Now that the 2023 NBA Draft, the Summer League, and craziest parts of free agency are behind us, we are now in what many consider to be the doldrums of the NBA calendar. The next major event we have to look forward to (the FIBA World Cup) isn’t for another month.
Everyone likes to spend this state of flux in different ways. Some watch high school tape. Some watch the WNBA. And some, like myself, use their free time to rewatch old NBA games.
And this afternoon, I found myself watching the most high stakes game played in New Orleans Pelicans (and Hornets) franchise history. For those who are unaware, the game I’m referring to is none other than Game 7 of the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.
And one of my main takeaways from revisiting that infamous game (other than the fact that Tyson Chandler was awesome) is just how damn athletic Chris Paul was back in his days with the Pelicans (then Hornets). I mean please look at him in the clip below. And make sure you don’t blink when you’re watching, because you just might miss him!
It’s easy to forget about this version of Paul, given how long he’s remained in the league since his burst left him. But long before his spat with James Harden, his Finals run with the Phoenix Suns, or his most recent stop with the Golden State Warriors, Paul was one of the fastest players in basketball.
Newer fans probably assume that Paul’s game has always been predicated on his institutional knowledge and trusty jumper. However, once upon a time, Paul was a speed demon who could pressure the rim relentlessly and guard the opposition’s best perimeter players.
And the best part about Paul is that he always had that genius-level intellect. So, in his prime, he was able to combine his freakish physical athleticism with prodigious mental athleticism. When you put all that together, it makes sense why they call him The Point God.