Friday, April 25, 2008

"For the past seven days, Chris Paul has been the best basketball player on the planet."

For the past several months, Paul has been the best point guard on the planet.

That is a subjective opinion, but let's get real. It's more than one hometown sportswriter's opinion. It's the consensus around the NBA. And every time Paul steps onto the court, as he will again tonight when the New Orleans Hornets play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series, the number grows.

Paul's numbers in the first two games: 35 points, 10 assists, three rebounds, four steals and just one turnover in the Hornets' 104-92 victory in Game 1, then 32 points, 17 assists, five rebounds and three steals, with just three turnovers despite being double teamed throughout, in a 127-103 win in Game 2.

Nobody has opened the playoffs as impressively as Paul. Not Kobe Bryant, who might eventually get the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award this season over Paul; not LeBron James, Paul's buddy and usually considered the fastest-rising star in the game; not even Tim Duncan, Paul's fellow Wake Forest alums and two-time MVP who scored 40 in San Antonio's Game 1 win over Phoenix.

And none of them is a point guard. And, it should be noted, Paul is destroying one of the point guards who held the mantle of best point guard on the planet earlier in his career, Dallas' Jason Kidd.