Chris Paul's MVP Candidacy
by Lucious Crawford, Form IV
3 min. read — November 2, 2021
Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards to ever play, and the last true “point” since Rondo; his handles are tight, his shooting is impressive, and his defense is amazing for a guy who is only six feet when he stretches in the morning. However, Chris's numbers don't tell the whole story, as his intangibles not only create great numbers for him and his teammates, but also elevate the team’s overall success, whether it be in the regular season or in the playoffs. Today, with a couple of stats, I want to tell you just how great of a career Chris Paul has put together.
Before Chris was drafted to the New Orleans Hornets, the Hornets were 18-64 and were without a doubt the worst team in the NBA. After the soon-to-be rookie of the year joined the hapless Hornets, they jumped to tenth in the conference, and within a year the New Orleans team became a contender for the playoffs. Chris even finished second in MVP voting, behind only the great Kobe Bryant. Sadly, this would be the last time he would be in the MVP Race. Since I don’t want to bore you with words, here are some other teams’ numbers with and without Paul:
LA Clippers without Chris Paul: 32-50
LA Clippers with Chris Paul: 40-26, 5th in the Conference
Houston Rockets without Chris Paul: 3rd in the West, knocked in 1st round by Warriors
Houston Rockets with Chris Paul: 1st in the Conference, knocked out in WCF by the Warriors mainly because of Chris Paul's injury
OKC without Chris Paul: 6th in Conference, Lost in 1st Round 4-1
OKC with Chris Paul: 5th in Conference, Lost in 1st round, pushed to a game 7
Suns without Chris Paul: 34-39, 10th in Conference
Suns now, with Chris Paul: 2nd in Conference and Finals appearance
Now that I’ve shown you all these Intangibles, maybe you're thinking “Why doesn’t Chris Paul have MVP, despite having great seasons and turning multiple teams into contenders?” Well, there are a couple of reasons. The first is the definition of “Most Valuable Player". In today's NBA, one's individual performance is enough to earn yourself the award. This idea has switched in the past couple years, but personally, I see the MVP award as the literal Most Valuable Player- A player who is relied on heavily by his team, or a player who makes the most difference when he isn't around. This year I would think the award, in my eyes, should go to Steph Curry, because without him, the Warriors become the awful 2019 versions of themselves. Maybe not this year, but multiple years before, Chris Paul should've absolutely gotten an MVP, because of the critical role he plays within team chemistry and balancing/organizing offense and defense.
If you don't agree with the team's elevation, then we could look at a couple of advanced statistics. Chris Paul has about a 24% win share percentage per 48 minutes; this is the 5th highest of all time, in front of players like Lebron, James Harden, Kareem and Magic.
FUN FACT: Dwight Howard has a higher WS/48 than Kobe.
CP3 has a career assist ratio of 45.3%, ranking 2nd all time behind John Stockton, a man who leads the league all time in assists. He is also deadly efficient for a man that attempts nearly 30% of his shots from beyond the arc, shooting 37% is sharpshooter-like, as well as for his 87% Free Throw percentage. Chris, at 36, nearly had a 50-40-90 split while leading his team to their first playoff seed since 2010! Chris, though not one you would think of when you hear "MVP", is the most decorated case to be one of the most impactful players of his generation and of all time.