It is common knowledge that Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards to ever grace a basketball court. The 9x All-Star, 8x All-NBA, 8x All-Defense Team has proven this over the course of his career he is the definition of elite. An exceptional scorer (18 ppg over his career) and Top 15 in steals for a career, it is Paul’s passing ability that puts him head and shoulders above the rest. Known as the best passing point guard over the past decade, CP3 has already racked up 8,251 assists, putting him at #10 of all time. At only 32 and playing some of the best basketball of his career, he undoubtedly has the ability to climb up that list. He also holds a remarkable 4-to-1 turnover ratio. Paul has the numbers and the accolades to already lock up a place in the Hall of Fame, and that’s if he retired today. Already a Top 10 point guard of all time, he will reach the Top 5 if he continues to play at such a high level for a couple more years.
With all that said, there is one pivotal piece in any Hall of Fame resume that CP3 lacks; the rings.
Even with how well Paul has played each year of his career, winning the championship has eluded him. Not only that, but he hasn’t even relatively gotten that close. Including his most recent playoff exit via the Utah Jazz, Paul is still yet to reach a Conference Finals series.
However, you can not blame that on Paul. Actually, CP3 has played even better in the post-season. Averaging 21 points and 9 assists per game with a .484 FG%, Paul has carried every team he has ever played on. The issue with Chris Paul’s playoff record is actually everyone on his teams.
CP3’s Playoff Problems
While in New Orleans for the 6 years of his career, Paul and company made the playoffs only 3 times, including getting the number 2 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs in the 2008. However, they would be beat by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2nd round, ending Paul’s best chance to win the title to date. This would be the only time he could carry his team past the first round during his tenure in NOLA.
After being traded to the L.A Clippers before the 2011-2012 season, it seemed that CP3 would be given his best chance to finally have substantial playoff success. Being paired with rising star Blake Griffin, Paul would finally have what seemed to be enough talent around him to excel.
This would not be the case. Despite making the playoffs every year since being traded to the Clippers, inconsistency and injuries have kept the Clippers from reaching even the Western Conference Finals, even blowing a 3-1 lead over the Houston Rockets in the 2016 semi-finals. With their latest loss in the first round to the Jazz, it seems that Paul will not be able to find the path to playoff success in L.A.
Paul will head into free agency this summer with only one goal in mind; win a championship soon. With nothing left to prove, that is the single achievement that now motivates him. Even reaching the Conference Finals would be a step up, but the NBA Finals are the real goal for the future Hall of Famer.
Paul has plenty of suitors who would love to acquire his talents. Still playing excellent basketball, CP3 will get a lot of attention in free agency. He has been linked to several different teams prior to free agency actually beginning, including the San Antonio Spurs and even going back to New Orleans. While the Pelicans would be a stretch, pairing him with two of the best big men in basketball in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins could work. With Tony Parker’s retirement looming, many believe that Paul would fit perfectly into the system in San Antonio. There has also been a lot of talk about the Clippers retaining each Paul and Griffin with hopes of keeping the championship aspirations alive in L.A.
While Chris Paul is absolutely a future Hall of Famer and one of the best all-around point guards to ever play in the NBA, what he accomplishes in the next few years will define a large part of his career. People remember championships, not stats. No matter where Paul ends up this summer, we all should know that CP3 is willing to do whatever and go wherever to win a title.