Chris Paul was considered one of the front runner for the NBA MVP when the Clippers were vying with OKC for the best record in the West and the whole NBA. Clippers fans at least were eager to hand over the trophy already to the first point guard to win the award since Steve Nash won back to back MVPs.
But then something amazing happened. After all, the NBA is “where amazing happens.” Lebron absolutely went off. I won’t re-hash his incredibly well documented incredible run of play of late here. Less spectacularly and equally Chris Paul’s MVP chances was Chris Paul’s injury. He missed games, which injured or not league MVPs don’t do.
Chris Paul is the starting point guard for the Western Conference in the All Star game Sunday Evening. He will be sharing the stage with Lebron, Kevin Durant, Tony Parker, and anyone else considering themselves a likely candidate. Kobe will be playing too. Can Chris Paul reassert his MVP status while sharing the biggest stage (that’s not the Finals) in Houston? It’s not a question of is Paul capable, but has anyone used this stage to propel themselves to MVP?
It’s difficult to win the All Star MVP as a point guard, especially one that works harder at being a facilitator than scorer. Allen Iverson won the award, but the only pass first guards to win the NBA All Star MVP in the last 25 years were John Stockton, and Magic Johnson. Chris Paul would need 15-20 assists, spread around enough the facilitator is the star, not the scorer(s). In a game that is so wide open, if Kobe and Durant allow him to distribute, it can be done.
In the last 25 years the NBA All Star MVPs who have also won the NBA MVP include Lebron, Kobe, Allen Iverson, Shaq, MJ, Magic, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Kevin Garnett—a who’s who of NBA Hall of Famers. But only 3 times has the All Star Most Valuable Player gone on to win The NBA MVP that same year. Or did they win the ALL Star MVP en route to league MVP? Either way, Michael Jordan of course did the difficult deed twice in ’96 and ’98, and Shaq in 2000 won both.
4 time All Star MVP Kobe Bryant is the best current example of why the star performer in the All Star game does not springboard themselves to winning the league MVP is 4 time All Star MVP Kobe Bryant. Kobe has 5 rings, and 4 All Star game MVPs, but one blemish on his career is he’s only won a single league MVP award. If the long shot Chris Paul won the All Star MVP, there is less precedent that it would positively impact his MVP candidacy.
However KG in ’03, Kobe in ’07, and Lebron in ’08, each won the All Star MVP the season before winning their first league MVPs. It propelled them to become league MVP. If Chris Paul wins MVP of the All Star game this season, he is unlikely to win the league MVP because of King James and Paul’s time in a suit on the bench. But it lines up that he could be destined to win his first league MVP in 2013-14. This game could be an important step for Chris Paul, generally regarded as the best point guard in the league, to finally affirm that praise and make that next big step.