No. 4: Chris Paul
Depending on when you read this, Chris Paul has technically only played in around eight games for the Golden State Warriors. In terms of impact on the franchise, it ranks well behind even fringe role players despite how well Paul has fit in running the second unit. Yet this ranking is for a player’s total career, and it’s hard to argue with the impact Paul has had as one of the league’s best point guards for 18 years and counting.
Paul was drafted fourth overall in 2005 out of Wake Forest, and the 6’0″ point guard wasted no time, winning Rookie of the Year for the New Orleans Hornets. By his third season, he was leading the league in both assists and steals, while simultaneously scoring over 20 points per game. In total, Paul would lead the league in assists five times and steals six times.
One of the steadiest orchestrators of a half-court offense in league history, Paul took his talents to Los Angeles to play for the Clippers (after an aborted trade to the Lakers) teaming up with Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick to form “Lob City” and resuscitate a Clippers franchise that had a moribund history.
Then came the journeyman phase of Paul’s career. He played two seasons in Houston, where he and James Harden became the Western Conference team to come closest to knocking off the Durant-era Warriors. He then spent a season in Oklahoma City, three in Phoenix (including a trip to the 2021 NBA Finals) and finally ended up on the Warriors for his 19th season.
Paul has made 12 All-Star teams, 11 All-NBA teams, nine All-Defensive teams and five times finished top-5 in MVP voting (and top-7 nine total times). He will go down as one of the five best point guards to ever play in the NBA, and he has a chance to add a little icing on top of his accomplishments with the Warriors this season.