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Isiah Thomas vs. Chris Paul

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com has a new series comparing current players to past stars, and he started it with Isiah Thomas and Chris Paul:

In terms of style, Paul is much more beautific with his approach. His passes are delicate floaters, while Thomas’ were primarily either lasers or high arcing bombs. Paul’s 3-pointer is a dagger, while Thomas was more of a hoist. Thomas preferred the mid-range jumper while Paul’s short-elbow floater is stunning in its lethality, when he turns to it. But there are vital comparisons. Both Paul and Thomas possess the intense desire tow in at all costs that helped Thomas win the title. Of all the new breed of superstars, particularly those in the clique of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris (Bosh), Carmelo Anthony, etc., Paul’s drive to win is perhaps fiercest. It was Thomas’ intensity, or arrogance, depending on which side of the aisle you’re on, that led to his feuds with various stars of his era. He and Paul share that, a willingness to tussle with nearly anyone. It is a relentless gear that never allows them to back down from anyone, while always then turning a smile to the camera. But Thomas’ battles were almost personal, more vicious. While Thomas has, despite his numerous, nearly incalculable public relations disasters, been well-spirited toward his former rivals in retirement, at the time, it was Thomas against the world.

Paul’s approach has been different. He’s much more calculating in his approach. He’s willing to befriend anyone that will help him, and makes nearly no enemies. Paul is beloved by everyone. He’s a darling of the league. A brilliant player who serves as a tremendous (member) of his community, an All-Star who pals around with the two-time MVP. He’s everything to everyone, where Thomas was popular but also controversial.

Here’s where I stand:

  • Thomas’ total body of work easily trumps Paul’s so far.
  • Paul has already played at a higher peak than Thomas ever did, although his lead is slim.
  • If I had to bet today, when Paul retires, his career will outshine Thomas’. In fact, I think Paul’s career will fall short of only Magic Johnson among point guards.

79 Comments

  • Jul 25, 20111:12 pm
    by khandor

    Reply

    Despite usually liking what Matt Moore writes about the game, in this instance, at least, I stopped reading this account, after coming upon the following the descriptive comparison of Isiah Lord Thomas III’s 3PT-jump-shot with that of Chris Paul:
    “Paul’s 3-pointer is a dagger, while Thomas was more of a hoist.”
    … which could not be further from the truth. In the history of the NBA no smallish player in the range of Zeke and CP3 has ever had a sweeter looking release on his 3PT-jumper-shot, which in fact made it seem quite effortless, than the Pistons’ Littlest General.
    Although CP3 is certainly a very good player, he simple cannot hold a candle to Isiah Thomas, as one of the very best PGs in the history of the game. The ONLY aspect of the game that CP3 is better at than Zeke is rebounding.
     

    • Jul 25, 20113:31 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      I disagree. I don’t think anyone ever could match Chris Paul’s incredible decision making and ability to get the ball to whoever was most likely to score. The only thing holding back his assist totals is the low quality of team mates he has always had. Whose peak is higher at this point is a tough call though. But if CP3 is not a very superior passer, how are his assist totals so much higher than Zeke’s when Thomas without doubt had the better teammates?

      • Jul 25, 20113:42 pm
        by kamal

        Reply

        Isiah averaged 13.9 assists one season passing to guys like Dan Roundfield, Terry Tyler, and John Long?  You ever heard of them?  Sure he had Tripucka, but he only played 55 games and he wasn’t better than David West.  Vinnie Johnson is good but you only know of him because he played with Isiah.  

        Isiah was not the superior passer.  Sorry.

        • Jul 25, 20114:17 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I absolutely agree that Thomas was a fantastic passer. And I suppose I would have to wait to see if Paul completely recovers from his injury funk to back up my statement. But he puts up even more assists with even worse teammates (with the admitted exception of the one season). But if you are comparing on the basis of one season, there is really no argument that Wilt Chamberlain is not the GOAT. And one more thing that Paul is hands down superior at: shooting. Especially free throws. He is so far at 47/36/85 and it is reasonable to expect those numbers to improve because they do for most players with age. Thomas, on the other hand, gave 45/29/76. And don’t blame the FG% on the defense because the league wide FG% was higher back then.

        • Jul 25, 20114:27 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Anyway, my argument is predicated on better teammates are liable to cause getting more assists. That could easily be a flawed premise, but it’s hard to say for sure. Anyway, for now I’ll concede that the better passer is in the air. They are both terrific on that count. But you really need to concede that Paul has more on Thomas than rebounding. Most notably three point and free throw shooting. And he is a fantastic defender without being allow to hand check. But advantages based on rule changes don’t seem worth arguing because they go both ways.

  • Jul 25, 20111:17 pm
    by brgulker

    Reply

    Paul vs. Thomas, courtesy of basketball-reference: http://bkref.com/tiny/62vfb

    Both players compared through 26 years of age. 

    Paul’s numbers are significantly better, expect with respect to assist totals (while Paul wins the AST% battle).

    Zeke was a brilliant player, but he was surrounded by much better teams in his prime than Paul has had yet.

    If/When Paul becomes a free agent, I hope he gets the chance to pair up with another truly dominant player, like Howard or Love, with a strong supporting cast. If he does, he’ll go down as one of the all-time greats at his position (which he should anyway, but the sports media fixates on things it shouldn’t).

  • Jul 25, 20111:23 pm
    by RyanK

    Reply

    Are you serious?  Chris Paul is a good player, but obviously you don’t remember just how good Isiah was.   Nor do you remember how many times the Pistons got screwed or screwed themselves to just miss winning other championships.  Isiah could have had 4 championships easy!  A healthy ankle, a bad ref’s call, a good pass to man who wasn’t backing up.
     
    Has Paul ever scored 25 points in a quarter…Isiah did it on one leg in the NBA Finals!  Isiah scored 16 points in 93 seconds.  Isiah set the season record for assists per game in a seasons.
     
    Paul hasn’t done anything that even comes close to Isiah when it matters most.  Sure their stat lines look similar during the regulars season, but Paul has never, NEVER, come up as big as Isiah when it matters most.  Isiah was one of the clutches players in NBA history.  Can you say that about Paul?  Can you include Paul in the top 5 point guards of the last 30 years?  No and no!
     
    Don’t mistake Paul having a good series (which he lost) against an aging backcourt with what Isiah was able to accomplish.  The Lakers were not playing at a championship level and Derrick Fisher is 37 years old!
     
    You tell me: game seven of the NBA finals and you can pick either Paul or Isiah to be your point guard (both healthy and in their prime).  Does that sort it out for you?  Anyone who’s familiar with both players will not hesitate with their answer.
     
    This is as silly as Pippen saying Lebron might end up better than Jordon…ain’t gonna happen!

    • Jul 25, 20111:57 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Paul hasn’t done anything that even comes close to Isiah when it matters most.”

      Chris Paul just turned 26. His career is far from over. It’s fair to say that, through this point in their respective careers, Paul and Isiah are pretty comparable. The difference between the two is that one (Isiah) played on really talented teams and the other (Paul) has played on teams that had very little talent outside of him.

    • Jul 25, 20113:37 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Paul isn’t clutch?!?!?! You gotta be s**tting me. While clutch is a very ethereal and overrated trait, every stat that attempts to measure “clutch” figures in spite of invariably small sample sizes, always rates CP3 as insanely clutch. It’s just that he doesn’t often take the last shot. But he is so good at getting the ball to someone in a position to score with the game on the line–in spite of having very little talent on his team.

      Chris Paul is on the short list of players who have a legit claim to being the second best player in the league along with Wade, Bryant, and Howard.

  • Jul 25, 20111:32 pm
    by Andre

    Reply

    I agree totally with you Khandor!  I guess they need something to write about so they have to reach for something.  Either the writer is too young to have watched Isiah play or someone has a different agenda.

    The level of competition today compared to back then would kill this argument before it get started. Chris Paul is a good player but he will not be a legend, and to compare CP3 against Zeke is just crazy. They’re many other PG’s to compare him to but Isiah is not one of them.

    • Jul 25, 20111:46 pm
      by RyanK

      Reply

      Andre, exactly right.  People who have the opinion Paul is comparable to Isiah are bias or not old enough to have seen Isiah play.  They only look at a stat box.  People old enough remember just how amazing Isiah was.  Hands down one of the top 5 toughest players in history.  And his game went to another level when it was crunch time.
       
      Isiah wanted it so bad.  Paul has played good basketball, but hasn’t shown the desire Isiah had.  If you question this statement, again, you are not old enough to remember.
       
      Paul and Isiah have similar games.  Paul is a better 3 point shooter.  But what separates them is passion and toughness.  Watch Isiah score 25 points while hopping up and down the floor on one leg in the NBA finals.  That was possibly the greatest performance in NBA history.  Then see the determination bubbling over throughout the 80s.
       
      Isiah is no question the greatest player in NBA history under 6′ 6”.  Anyone who doesn’t think so, didn’t see enough of him.

      • Jul 25, 20111:53 pm
        by Patrick Hayes

        Reply

        “Paul and Isiah have similar games.  Paul is a better 3 point shooter.  But what separates them is passion and toughness.”

        That’s such an incredibly flawed statement. What separates them is definitely not passion and toughness. Paul is one of the most passionate, toughest players in the league. What separates them is that Isiah played with thee Hall of Famers (Dumars, Rodman, Dantley), another guy who should have been a hall of famer (Laimbeer) and a slew of amazingly good role players (Johnson, Salley, Edwards, Aguirre, etc.). He also played for a Hall of Fame coach in Daly.

        Chris Paul, meanwhile, is dragging Marco Bellinelli and Emeka Okafor up and down the court. The thing that separates Paul from Thomas is talent of teammates. If Paul had as talented a supporting cast as Thomas had, Paul would have rings right now. It’s that simple.

        • Jul 25, 20112:11 pm
          by khandor

          Reply

          When CP3 – who I like a great deal, as a first-class PG in the NBA – was the starting PG for the USA in the Men’s FIBA World Championships for the first go-round, the fact is … he was not on a talentless team. IMO, it’s a gross injustice to Zeke to suggest that the only thing which separates him from Chris Paul is the better quality of his teammates in the NBA. Part of what made the other players on the Pistons as good as they eventually became was THE OPPORTUNITY they had to play beside an “Ultimate Warrior” like Isiah Lord Thomas III.

          • Jul 25, 20112:17 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            What you just wrote in that comment makes absolutely no sense. Paul played on a talented FIBA team once, so that means he’s played with as much talent as Thomas?

            We’re talking about NBA careers. The fact is, Paul has never had a NBA teammate as good as Dumars, Rodman, Dantley or Laimbeer.

            Also, can we stop using Isiah’s middle name? You’re not his mom telling him to clean up his room.

        • Jul 25, 20112:15 pm
          by RyanK

          Reply

          The flaw with your logic and those who use stats to compare players is that having a team means stats get spread around.  Isiah would have averaged 30 points a 10 assists if he had the team Paul plays on.  Would that make him the better player?  Not in my mind, but probably in yours.  Isiah played winning basketball and got his stats.  Statistically they are similar players, but intangibles separate them by a wide margin.
          You say he’s one of the most passionate players in the league…perhaps in todays league, but it doesn’t compare to Isiah.  You obviously didn’t see Isiah’s career in full, so you are not qualified to have an opinion.  This same nonsense was discussed about Iverson and Isiah at one time…different style of play, but just as silly of an argument.  A demonstration of ignorance and/or understanding.
          Answer the question: game 7 NBA finals, who’s your point guard between the two?  There would be absolutely no hesitation from anyone who’s seen both players.  Not the highlight reel, or the stat box…see the players!  Watch the video Isiah Thomas Amazing.
          Winning isn’t what made Isiah better.  His toughness, passion and clutch abilities puts Isiah a huge notch over Paul.

          • Jul 25, 20112:40 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            “The flaw with your logic and those who use stats to compare players is that having a team means stats get spread around.”

            Everyone uses stats to compare players. Not everyone uses the same stats, but EVERYONE uses them nonetheless. People use stats because there needs to be some kind of agreed upon baseline for comparisons. Now, there is definitely disagreement about which stats are most useful, sure. But to write something like “the flaw with those who use stats” is suggesting there are multiple schools of thought on stats. You will not find one smart person who analyzes basketball who doesn’t use stats.

            “Isiah would have averaged 30 points a 10 assists if he had the team Paul plays on.  Would that make him the better player?  Not in my mind, but probably in yours.”

            There is not a weaker, more stupid argument than arbitrarily making up something and then putting those words in someone else’s mouth. For example, you figure winning significantly into how you evaluate a player. Would it be fair for me to say, “Robert Horry has five championships. Does that make Robert Horry a better player than Karl Malone? Not in my mind, but probably in RyanK’s.”

            “Isiah played winning basketball and got his stats.”

            This same statement applies to Paul. Paul has led his team, a team that has very little talent, to the playoffs in three of the last four years. The one year in that span they didn’t make, he had a serious injury that caused him to miss all but 45 games. So Chris Paul plays winning basketball and gets his stats.

            “You say he’s one of the most passionate players in the league…perhaps in todays league, but it doesn’t compare to Isiah.  You obviously didn’t see Isiah’s career in full, so you are not qualified to have an opinion.”

            Saying things like “you aren’t qualified to have an opinion” makes you sound like an ass. I don’t want to assume you are an ass, but it’s hard not to with that kind of statement. I watched enough of Isiah’s career to have an opinion. He was one of the top three or four players of his era. Paul is one of the top three or four players of his era, and his career is not over yet. It’s not ridiculous to say that, assuming no injuries, continued production, better talent around him, that Paul could have an Isiah-like career. That is not a ridiculous statement because, to this point in their careers, they are statistically similar players. It’s not as if anyone is comparing Mo Williams to Isiah here. We’re comparing two players who are going to be Hall of Famers.

            “This same nonsense was discussed about Iverson and Isiah at one time…different style of play, but just as silly of an argument.  A demonstration of ignorance and/or understanding.”

            When did I compare Isiah to Iverson? Again, it’s really easy argue points if you simply make shit up. “RyanK’s argument that Paul is nowhere near as good as Isiah is just as ridiculous as the time he argued that ‘She’s All That’ is the best Freddie Prinze Jr. movie of all time.”

            “His toughness, passion and clutch abilities puts Isiah a huge notch over Paul.”

            Again, Paul has had a fantastic career SO FAR. It’s possible this is as good as it gets for him and his injury history or whatever means he’s already peaked. But there’s also a chance that the talent around him is upgraded. What if Paul wins a championship and is the best player on a championship team? Did you see his performance against the Lakers? You look at the rosters of those two teams and explain to me how a team that was playing Aaron Gray and Marco Bellinelli significant minutes stretched that series to six games. I saw how they did it. With my eyes. They did it because Chris Paul was the best player on the court, because not only was he the best player on the court, but he was passionate and tough and clutch and made his teammates better. Saying that doesn’t mean I think Isiah wasn’t great, he obviously was. But Paul has those intangible qualities as well, and if he’s ever on a team talented enough to contend for titles, everyone will see it.

      • Jul 25, 20115:15 pm
        by brgulker

        Reply

        But what separates them is passion and toughness. 

        How convenient! The separation between the players is measured by something that is completely immeasurable.  

        And I watched Zeke play, for the record.

    • Jul 25, 20111:50 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “The level of competition today compared to back then would kill this argument before it get started.”

      Really? Look at the number of franchise PGs right now … Paul, Williams, Rondo, Rose, Westbrook. Old guys like Nash, Kidd, Billups still playing at pretty high levels. A whole slew of young kids with potential (Wall, Holiday, Evans, Jennings, etc) who could turn into elite players. I hate that “everything old is better” argument. Isiah played great competition. Paul plays great competition. I mean, how fair is it to look at a group of guys still early in their careers and say, “there’s no way there as good! look at all the accomplishments these old guys had!”

      Talent-wise, this group of PGs is really, really good. By the time these guys are retired, they’re going to compare favorably, and perhaps even be considered better, than many of their counterparts in the 80s.

      • Jul 25, 20112:43 pm
        by Andre

        Reply

         

        Let’s get real. Half of the list you just name are not PG but they are SG playing a PG position.  Haven’t you notice how everyone is combo guard now?  These guys are more athletic but their skills are lacking compared to the players of yesteryear.  Most of these guys didn’t play enough college ball to hone there skills to the level of the legends of the game.

        One more thing do you really want to compare competition in today’s game.  When guys can’t shoot jumpers, break a zone down, shoot a free throw or play fundamental basketball there is no competition.

         

        • Jul 25, 20112:57 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          To criticize today’s guys as not being traditional PGs is hilarious. Isiah might have been the first non-traditional PG. Sure, he could and absolutely did create for others. But how many games did he take over as a scorer, looking for his own shot first? Isiah was the originator of today’s new wave PGs.

          “One more thing do you really want to compare competition in today’s game.  When guys can’t shoot jumpers, break a zone down, shoot a free throw or play fundamental basketball there is no competition.”

          If you’re saying guys in the NBA can’t do those things, then there’s really no point in arguing with you. You obviously don’t watch much NBA basketball if you think this is the case.

          • Jul 25, 20113:09 pm
            by Andre

            If you say it’s the same then you have just lost credibility!  You are right it is no need to argue because you must not be old enough to remember all the games. 

        • Jul 25, 20113:49 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Players today can’t shoot jumpers or free throws? Is your argument now that Paul only ever plays against Rondo? I mean, seriously, of all the things that we can definitely say players of this era are better at than players of previous eras, it is 3 point shooting and free throws. Both of those percentages have been gradually on the rise for a long time. And when you say a whole era of players is better or worse than another, how do you tell that? I mean, rules change and playing styles change, but as the game becomes more popular and the population players are drawn from increases, it is only logical to assume the talent will gradually rise.

  • Jul 25, 20111:57 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    This is ridiculous.  People are actually comparing Paul (who I like very much) to Isiah Lord Thomas III?  Seriously?  

    Isiah played in a league in which hand-checking was LEGAL.  If lighting quick Isiah played in this “you can’t touch the offensive player once he makes a move” league, he’d average about 10 fta per game.  PLUS, Isiah played in a MUCH BETTER shot blocking era.  Real 7 footers were down there when Isiah played.  Bums like Mark Eaton and Tree Rollins averaged over 4 blocks per game.

    Also when Isiah was putting up Monster numbers, he didn’t have more talent than Paul did on his squads.  Check Tripucka’s numbers once he went to the Jazz (Stockton’s team).  Laimbeer and John Long were fine players but they weren’t going to lead any team to anything.  And once Dantley arrived (the ultimate ball hog/stopper), Isiah’s assist numbers started to decline.

    And like someone ahead of me already mentioned, Isiah has CLASSIC great games on his resume.  He was a big game player.  Comparing him to Chris Paul is an insult, IMO.

    • Jul 25, 20112:00 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Also when Isiah was putting up Monster numbers, he didn’t have more talent than Paul did on his squads.  Check Tripucka’s numbers once he went to the Jazz (Stockton’s team).”

      Isiah played his entire career with Bill Laimbeer. Laimbeer is better than anyone Paul has ever played with in New Orleans. Then, in the mid 80s, the Pistons added Dumars, Rodman and Dantley. Those three guys are also better than anyone Paul has ever played with in New Orleans.

      • Jul 25, 20112:20 pm
        by kamal

        Reply

        Laimbeer was not the scorer that David West was.  Not even close.  Paul has an automatic assist with the pick and pop with West.  FACT.  Dumars and Rodman were MADE by Isiah.  Stop acting like Dumars was this Overall Number 1 pick from UNC.  Just like Jordan made Pippen, Isiah made Joe and Rodman.  Read Rodman’s book.  ”Get the ball and throw it to Isiah”.  Joe didn’t get good until Isiah sacrificed his game and numbers and touches to get everyone else involved.  

        Dantley is another story.  Sure, he was already a great player when he arrived but he actually hurt Isiah’s numbers.  Passing to Dantley, was a sure way to NOT get an assist.  He was going to hold the ball, figure out what move he was going to make and then make it.  That would take all of 8 seconds.  So yeah, Dantley helped the team advance, but it killed Isiah’s overall numbers.

        And you didn’t touch the hand-checking argument.  How successful do you think Paul would have been with Derek Harper or Dennis Johnson’s hand on his hip, keeping him from penetrating?

        • Jul 25, 20112:54 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          “Laimbeer was not the scorer that David West was.  Not even close.”

          Laimbeer’s scoring average his first five full seasons in Detroit: 13.6, 17.3, 17.5, 16.6, 15.4. West averages 16 a game for his career. At their best, they were pretty similar scorers. And actually, both guys are similar in that their strength was hitting a 15-footer. Also, Laimbeer was a far superior rebounder to West.

          “Paul has an automatic assist with the pick and pop with West.  FACT.”

          So? It wasn’t an automatic assist kicking out to Laimbeer for open jumpers? Laimbeer is actually a slightly better career shooter (.498 to .490) than West. So if Paul gets “automatic” assists by simply “kicking out” to West, the Isiah gets them for kicking out to Laimbeer.

          “Dumars and Rodman were MADE by Isiah.  Stop acting like Dumars was this Overall Number 1 pick from UNC.  Just like Jordan made Pippen, Isiah made Joe and Rodman.  Read Rodman’s book.  ”Get the ball and throw it to Isiah”.  Joe didn’t get good until Isiah sacrificed his game and numbers and touches to get everyone else involved.  “

          This is so dumb it’s beyond words. Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen are in the Hall of Fame. Yes, they benefited from playing with other great players. No, they were not “made” by other great players. Isiah sacrificed shots for Dumars b/c Dumars got really good. Jordan sacrificed for Pippen b/c Pippen got really good. If they weren’t really good, there’s no way Isiah or Jordan would’ve accepted deferring to them.

          “Dantley is another story.  Sure, he was already a great player when he arrived but he actually hurt Isiah’s numbers.  Passing to Dantley, was a sure way to NOT get an assist.  He was going to hold the ball, figure out what move he was going to make and then make it.  That would take all of 8 seconds.  So yeah, Dantley helped the team advance, but it killed Isiah’s overall numbers.”

          The point is, Dantley was a really good player, a better player than anyone Paul has ever played with.

          “And you didn’t touch the hand-checking argument.  How successful do you think Paul would have been with Derek Harper or Dennis Johnson’s hand on his hip, keeping him from penetrating?”

          The game was very obviously more physical then. But that’s an overrated argument. Talented players adapt to any era and any style. Isiah would’ve been successful in today’s NBA, Paul would’ve been successful in the 80s. More or less successful? Who knows. But talent is talent. Both guys would still be among the all-time greats no matter what era they played in.

          • Jul 25, 20113:22 pm
            by kamal

            Come on Dan, you’re trying to be slick.  Sure, West’s career average is 16 but that’s including two full seasons (his first 2) averaging 3.8 and 6.2 ppg respectively.  Take out his first 2 seasons, and West is putting up 19.2 for his career.  

            As for the pick and pop, Laimbeer developed that with Isiah late in their careers.  That was not Laimbeer’s game early on.  Just look at is 3pt attempts early in his career with Isiah.

            And we have a difference of opinion.  I think great players can make other players great.  You seem to think otherwise.  Joe’s ppg and fg% started declining once Isiah was no longer his teammate.  And he stopped going to the playoffs too.  If you think Pippen becomes the player he became if Jordan doesn’t make him lift weights every morning at his house, and gets in his ass in practice every day, then I don’t know what to tell you.  If you think Pippen becomes a hall of famer playing alongside Mitch Richmond his entire career, then I don’t know what to say. 

            And if you can agree that Isiah played in a more physical league and put up comparable numbers to Paul, is it far fetched to assume that he’d put up EVEN GREATER numbers in today’s era?  I mean, let’s face it.  Isiah played at a high level in a more physical era.  We don’t know what Paul would do in a more physical era because he never had to do it.

            And yes, Dantley is better than anybody Paul has ever played with.  I brought up his style of play because it hurt Isiah’s numbers.  If Isiah had averaged 25 and 13 over the course of 7 years, would he be compared to Paul?  Doubt it.  It’s because their numbers are similar.  And I’m saying that Isiah’s numbers were actually hurt by playing with a better player.

          • Jul 25, 20113:31 pm
            by RyanK

            Lets not get emotional and start name calling.  As far as I know you have never made an AI Isiah comparison…but those who did 10 years ago will not admit it today.  I can see a similar denial in 10 years about the Paul Isiah argument happening.
             
            Stats are earned based on a role a player has with a team.  Paul doesn’t have as good of players around him, so his stats should be skewed to look more dominate than Isiah’s…but they don’t.  So if stats tell the story, then the ball don’t lie.
             
            I prefer to watch the players and see how they outclass their opponent instead of looking at the stat box to get my info.  Isiah would eat Derrick Fisher alive just like Paul did…  Paul’s playoff performance this season was far from great considering his competition is barely able to play at an NBA level anymore.  Fisher has never been fast, but at 37 he’s wearing cement shoes.  Stuckey could have dominated him the same way.
             
            Isiah and Paul on a given night are similar players.  What separates them are the intangibles Isiah brought to the floor that we HAVE NEVER SEEN from Paul.  You keep saying at the end he might be as great…nothing we’ve seen so far indicates that is going to happen.  Isiah would raise his game when it matters most…Paul has played well when it matters most, but not at the same level as Isiah.  Paul has not played on that level ever in his career.
             
            Few players in the history of the NBA have done this as effectively as Isiah.  Take that aspect out of Isiah’s game and then you can compare these guys legitimately…They are similar except during those “adrenalin surge moments.”  It was as if Isiah became super human…Paul never taken it to the all-time great performance level.

          • Jul 25, 20114:01 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @Kamal:

            That wasn’t Dan, that was me, first of all, who brought up Laimbeer’s numbers. And if we take out West’s first couple seasons, then we should take Laimbeer’s out of his consideration as well. We should also take out his last couple, when he was clearly past his prime. West is in the midst of his prime, so it’s fair to compare him to Laimbeer’s optimal five or six year peak. If you want to take out West’s first two years, fine. Give him 19 a game to Laimbeer’s 16 or 17 in his prime.

            And I don’t understand the point of mentioning Laimbeer’s 3-point shot. Yes, he developed more range as his career went on, but even before he was a 3-point shooter, he still did most of his work as a perimeter shooter in the 15-18 range. He could post up some, just like West, but he was also much better shooting the ball than creating in the post.

            Anyway, the point is Laimbeer was just overall a much better player than David West when you factor in rebounding, defense and basketball IQ.

          • Jul 25, 20114:19 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @Ryan:

            My point is that you were arguing with me but attributing points to me that I wasn’t making. I wouldn’t compare Iverson to Thomas or Paul (unless we are talking cultural impact, which is a different matter). I have no problem with the debate. Just use my words to base your arguments on, don’t create things like the Iverson point, which is irrelevant to this discussion of Isiah v. Paul. Further, I take exception to the “you must not have watched both” line of reasoning. I have, in fact, watched both. It’s true that I wasn’t very old when Isiah was at his peak, but there are plenty of resources that have afforded me the opportunity to go back and re-watch and appreciate old Pistons games to help inform my opinion.

            This is the main thing I disagree with: “What separates them are the intangibles Isiah brought to the floor that we HAVE NEVER SEEN from Paul.  You keep saying at the end he might be as great…nothing we’ve seen so far indicates that is going to happen.”

            I am arguing that we have, in fact, seen those things from Paul. Look at his competitiveness in college, look at it in the pros. Look at how mad he gets about losses. Just like Isiah, there have been stories about Paul fighting with teammates b/c he’s so competitive and wants to win so badly. The difference is that Isiah has been on teams with an insane amount of talent. That doesn’t mean Isiah wasn’t great, he clearly was. But one-man teams never compete for titles. Kobe needed Shaq/Pau and good role players. San Antonio needed a big three. Jordan had a Hall of Fame cast on his title teams. So did Isiah, Bird, Magic, etc. Paul doesn’t even have an All-Star cast. He could be the most competitive, intangible-laden in league history, and if he’s running out there with Jannero Pargo and Peja Stojakovic’s corpse, he’s not going to get very far.

            The Pistons had an incredible coach and front office that built a deep, talented team. Paul has spent his entire career so far in a largely incompetent organization. He’s a great, great player who shouldn’t have his impact tarnished by the incompetence around him. If you put Isiah Thomas on that New Orleans roster, he would have no greater success than Paul.

    • Jul 25, 20112:36 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      A quick check of years in the middle of each player’s career:

      In 1986-87, 5.0 percent of shots were blocked.

      In 2008-09, 5.9 percent of shots were blocked.

      Players shoot many more 3-pointers today than they did during Thomas’ career, and that should only lower the percentage of shots blocked. That it’s even higher suggests players are better at blocking shots today.

      Don’t make up facts.

      • Jul 25, 20114:03 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        So true. One could argue that today there are fewer great shot blockers but a lot more very good shot blockers. Very good shot blockers just aren’t as memorable though.

      • Jul 25, 20114:44 pm
        by Rodman4Life

        Reply

        I disagree.  Players back then shot many more “long” 2′s and a whole legion of players lived in the mid-range realm that we always credit RIP for.  Just watch some ESPN classic games from the era.  Many more long range (but not necessarily 3 point range) shots went up, and a darn good percentage of them went in.  With all this said, I do agree that there is greater shot-blocking ability spread through the league now.  That is more to do with greater lateral quickness in today’s game than anything else.

    • Jul 25, 20112:40 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Your hand-checking argument is also flawed. If Isiah couldn’t hand check, do you think he would’ve been as good a defender?

  • Jul 25, 20112:01 pm
    by Peter D. Brown

    Reply

    Let’s not forget that Paul was wearing a protective boot for most of this past season before games. Injuries may become a hindrance to a long, productive career.

  • Jul 25, 20112:29 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    My man, you can’t say these new guys are comparable to the guys from Isiah’s era.  I don’t like to compare eras because it’s not fair to the new guys.  Fact, they play in an easier era, specifically for penetrating.  There aren’t as many shot blockers, not as many hard fouls, or 7 footers to shoot over.  The game isn’t as physical.  

    That’s like saying baseball players are comparable to the ones from the 60s because they hit the same amount of homeruns, but neglecting to mention that the ballparks are much smaller today.

    • Jul 25, 20113:40 pm
      by RyanK

      Reply

      Absolutely!  What do you think Paul would do if he faced the same threat at the basket Isiah did.  The game is different though.  It’s easier today for a small guard in my opinion…
       
      I believe Paul is the closest thing we’ve seen to Isiah from a talent stand point.  Isiah just so much greater in the clutch…that’s why Paul will never be what Isiah was.  Jordan type greatness in the clutch.  We saw it from Isiah.  Paul hasn’t shown that…not yet anyways.
       
      Maybe some day he will, but until then comparing the two isn’t fair to Isiah.
       
      Patrick…sorry about creating a pissing match.

      • Jul 25, 20114:09 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Paul may be the first player to prove that you can be a great clutch player without insisting on always taking the clutch shots. Sure other great players have deferred occasionally. But Paul gets flak because he defers regularly. But his results speak for themselves.
        http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time

        • Jul 25, 20114:36 pm
          by RyanK

          Reply

          Paul’s a good player, but he’s never played as well in key moments as Isiah.  It’s just a fact.  I saw it just as plainly as I saw Jordan play a notch above Isiah.  But Isiah is on that second rung…Paul is down there on the 3rd rung at best.

          • Jul 25, 20115:21 pm
            by brgulker

            He hasn’t had the chance to play in any key moments because all of his teams have sucked. 

            The closest thing he’s had is this year’s LA series, and he was dominant, far and away the best player in the series.

          • Jul 25, 20117:09 pm
            by RyanK

            I’m not referring to the NBA finals.  Isiah’s big play wasn’t just playoff basketball or surrounding the championship runs of the late 80s.  He was doing amazing things from early on in his career.  Paul has played some good ball too, but those amazing moments like Isiah just aren’t there.  It used to be called the zone…I’m not sure what the younger players call it today.  When Isiah was in the zone (and it happened often), it was on the same level as MJ in the zone.  Nothing stopped him, no one bothered him.

    • Jul 25, 20114:02 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      The game may be less physical, but that’s neither an advantage nor a disadvantage. Sure, the guys Thomas played against were allowed to be more physical. But guess what, Thomas was also allowed to be more physical than Paul is. That makes toughness an extra valuable trait. SO if that was a considerable part of THomas’ game, that would likely make him slightly less effective today.
      Fact: the overall stats teams put up then and now are comparable. In fact, NBA players scored more back then. So it is absurd to say it was harder to score unless you are claiming that, top to bottom, the talent in the NBA today is just much less. Which is a very difficult claim to back up and is highly unlikely given that the pool of people from which players are taken is only increasing.
      Thomas does get extra acclaim in these debates because his game was more similar to Jordan’s than Paul’s is. And Jordan is inevitably held as the gold standard. But Paul is unmatched in the “making teammates better” department.

      • Jul 25, 20114:10 pm
        by kamal

        Reply

        Well, yes.  The talent level was better back in the 80s.  There are six more teams (Hornets, Heat, Raptors, Grizzlies, Bobcats, and Magic).  That is roughly 90 more players in the league, thus diluting the talent pool.  So yeah, the talent level is less in this era.  Sure, they shoot the 3 better and are more athletically.  But the absence of big men with post games should tell you that the talent level is worse.  When Joel Pryzbilla is a sought after free agent, you know you’re playing in a watered down league.

        • Jul 25, 20115:22 pm
          by brgulker

          Reply

          Do you know what a non sequitur is?

        • Jul 25, 20117:04 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          Agreed that there are 6 more teams, that’s 25% more. But the talent pool is not watered down because there are so many more players to draw from. Basketball was more popular when today’s players were kids than when the players of the Jordan era were kids, And there is so much more international talent available. I don’t have figures with me so I couldn’t really show that that more than makes up for the 25% dilution several times over. But you have to admit that at the very least, it would take a huge chunk out of it.
          What is your basis for saying the talent level is so much lower? Is it just because you don’t find the games as fun to watch? Or because rule changes have adjusted what the ideal skill set is? Or because you pulled a time machine out of your a** and made today’s players actually play the players of 2 decades ago and they got their butts kicked time and again. If it’s the third one, you’ve got a good point. But somehow, I doubt it.

          • Jul 25, 20117:28 pm
            by kamal

            I say today is a more watered down league because of two things: rule changes and lack of fundamentals.

            Certain things, today’s players can’t do.  The mid range jumper is gone.  It’s either the 3 ball or to the rack.  Post game.  Where is it?  I don’t know if Pete Newell still runs the big man camp, but these guys are getting it.  Our best big man, Howard, had to go and learn from Olajuwon and he’s still shaky at best.  And I’m not just talking about the bigs but the wings as well.  Lebron’s our best player and his footwork is GOD AWFUL.  Our point guards can’t make good entry passes.  Our guards continue to go under the screen instead of around it.  There’s NO talking on defense anymore.  

            Rule changes IMO, have also watered the league down.  Guys like Lebron James might not ever maximize their potential because they don’t have to.  You can’t muscle them so a wing with no jumper to save his life might go down as the GOAT?  Zone defense?  Are you kidding me?  A zone has no place in American professional basketball.  The 5 second “back down” rule?  WTF is that about?  

            I know Stern wanted to open the game up and increase scoring but it’s made the players look as if they need these crutches to produce similar numbers to the greats of the past. 

          • Jul 25, 20119:17 pm
            by tarsier

            The mid range jumper is far from gone. But it is used less. Not because people today can’t make it. If you can hit a three, you can hit an 18 footer. It’s used less because people have learned to incorporate threes effectively into a game plan and that makes long 2s horribly inefficient. It’s not smart to shoot them. When the lane got bigger, it cut down the effectiveness of post play. And zone defense is totally legit. Most teams don’t use it because it is not usually as effective, but I am all for letting people defend however they want and let the offense try to beat them. However, while all these rule changes affect what the most efficient style of play is, they don’t “water down” the league. They just change what the smartest way to play is. If the timing of the rules were reversed, people would now complain the game is thuggish instead of elegant, that instead of playing fundamental basketball, players just dump it in to the big man, and that nobody in the league can drive properly. Yes, the ideal skill set has changed but it is neither better nor worse. Allow me to rephrase that. It is not objectively better or worse. Everyone will have their opinions however, and you’ve made yours clear. I’m sorry you don’t like the aesthetic of today’s game as much, but I am guessing that if it had happened in the other order, you’d be singing the same tune. People just don’t like change.

          • Jul 25, 201110:42 pm
            by Patrick Hayes

            @tarsier:

            Great, great analogy. People forget how ugly basketball got in the 90s because the clutch and grab stuff got out of control when Riley especially took the Pistons style to another level. The Pistons at least combined their physical defense by playing at a fast pace and having an efficient offense. Riley’s Knicks not only beat people up on defense, they choked the life out of the ball on offense. If anything, the good defensive teams of this era (Spurs, Pistons, Celtics, etc.) have to be smarter and more savvy defensively than in the past because of what they can no longer get away with as easily.

  • Jul 25, 20112:47 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    I think this argument was over at a couple of points:

    -handchecking rules and 7 footers, thereby making the comparison impossibly unbalanced
    -a good team actually deflating his numbers, therefore leaving to the imagination what his numbers would have been otherwise

    I’ll add another
    - the fact that he beat Magic, Larry, and Michael Jordan… the 3 golden boys whom no-one second guesses as the greatest. And he did it with support players who’s talent was recognizably less than theirs. (James Worthy, Kareem, Parish, McHale, Pippen). And he could have had 4 championships, only got 2.

    Dumars, Rodman, Laimbeer, Johnson, are all good players but they weren’t bona fide superstars at their time, they are considered hall of famers in hindsight. Even Rodman wasn’t yet fully a star while the Pistons were winning chips.

  • Jul 25, 20113:19 pm
    by jello

    Reply

    Isiah is my favourite Piston all-time but if Pauls knees doesn’t stop him I believe he has got a pretty decent shot at surpassing him and Stockton in the all-time great list. Alot of pieces has to come together perfectly and there is certainly a great chance he will not have a greater career but I think it is homerism talking when people claim he hasn’t got a decent chance. Chris Paul surely has got the talent and mentality to do it but he has got ALOT of hurdles to pass.

  • Jul 25, 20114:01 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    A big thing missing from any of these statistical comparisons is Paul’s Hornets play at a much, much slower pace than Thomas’ Pistons did. This means Thomas had more possessions to accumulate stats than Paul does.

    Basically, pace influences stats (in favor of Thomas) but has no influence on actual ability.

  • Jul 25, 20114:19 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    You gotta love these comparisons. They give fans something to passionately fight over in an otherwise empty offseason.

  • Jul 25, 20114:20 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    Sorry Patrick, I didn’t realize I was being double teamed.  

    But I still stand by statement.  Early in his career, Laimbeer was more in the post than on the perimeter.  You don’t get all of those offensive rebounds playing away from the basket.  

    Laimbeer’s style early on wasn’t generating that many assists for Isiah, except when he penetrated and dumped it off.

    Yes, he was a better overall player than West.  But that’s not my point.  My point is that we only compare the two (Isiah and Paul) because they put up similar numbers.  I contend that Isiah, with the exception on Tripucka and Vinnie, didn’t play with people who gave his easy assists.  Isiah got his the hard way.  Having West and that pick and pop, gives Paul an easy assist on most of his plays.  It’s the same as the pick and roll Stockton ran with Malone.  Let’s see how many all time assists Stockton would have running that pick and roll with Rodman.

    • Jul 25, 20114:28 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      What percentage of Paul’s assists do you think go to West?

      • Jul 25, 20114:31 pm
        by kamal

        Reply

        If I was a gambling man, I’d say 30-40% go to West.

      • Jul 25, 20117:08 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        I would guess about 25%. But now I am pretty curious. You got a number for us Dan?

      • Jul 26, 20111:21 pm
        by Dan Feldman

        Reply

        27 percent last season. My basic point being, why so much emphasis on David West’s ability to make shots? West is a good player, but the rest of that team is pretty bad, and collectively, the other guys influence Paul’s assist totals much more than West.

  • Jul 25, 20115:47 pm
    by Andre

    Reply

    Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kareem, Stockton, Wilt and Dr. J all had good/great players playing alongside them, but no one compare those guys with today’s talent.  Sometime great players make those around them great/better.  Not taking anything away from other players, but do you think Pippen would have been the player he was without Jordan.  As Great as AI was he didn’t make other players better.  CP3 is a good/great player but I just don’t see the Isiah comparison.  I don’t think superstar when I think of CP3.

    BTW, Laim and Isiah took a couple of season to get effective with that pick and pop. I remember screaming at the TV every time Laim MISSED that shot, but he got good at taking that open jumper after a couple of season. 

    Anyway, I MISS BASKETBALL ALREADY!

    • Jul 25, 20117:10 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Seriously? You don’t think Paul is a superstar? How good does someone have to be to be a superstar? Because if Paul isn’t, there are a maximum of 4 in the league right now: James, Wade, Bryant, and Howard.

    • Jul 25, 20118:31 pm
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      “Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kareem, Stockton, Wilt and Dr. J all had good/great players playing alongside them, but no one compare those guys with today’s talent.”

      I don’t agree with that. Here are a few comparisons off the top of my head that I’ve read (not saying I agree or disagree with the comparisons, just that they’ve been made):

      Magic Johnson – Lebron James

      (Also, as a MSU hoops fan, I think many other State fans will remember that when Steve Smith entered the NBA, he was compared to Magic. Both were State guys, both were tall for guards and Smith was a solid passer. The Heat tried unsuccessfully for a couple of years to turn him into a point guard).

      Larry Bird has been compared to virtually every white wing player who comes into the league and has any kind of skill (Van Horn, in particular, sticks out in my mind as a guy who was supposedly ‘the next Bird’).

      Dr. J is not so much compared to today’s players, but Jordan was the evolution of Dr. J, so every guy who has been compared to Jordan is, in a way, also being compared to Dr. J.

      Stockton is a hard one to compare. He’s a pure PG who was a great shooter, like Nash, except Stockton was one of the best defenders in the league, unlike Nash. Kidd is a pure PG but doesn’t really fit with Stockton either b/c Kidd is bigger and a worse shooter. No one compares anyone to Stockton because there really isn’t a similar player.

      Same with the centers — dominant centers come along only once or twice a generation, and they’re all so different. Really good athletic wing players come along all the time, hence the many Jordan comparisons. Scoring PGs are getting more plentiful, so I would suspect there will be more Isiah comparisons as their careers progress.

      As far as the Paul-Isiah comparison, yeah, it has to do with their similar stats, but it also has to do with their temperaments. Read up on Paul. I’m telling you, he has a reputation of being every bit as competitive, every bit as desperate to win as Isiah was. He’s one of the three or four best players in the league right now. I suspect you don’t think ‘superstar’ when you think of him b/c you haven’t seen enough of him. No one has really, because the league doesn’t put too many NO games on a year since it’s a small market. But that aside, there’s no doubt that Paul is a superstar talent. Minus Paul, New Orleans is possibly the worst team in the league.

  • Jul 25, 20117:08 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    I hate to beat a dead horse guys, but this article really got me agitated.  And, it’s not the comparison, really.  It’s the last line of the article that said something to the effect that Paul could go down as the 2nd greatest point guard of all time, behind Magic.  

    But here’s my question to Dan and Patrick.  Based on their first six years of play, what makes Magic Johnson’s status untouchable?   

    During their first six years, Paul scores more per game, shoots at a higher free throw and 3 point percentage.  Magic hands out .4 more assists than Paul does.  Paul has a much higher PER, Assist % and more Win Shares.

    It can’t be the titles, because as you guys pointed out, titles are a team accomplishment.  And Magic has had more talent on his teams than anybody in the last 30 years.  Besides him, he played with 3 other number 1 picks (Kareem, Worthy, Mychal Thompson), Byron Scott, Bob McAdoo, Jamaal Wilkes, Norm Nixon.  Everyone of those players are better than anybody else Chris Paul has played with.  Well, maybe not Mychal Thompson.

    So what makes Isiah’s status in reach but not Magic’s?  Please tell me.
     

    • Jul 25, 20117:24 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      It’s the fact that Magic could do everything. You conveniently left out the fact that Magic dominates Paul on the boards (and Paul is one of the best rebounding PGs around). And, through 6 seasons, Magic was shooting over 54%, a ridiculous mark. And don’t forget about 3 MVPs, 3 finals MVPs, two all-star MVPs, and 9 all-NBA first teams. It’s not that it is impossible for anyone to ever top him, it’s just that it would be a very lofty goal. He is probably the most common name plugged in behind Jordan as the second best player of all time (I think Chamberlain was better, but that’s just me).
      The fact that Magic was a nightly triple-double threat and the fact that he once played point-center will also make it difficult for anyone to oust him from the best PG ever spot. But I think it’s mostly just what the writer thinks CP3′s ceiling is. It would be like saying 6 years ago that Kobe could go down as the 2nd best SG of all-time. Sure he could concievably have passed Jordan. But that seemed unlikely enough that people would have probably opted to put his ceiling at number 2.

      • Jul 25, 20117:37 pm
        by kamal

        Reply

        I agree with you Tarsier.  Magic is the best point guard of all time.  But all of those awards and titles he got playing with superior talent.  He wouldn’t have had all of those Finals appearances playing for Donald Sterling.

        Magic got drafted by a team that had won 47 games and featured the best big man in the game.  3 years later, the Lakers, coming off of a championship, drafted the best player in college in James Worthy.  

        My point is that Magic had MUCH BETTER TEAMMATES than Chris Paul, and nobody bats an eye, but Isiah’s supporting cast actually hurts him in this debate.

        • Jul 25, 20118:35 pm
          by Patrick Hayes

          Reply

          Magic undoubtedly benefited from being surrounded by great talent as well. That’s not why he was a great player, but it is why he won as much as he did. The point isn’t to say that Isiah is overrated or anything. It’s just to say that he had a fantastic team around him, and that’s why he was in a position to win so much. Paul just doesn’t have close to the supporting cast those guys had, but his individual impact on a team is pretty close to both Isiah and Magic. We can debate all day about who is better, but the fact is, the differences between all three are not that great. If Paul ever gets on a team that has upgraded talent, his abilities will be more understood and he’ll win a lot of games.

          • Jul 25, 201111:06 pm
            by kamal

            I understand now.  I guess I don’t see Paul as some all time great, so comparing him to Isiah was an insult to me.  

            Paul is a great player.  In fact, I think he’s the best point guard in the league and when he’s healthy, a top 5 player in the league.  Isiah was never a top 5 player when he played, but he also played at the same time as Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kareem, Moses, and Dr. J.  Those are 6 of the 15 best players to ever play the game.

            But eras DO matter to me.  Just because Paul is the best in the league now, doesn’t mean he’s as good as great point guards of the past.  

            Klitschko held the title longer than Ali did and has a better overall record.  Eras matter.

        • Jul 25, 20119:24 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          True, Magic would not have the titles without a great cast and neither would Thomas, and neither will Paul. But the MVPs and the certainly the all-first teams, he probably would have had anyway. Not to mention the jaw-dropping stats and play style. And the extra 8 inches go a long way too. But I don’t think having good teammates is held against Thomas. It’s just the proper lens to view things through. It will tend to lower his scoring and usage and increase his winning. So if Paul and Thomas put up the exact same stats with the same number of possessions while Thomas had better teammates, that would mean advantage Zeke.

          • Jul 25, 201111:17 pm
            by kamal

            Without the great teammates, Magic doesn’t have as many MVPs either.  MVPs are usually won by guys on contending teams.  Kareem won with a bum team, but I can’t think of anybody else.

            Now, the All NBA teams would have been a lock. 

          • Jul 26, 20117:34 am
            by tarsier

            Yeah, you’re right. On a bad team, Magic may have been able to pull out an MVP or two if there wasn’t Bird or Jordan around. But not with that competition. And I agree that that was an era of better players at the very top of the league than right now. Just not that the league as a whole was better. Having a better top 5 or whatever is very transient, the quality of players in the whole league is on a slow incline. But I will give you another example of a guy who won two MVPs with virtually no other talent on his team: Lebron. I still can’t believe how little credit he gets for raising that terrible group to the finals and then to back-to-back best records in the league.

    • Jul 26, 20111:23 pm
      by Dan Feldman

      Reply

      Why the artificial cutoff at their first six years? I’m saying, when you compare careers, I predict Paul will be the second-best point guard of all time when he retires.

      • Jul 26, 20111:49 pm
        by khandor

        Reply

        Dan,
        From a figurative standpoint, I would be more than happy to take the opposite side of that specific wager, if you are so inclined to place it on the table.
        My specific prediction is that when he retires from the game Chris Paul will not be considered as the 2nd best PG of all-time.
        PS. I would also offer to make you a literal wager about this but, I do not think that you would be inclined to accept it. :-)

        • Jul 26, 20112:00 pm
          by Dan Feldman

          Reply

          Obviously, there’s no good way to quantify a subject argument, but I guess we’ll see who’s right in 10-15 years.

  • Jul 25, 201111:28 pm
    by kamal

    Reply

    Patrick and Tansier, I HATED those Knick teams.  I hate thug ball.  In fact, if Laimbeer and Mahorn played for somebody else, I’d probably hate them as well.  

    I like tough defense.  I like how Rodman played with his feet.  I like how Salley came out of nowhere and blocked shots.  I liked how Joe would strip the ball while a guy tried to shoot.  That’s defense to me.  

    Clutching and grabbing is garbage and I never liked it.   Hell, guys like Oakley weren’t even going for the ball.

    And I changed my mind.  I can never hate Laimbeer and Mahorn aka McFilthy and McNasty.  Lol 

  • Jul 26, 20118:06 am
    by JoshB

    Reply

    Chris Paul is definitely one of my favorite players right now. I think that part of the disconnect in the comparison comes with the fact that a) I don’t get to see his games nearly as much, and b) Although I have seen some of his intensity and competitiveness, it’s hard to erase the image of Zeke choking one of his coaches…………Those kind of things are hard to overcome when you’re trying to make comparisons that in reality can never be known without a shadow of a doubt. I give Paul a lot of credit though because even during the regular season last year he lead that team to a lot of wins that weren’t expected. I would love to see him with an actual worthwhile team.

  • Jul 26, 201111:51 am
    by khandor

    Reply

    IMO, the belief that championships won … as well as conference championships, playoff series wins, and playoff game wins … are strictly a TEAM accomplishment and, therefore, not also a legitimate form of INDIVIDUAL accomplishment, is a gross error in perception. Championships won IS a TEAM accomplishment, to be sure; and teams ARE, by definition, comprised of different INDIVIDUALS, each with a proportional and unique role in that major form of accomplishment. For example: i. Robert Horry was a good “role” player whose exceptional contributions to championship-winning teams elevated him well above the levels of performance associated with other also-good-but-generally-less effective role players like Kurt Thomas. [i.e. in an oranges 1 to oranges 2 comparison] ii. Isiah Lord Thomas III was a great “star” player whose contributions to championship-winning teams elevated him well above the levels of performance associated with other also-good-but-generally-less effective star player like John Stockton. [i.e. in an apples 1 to apples 2 comparison] iii. Robert Horry, as a good “role” player with exceptional contributions to a number of championship-winning teams, did NOT elevate himself above John Stockton, as an also-good-but-generally-less effective star player. [i.e. in an oranges 1 to apples 2 comparison] An accurate assessment of the relative ability level for each of these 4 players would look like this: #1. Isiah Lord Thomas III; #2. John Stockton; #3. Robert Horry; and #4. Kurt Thomas. IMO, to this point in his career, as a “contemporary star” player, CP3 fits properly into the “John Stockton” [i.e. apples 2] category, in comparison with Isiah Lord Thomas III [i.e. apples 1]. It will definitely be interesting to see how the rest of Chris Paul’s NBA career eventually plays out over the course of the next decade.

    • Jul 26, 20114:20 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      It’s beside the point, but is there any reason you always use Zeke’s full name and not the full names of anyone else? The inconsistency is mildly distracting like in video games when the commentators refer to certain players as “number 42″ or whatever because they don’t have an audio file of that player’s name.

      • Jul 26, 20115:05 pm
        by khandor

        Reply

        Reasons would include the following:
        1. It’s a sign of the level of respect which I have for the man’s game … which was actually quite “regal”, and distinctive, IMO.
        2. I think it’s rather “neat” that Zeke has the middle name of “Lord”, given the level of “hatred”/disdain that certain others seem to have for him amongst the basketball community. Is there anyone else that you know who has that specific middle name?
        3. I had the opportunity to watch him work, up-close and personal, on occasion, when he was in-charge of the Raptors organization and it was clear at that time he was “distinctive” in his approach to the game and towards life, in general.
        4. Unlike plenty of others, perhaps, I actually like the man.
        5. Names are something which are very important to me, as one of the very first formative things in the development of human character. IMO, a significant part of who Zeke is, as a person and player is wrapped up in each of his names, both, of the given and adopted/nick variety.
        6. To achieve what Zeke has achieved in this game [e.g. 1 NCAA Championship at IU, in his sophmore season under Bob Knight, and without the benefit of future HOFers; Olympian; back-to-back NBA Titles with the Pistons; induction into the HOF; honoured as one of the NBA's Greatest 50 of All-Time; etc.], coming from where he came, and in the circumstances he found himself, with his physical stature, was simply a monumental/distinctive accomplishment.
        Hopefully that answers your question thoroughly.

  • Jul 26, 20111:30 pm
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Just wanted to say I’ve enjoyed most of the discussion on this thread. I know I speak for Patrick when I say we appreciate the commenters who combine their passion with thoughtful arguments and don’t resort to childish name-calling. It makes these debates fun.

    • Jul 26, 20111:55 pm
      by khandor

      Reply

      FWIW … Please know that I think both you and Patrick do a fabulous job of not resorting to name-calling [or threatening dissenting comment contributors] yourselves which then goes a LONG WAY towards making this a highly enjoyable [and excellent!] site to visit and participate in a lively and thoughtful discussion about the Pistons.

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