Hail to Chris Paul, king of the ring-less. He deserves a NBA championship more than anyone.
He is 36 years old. He has moved three times since 2017. He is coming off two incredibly stressful seasons with little rest in between. Last year, he led the NBA in free throw percentage (.934). He currently leads the league in assists (10.2) and steals (2.6) per game.
While other cowards in the NBA take nights off to rest their bodies, Paul is mastering the art of load management within games, starting off slow, picking his spots and taking over late. He is making jaws drop like never before.
The other night he threw a pass between his defender’s legs, caught the ball in stride and drained a mid-range jumper. It was smooth and ruthless and quickly dubbed the “Viral Nutmeg.” On Monday, he faked a no-look pass to a trailing Landry Shamet on a fast break, badly fooling a Minnesota defender. He then threw the ball between his own legs and converted a high-arching layup. He is playing the highest level of chess his sport can offer.
That’s not all. With Paul, it never is.
As former head of the player’s union, Paul was credited for helping the NBA restart their season inside the Orlando bubble. He laid down a vision of what players would need to survive in such a restricted environment, from weight rooms to restaurants to entertainment options. He reportedly wept when he reported to the Grand Floridian hotel in Disney World, succumbing to the awe he felt in saving the sport he loves.