Great players are often defined by legacies, accomplishments, and other stellar achievements. When a great player has a team that fails, we put the onus, the blame, on them. Being held accountable is the responsibility that comes with being great- there is no way around it.
Over the past few decades, the NBA has seen a number of great players fail to win. Dominique Wilkins, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Steve Nash, and Charles Barkley are some of the guys who headline that list.
For a long stretch Kobe (for not winning without Shaq) and LeBron were ridiculed for their teams failing efforts. Carmelo Anthony and Tracy McGrady took some heat. Allen Iverson, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams were mocked. Even Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki had moments of scrutiny as well.
There hasn’t been another guy in NBA history who has been protected and excused for his teams mishaps like Chris Paul has been. He’s the most clean slated superstar ever. We give him all types of praise when he really shouldn’t receive anything at all. He hasn’t done anything.
Every year there’s a new excuse for Paul’s failures. The excuses have ranged from him having a bad coach to his supporting cast being mediocre. It’s everyone’s fault but his year in and year out.
Recently, when the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead against the Rockets Chris Paul was not called out for his play or for his leadership. Fingers were instead pointed towards Griffin for being too young and mistake prone, Jordan for missing free throws, Doc. Rivers for his poor coaching and Clippers not having a bench. (Same downfall and reasonings occurred during his first year with the LAC when Vinny Del Negro was coach. While in New Orleans he didn’t have that great of a supporting cast.)
As the “best” player, the captain, the floor general of a team shouldn’t you be the one who’s held accountable for when things go wrong? Since when do players who rank in the Top 5 ( present day) get a pass and receive little blame?
He doesn’t have an NBA Championship. He doesn’t have an MVP award. And he has not been past the second round of the playoffs.
Outside of Tracy McGrady, Chris Paul is the most underwhelming superstar to have played in the postseason the past 15 years. Instead of bouncing out of the first round like T-Mac, CP3 lasts until the second. That’s not great.
Chris Paul is the only allstar caliber guard not named John Wall or Damian Lillard, who has not been to the Conference Finals. Guys like Mike Conley, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Tony Parker, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, James Harden, Klay Thompson etc. have all played in a Conference Finals.
After just three healthy years Stephen Curry has already passed up Chris Paul in terms of playoff success. Maybe even career wise.
When you look at a few of the great point guards Paul is compared to each one has something to hang their hats on, and he does not.
•John Stockton appeared in a couple of NBA Finals and is the All-Time Assists Leader.
•Magic Johnson was a 5 time NBA Champ, 3x MVP and 3x Finals MVP.
•Gary Payton won a Defensive Player of the year award, appeared in a few NBA Finals and owns a ring.
•Isiah Thomas was a Finals MVP.
•Jason Kidd appeared in multiple NBA Finals and owns a ring.
•Oscar Robertson was an MVP and NBA Champion.
•Steve Nash was a 2x MVP and was on the cusp of the making the NBA Finals a few times.
Young guards Stephen Curry and Derrick Rose already have MVP awards; Curry has a shot a legitimate shot at winning a ring right now.
With young guys already accomplishing things he hasn’t is it safe to say he’s been leaped over in time? Is Chris Paul as good as we thought or did we overrate him?
Think about it. What has Paul accomplished in his career that stands out and will be remembered? He has no awards that stand out on his resume.
As of now Paul’s three biggest accomplishments have been his endorsement deal with State Farm, bringing the cities of Oklahoma and New Orleans to the NBA landscape and winning Gold medals with Team USA. Other than those feats Paul has accomplished next to nothing.
With the new wave of talent and guys like Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, John Wall and a few more coming into their own time is steadily ticking for Chris Paul to accomplish something of great importance.
He might be the best point guard of his generation. But what exactly does that prove if he doesn’t have the catalog other great players have?
Numbers aside, he has to prove that he’s that guy. And the only way he can do that is by winning. Win an award. Win a championship. Hell, get past the second round.
Twitter: @RyanDFort or
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