December 1, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) takes the court before the game against the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Top 25 in LA--#7 Chris Paul


December 1, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (3) drives the lane during the first half of the game against the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

The Top 25 Most Important People in Sports in LA

#7

-Chris Paul-

He may only stand at 6ft, but not until LA saw him regularly when he was traded to the Clippers last offseason was it evident that Chris Paul is the biggest player in Los Angeles basketball not wearing number 24. Sure number 12 is taller, but number 3 plays bigger in LA today.

Career game averages
18.7 PPG
9.8 Assists
2.4 Steals

If everyone else in the NBA is playing basketball, anyone playing against or with Chris Paul knows that they are playing a different brand of basketball—CP III ball. He does what he wants to on the floor, even though he’s only 6 feet tall.

As the NBA game evolves away from the prototypical big time center, towards more athleticism at every position, Chris Paul still trends towards an old school point guard. He is not Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook whose outrageous athleticism make them virtually un-guardable. He is a pass first point guard, but he can create and make his own shot when he wants at 6 ft, 175lbs.

Check Out Who Was Number 8. . .

He has made every team he has ever been on better, starting with his teams in New Orleans that advanced as far as the Conference Semi-Finals. And then he also took the Clippers to the second round of the playoffs in his first year with the team—and won a Game 7 on the road. The Clippers won a playoff series. Seriously, the Clippers, their first since the 05-06 season. Chris Paul instilled confidence the day he arrived in LA.

Chris Paul could be the best in the NBA, but a list of the best point guards doesn’t begin with Chris Paul for one reason, rings. And that’s a good reason. He hasn’t won anything in the NBA. The combination of no rings for Chris Paul, and that this is still the Clippers franchise make it highly unlikely for the Clippers to win an NBA title which players and fans become more hopeful for every day Chris Paul is running the show. But all players with a ring had to get their first at some point.

However Paul is a 2 time Olympic Gold Medalist, which is not a statistic that should be short changed. But ask Charles Barkley, the measure of success for a star NBA player is how many championships you won.

Paul deserves to be ranked so high on our countdown because he has done something that no other player in the 34 year history of the franchise has accomplished–make them relevant. The Clippers have never had a franchise player, or been relevant in Los Angeles despite a loyal fan base. There is excitement around the Clippers now, like the reactions from DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin when they learned the Clippers traded for Chris Paul

His leadership skills are perhaps most impressive attribute though. He is always coaching his teammates on the court, and to his credit all of his teammates are exceptionally receptive to the coaching. Blake Griffin does not rebuke any help. He could easily brush it off as they walk back to the bench for a timeout, “yeah, yeah I know what to do.” But Paul gives direction in a manner that doesn’t speak down to anyone else, and elevates his team’s game. His teammates are eager to listen to what he has to say. And what he’s saying now is he;s ranked 7th on our Countdown of the Top 25 in LA.

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