The Golden State Warriors traded for one of the greatest point-guards of all-time last month, but at 38-year-old, where does Chris Paul sit in the current iteration of the league’s lead ball-handlers?
Well, not very high, at least according to Hoopshype’s Frank Urbina. In a new article ranking the top 24 point-guards in the NBA, Paul’s hall-of-fame career meant little in evaluating him as the 22nd best across the NBA.
Chris Paul’s place at 22nd in point-guard rankings is blatant disrespect to who the new Golden State Warriors’ maestro has been in the past.
There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding Paul’s fit with his new team, not aided by the man himself who has thus far seemed resistance to the idea of a sixth-man role. That, and the contrasting on-court styles of Paul and the Warriors, has led to Urbina’s summarisation of the 12-time All-Star heading into next season.
"“Even from purely a basketball standpoint, this fit is far from perfect, as Paul is a pick-and-roll maestro while the current iteration of the Warriors has been hesitant to run all that much traditional pick-and-roll… If not for all this uncertainty surrounding his new team situation, Paul might have ranked higher on this list himself”, Urbina wrote."
While there are understandable and genuine concerns on Paul’s fit with the franchise, ranking him 22nd perhaps doesn’t appreciate his historical ability to go in and make teams better right from the start. Whether that’s been at championship-contending teams like the Houston Rockets or Phoenix Suns, or rebuilding younger teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, ‘the point-god’ has managed to alleviate concerns from early in his tenure at various teams.
Now at 38, many are backing against the idea of Paul revitalising his career again. So much so that Urbina ranks Paul behind the likes of Derrick White, Russell Westbrook, and even a rookie who’s yet to step foot on an NBA floor in Scoot Henderson.
The depth of point-guard talent is scary, and so you can understand Paul not being ranked in the top ten or even 15. But not in the top 20? That seems ludicrous for a player who averaged nearly 14 points per game on 37.5% shooting from deep last season, while dishing out the fourth-most assists per game in the league on an outrageously good assist-to-turnover ratio.
Urbina’s rankings may be more of a projection — maybe understandable given the likelihood of a decline in Paul’s responsibility at the Warriors, along with the assumed next step for a plethora of talented young players. However, it can be assured that Golden State are wanting more out of Paul than the 22nd best point-guard in the league after their blockbuster trade for him last month.