Here’s an excerpt from a piece I wrote over at ESPNLA.com where I explain just how good Chris Paul has been to this point in his career:
“It still sounds odd: Chris Paul wants to be a Clipper.
The Blake Griffin Effect? Sure, but don’t discount Paul’s bold move. To make a commitment to the Clippers is a pledge to fight the stigma attached to the team. Griffin had no choice but to fight it because he was drafted by the franchise, but Paul chose it.
That choice will also give Paul the chance to make his stamp on the franchise like no player ever has. As soon as he slips on that red, white and blue jersey, Paul will instantly become the best player to wear the uniform in the last three decades.
But there’s more at stake for Paul than being the best Clipper ever. All-time leaders for the franchise include players like Eric Piatkowski and Corey Maggette. Paul can set his sights a little higher than that, obviously.
With Griffin and three other former All-Stars (Mo Williams, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler), Paul now has a legitimate shot, health willing (there’s not enough wood to knock in all of Los Angeles), to leave the game one day as the best point guard ever.
That’s not hyperbole. Paul truly has a chance to retire as the best point guard to ever play. Take a look at Paul’s numbers compared to those of Magic Johnson, John Stockton and Isiah Thomas across their first five years in the league.
At this point in their careers, Paul is better than Magic, Stockton and Isiah in Player Efficiency Rating, offensive rating, win-shares, 3-point shooting, free throw shooting, turnovers and turnover rate. He also ranks second in points per 36 minutes, assist rate, total rebounding percentage and steals per 36 minutes.
If you put nostalgia aside and just looked at their stats, you could easily make the argument for Paul as the best of the bunch. He’s a superior long-range shooter and takes care of the ball better than Magic did, he’s a better rebounder and scorer than Stockton, and he’s a better distributor than Isiah. Chris Paul, to this point in his career, has been better than three of the best point guards to ever play.”