Oh boy, you wouldn’t think we’d end our Hornets season reviews without Chris Paul do you now? Well here it comes, right when the NBA is at its most exciting, a lockout. In a lot of ways I’ve kind of been dreading this piece. Not because I’ll run out of content (you know I’ll keep churning it out for you hungry Hornets fans), but because I loathe any negative talk associated with CP moving elsewhere.
I know the trend, I know that Lebron James and every other Superstar is no longer with their original team (other than Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwayne Wade all breeds of a different generation). So rather than look too far into the future (I can’t not look ahead), I’ll focus more on where he was as a player and what this season meant as the next chapter in his career.
Most likely this past season will be a very forgettable one for Paul when all is said and done.
If you could humour me and head over the jump you might find out why.
An Injury That Changed a Career
Knee injuries are tricky and delicate issues when discussing its relation to a professional sporting career. They often ruin and end them which makes you ponder the “what if’s.” In recent times though, doctors have become much more competent in rehabilitation of ACL damages.
Chris Paul is in my opinion, the best point-guard in the league, but not by much. On any given night another lead-guard might be better. His dominance of the court no longer persists as he can’t get the seperation he used to. Beating people to the spot was always the thing that Paul excelled at. Now he does it in a crafty way, utilizing his jump-shot as the main weapon in his arsenal.
This season, Chris was noticeably less explosive, less aggressive. He no longer scored at will, no longer dribbled into the key with ease. I wasn’t ever sure of him, I felt uneasy. To me this contradicted everything that he stood for. Two years ago it used to be that he was almost a sure thing to get 20 points and 10 assists. Nowadays it seems like that is an outstretched great night.
We feel more relieved that he gets more than twenty points, not satisfied. It also used to be that thirty point nights weren’t out of the realm of possibility, now it’s fiction.
This past season was an adjustment for Paul. He picked his spots carefully, rarely forced the issue and just took his time. I can’t blame him for one second. Even if at times it was frustrating, it was none the less necessary for him to completely rehabilitate his knee.
Best Game of the Season
In short, Chris Paul’s best game, far and away, was against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Prior to the first-round series, many Hornets fans questioned whether the belated performances of Paul were a sign of terrible things to come. Rather than continue along the sour note left in the regular season, both Paul and the Hornets came out with a bang.
Setting up team-mates and penetrating the lane like he used to, Paul seemed quite unstoppable. Nostalgia ran through my vains, THIS was the Chris Paul we remember. It was CP3, not Christopher.
The game was back and forth, but the Hornets still controlled it. Bench players like Jarrett Jack, Aaron Gray and Willie Green all stepped up. But it was Paul’s leadership and play down the stretch that had everyone hitting themselves over the head for believing that anyone other than CP3 was the true point-guard of the league.
The final statistics look amazing, but I was more enamoured with the dominance he displayed. All season I had called him out for just “good” performances and not “dominating” ones. Well this was what I was looking for.
Worst Game of the Season
Never, in the history of Chris Paul (that’s right there’s a history for a man), has he ever scored zero points. Against the Memphis Grizzlies such an event happened. The previous Knicks game was also in the running. Let’s not spend too much time on these…
Oh me, Oh my, Chris Paul’s contract way up in the sky.
The future is a difficult thing to understand. We all try to predict it, try to understand possible and likely outcomes. We’ll never harness it though. Chris Paul has one season left before he can decide to leave New Orleans for another NBA franchise. There is one season left for the front-office to prove to not only he, but also his team-mates, that championships can be won in the Bayou.
I’ve always maintained that Chris has one foot out the door. It’s a bleak perspective, but how else could we be more positive, without being more dillusional at the same time?
The way I see it Chris Paul’s future with this team is tied directly into an ownership transfer. If a local buyer steps up within a month of a lockout ending, or even within the year, positivity will run throughout. Most of the priorites for Hornets fans is not to keep Paul, but to keep the team. I can’t help but feel that some how keeping Paul and the team are synonomis.
It’s a bleak future, one that is getting darker by the days.
Things to Work On
“Chris Paul has things to work on? You’re insane!”
Yes, I know, my doctor is helping me with that, but still Paul has a number of things to work on for next season. Going ahead and assuming there is a season, Chris must refocus himself to be the aggressive player he once was. Dominating each night was his goal, taking over and being the best player on the court was what he was about.
He lost a lot of that fire and that execution to get into the guts of a defense, to run the fast break and actually finish at the cup. I think now, with a full year under his belt, CP3 can readjust and reacquaint himself with the form seen in the 2011 NBA playoffs.
Final Season Grade: (Rated in Awesome to the Max’s)
Three out of Five.
Previous Season Reviews
- Jarrett Jack
- Marco Belinelli
- Willie Green
- Trevor Ariza
- Quincy Pondexter
- Jason Smith
- Aaron Gray
- Carl Landry
- David West
- Emeka Okafor
What would you rate Chris Paul's Season?
- A solid effort, had to take his time coming back (70%, 21 Votes)
- I was very dissapointed, it wasn't the same old Chris Paul (17%, 5 Votes)
- I don't really care anymore, he's leaving and not loyal, so let's wave him goodbye. (7%, 2 Votes)
- Outstanding, couldn't ask anything more from him. (6%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 30