy, especially if Phoenix won the title. But the Jazz legend’s place is secured because another blown series lead has CP3 fighting for a place in the top-6 or top-7.

Where Is Chris Paul Ranked Among The All-Time Greatest Point Guards?

As things stand, Chris Paul is no longer on the edge of entering the conversation as a top-5 point guard of all time. This is even if Paul 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 of improving his teammates is truly amazing. But the facts are there: Chris Paul has never performed consistently in the biggest games in the playoffs.

At 37 years old, Chris Paul has to accept looking outside at the top-5 list. His main competitors are Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Gary Payton, and Bob Cousy. That means Chris Paul ranks, at this moment, somewhere in the 6-9 range. Any one of these stars can be shuffled, although once again, it is hard to argue for Paul over Jason Kidd or Steve Nash.

Jason Kidd made the NBA Finals 3 times, twice as the best player on his team without the presence of other superstar players. Kidd was never doubted as a clutch performer, and he even played an invaluable role for the Dallas Mavericks side that won the championship in 2011. Kidd consistently revolutionized his game to include a 3-point shot and is one of the toughest and stoutest defenders in the league. Unlike Chris Paul, opposing teams never wanted to place their best scorer on Kidd to cause matchup issues.

Meanwhile, Steve Nash is a 2-time MVP, something so rare that guards never have a chance of achieving it. Nash also won them back-to-back, an incredible achievement. Even though Paul is a better defender than Steve ever was, it is hard to argue against Nash being a better shooter (49.0% FG, 42.8% 3-PT FG, 90.4% FT) and a more accomplished individual talent. This can be argued, but a lot of opinions will sway in Nash’s favor.

The men that Chris Paul has a legitimate chance at surpassing are Gary Payton and Bob Cousy, two Hall of Fame talents that were icons in their prime. Payton won Defensive Player of the Year, one of two point guards to ever achieve this, and won an NBA title with the Miami Heat in 2006 after falling in the Finals twice (with Seattle SuperSonics and Los Angeles Lakers). Cousy played in a 50s era with only 8 teams, but he still led the league in assists 8 times and won a whopping 6 NBA titles. As great as both stars were, most of the audience (especially younger ones) will confidently place CP3 above them. That means Paul has to settle for a place between the top 6-8 point guards of all time.

If Chris Paul can somehow win the NBA championship for a title-hungry Phoenix Suns franchise at age 38 next year, he might have a legitimate shot at being in the top-5. Even the likes of Steve Nash and Charles Barkley couldn't win an NBA title for the Suns, so leading a Finals achievement for Chris Paul would cement the legacy of one of the best players of his generation. Until that happens, five separate blown 2-0 leads are on the playoff resume of Chris Paul. 


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