There really should be no doubt that Chris Paul is the best point guard in the NBA at this point. Well, at least that's the revisionist opinion many (not all, because some realized this) are pontificating following Paul's triple-double performance in the Hornets' Game 4 win over the Lakers.
Why all the Paul love? Maybe it's because he's a throwback to how point guards used to play, instead of how they currently just slash and jump into people to draw fouls. Maybe it's because he's taking on the Lakers, the league's title favorite and two-time defending champion, with a group of teammates that many non-NBA fans would be hard-pressed to recognize. Maybe it's because he is so small and yet so dominant. Nevertheless, we've learned very clearly that Paul still has plenty left in the tank.
The thing that was so remarkable about Paul's performance in Game 4 is that it wasn't a typical Paul game. He got double-digit rebounds. He didn't seem natural. No, instead, this was Paul stepping out of his usual element to dominate. At the Hive put it best:
Chris Paul's Game 4 was special not because he floated around the floor, untrackable by any defender the opponent could offer. We've seen that. Rather, Chris Paul was imminently guardable last night. It was plainly evident not only during the first half, but also during his exceptional second half. On a trap on the right sideline, he lost the ball out of bounds, off himself. On a double in the left corner, he threw the ball into the hands of two Lakers. Faced with a rotating L.A. defense in the first quarter, he threw the ball directly to Ron Artest for a fastbreak. With help lurking, even the aged Derek Fisher played a few flawless defensive possessions on Paul.
CP3 has surely been more perfect. But on this night, it was his emphatic triumph over an unambiguous fallibility that set his performance apart from all the rest.
If this were Derrick Rose, we'd be talking about how Paul "willed" his team to victory. I can't think of too many performances this year where the term fits better.