If a game show contestant was asked to name the best point guard in the NBA, his response would be in the neighborhood of, “Can you use that in a sentence?” A few weeks ago, the answer to that question was simple — Chris Paul, point guard of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Over the years, the Brooklyn Nets‘ Deron Williams proved that erratic play can be habitual. The Boston Celtics‘ Rajon Rhondo is still learning to shoot and currently injured, and the electric Oklahoma City Thunder sidekick Russell Westbrook is not a point guard, despite what the program reads.
While the league’s top point guards lead the 2012-13 NBA’s mash unit, Paul was leading the Clippers to 56 wins and a division title. If there was ever any question as to where Paul ranked among his peers, the franchise made it clear with the $107 million they invested to retain to NBA assist leader. But the foregone conclusion was interrupted by a reported 42 inch vertical out of Chicago.
The 2010 league MVP, Derrick Rose, is back on the floor, jumping off his left and undefeated in this preseason. The Chicago Bulls star looks like the beast he was before he spent the entire 2012-13 season limping, rehabbing and a cheerleader in designer suites. He’s shooting .500 from behind the arc, initiating contact, and getting the better end of it.
Rose was cleared to play late last regular season, but he opted to remain business casual. Rose’s return went from the leagues most anticipated to all but forgotten. And while Paul was cashing checks, winning elections, and hiring future Hall of Fame coaches, attention deficit NBA fans were debating whether the Portaland Trailblazers‘ Damien Lillard or the Cleveland Caveliers‘ Kyrie Irvin would be the next must see floor leader in the league.
Even with the reincarnation of Rose, Paul’s genius appears to be without limitations, that is until Rose splits defenders, crosses over another, and punches one home on some guy that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a sequence Rose made regularly pre-injury and reiterated just last week. Adrenaline or luck maybe, but some like to call it the “remix.” Bulls fans are calling for a recount.