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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chris Paul: The present and future

Posted by TADOne

NOTE: I originally posted this on my other blog, Sarcasm Lives!, on March 18th. Since I'm quite sure that blog never got the traffic this blog gets (which still isn't much), I wanted to re-post it for consumption for anyone who may not have seen or read it. Plus, I just haven't had the time to write anything else.

It has been a minute since I posted anything on here. Work, life, and just complete laziness has kept me from just sitting and writing. However, I have been revitalized! My revitalization comes in the form of one Chris Paul, the New Orleans Hornets revolutionary guard. So much has been written of the iconic young point man that I'm not sure what else there is to say. I came to a conclusion that I wanted to come at Paul from a perspective I haven't seen written about him yet: comparing him to an NBA Legend. The legend that comes to mind when I watch Paul play is one Isiah Lord Thomas lll.

The obvious of this is the physical comparisons. Thomas played at 6'1, 185. Paul, meanwhile, plays at 6'0, 175. Thomas was known as the Baby-faced assassin during his player days, playing with a fearless style of play that belied his size. Much like Zeke, Paul plays with a certain fearlessness despite his minute stature on the court. They both have cat like quickness and spectacular hand/eye coordination. While small, both players are stronger than they look and have underrated athleticism. The biggest thing both have is heart.

It has been said that leadership skills are born to the person, not learned. If so, these guys have that gene in their DNA ten fold. While Thomas has seemed to lose this genetic prize while impersonating a coach/GM with the Knicks, he had no such shortcoming while playing. He was one of the unqestioned leaders during the Bad Boy Pistons back to back title runs on the court and in the lockerroom. Despite his young age, Paul has taken the reins of a young and impressionable Hornets team and has not looked back. He leads by his play and also his words. Players naturally gravitate to Paul's outgoing personality. Where Paul goes, so go the Hornets. Much like Thomas was in his heyday, Paul is an extension of the coach on the court.

All great Point Guards in the history of the NBA have an unnatural vision and court sense. From The Big O, to John Stockton, Magic, down to Nash. Thomas is 5th all time in assists and 9th all time in steals in league history. He had an uncanny knack for seeing plays before they happened, either threading a beautiful pass or playing the passing lanes and getting steals with his quick hands. Paul, while only in his 2nd season, plays like he has eyes on the side and back of his head. He leads the league in steals and assists, and hardly ever turns the ball over. He baits defenses into coming at him with a second help defender, and Paul waits till the last second and once the help defender is commited, Paul always seems to find the left open teammate. On defense, Paul has some of the quickest hands and always seems to be in the right defensive position and knows how to play angles in the passing lane. Throw lazy passes and watch Paul racing back in the opposite direction.

Isiah Thomas was a very cerebral player. He always seemed destined to be a coach once his playing days came to an end. Despite his current debacle in New York, Zeke was actually a decent coach while with the Pacers. Paul has the same cerebral understanding of the game. While on the floor you can see Chris directing teammates to where they should be on the floor, both on offense and defense. He has knowledge of the game that makes his young age all but irrelevant.

When all is said and done, Paul has the potential to be mentioned among the all time greats. While Thomas was the original small point god, I would not be surprised if Paul ends up better than him. While his present in indeed bright, his future is damn near incandescent.


Eboy said...

Creative regurgatation? I like it!!!!!! The piece is still good today too.

Eboy said...

As you saw, I "borrowed" the reposting idea from you. Maybe our fellow breathern can do the same and pick one piece they would like to have see the light of day again to give us some content until we start picking up steam again creativley.

TADOne said...

I know for a fact that Tariq has a whole archive he can pillage.