NBA, The NBA's 30 Best Go-To Players / Oct 15, 2009 / 2:24 pm

The NBA’s 30 best go-to players (#9: Chris Paul)

Chris Paul

Who do you want your offense to run through with everything on the line? Counting down 30th to 1st (one per team), I’ve ranked the League’s go-to guys…

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#9: CHRIS PAUL, Hornets

Whether it’s the Western Conference standings, fantasy drafts, NBA Drafts — really everything but the realm of media hype and endorsement deals — Chris Paul is never too far away from Deron Williams. On this list, CP3 sits one spot ahead of D-Will for a trio of reasons:

(1) Shot selection — Neither is a great three-point shooter, but Paul was better last season, hitting 36.4% beyond the arc compared to 31% for Williams. Some chalk that up to CP taking significantly fewer threes (176 to 226); I give him credit for recognizing where his game isn’t strongest and exercising discretion. Paul actually takes more field goals on average (16 per game to 14), he just takes better shots and makes them more consistently. Not to mention, CP’s three-point percentages stayed consistent in clutch time, where he knocked down 37%, while Deron’s dropped to 23% in the same scenario. Small margins for the most part, but these things add up.

(2) Ball security — All respect to Jamal Crawford, but CP and D-Will are the two slickest ball-handlers in the League. Paul is just slightly better protecting the rock, turning it over 3.0 times per game last season versus 3.4 for Williams. You won’t see either of them getting picked clean, but Deron is more likely to throw a bad pass in a big situation or try to force something that isn’t there. Taking a page from the Steve Nash blueprint, Paul has become extremely adept at maintaining his dribble when most would pick it up, allowing him more options and avoiding turnovers. A go-to point guard has the ball in his hands 90 percent of the time down the stretch; not wasting any possessions is crucial.

(3) Circumstantial evidence — However you choose to judge it, CP has a larger load to carry in New Orleans. David West is an All-Star who will stick a game-winner when given the chance, but a large percentage of West’s buckets come off wide-open jumpers created by CP’s drives that draw the defense in his direction. When Tyson Chandler was with the Hornets, he had no offense if it wasn’t for CP setting him up with lobs. Peja Stojakovic is an effective scorer, but mainly a spot-up shooter who also capitalizes off CP’s playmaking ability. This year’s Hornets have Emeka Okafor in for Chandler, who can do a few more things on his own offensively, but with major questions at two-guard and unproven Julian Wright taking over at the three, Paul will again have a lot on his shoulders. Simply getting this group to the playoffs in the West is about as much an accomplishment as Deron’s Jazz advancing one round.

So that’s enough for me to give CP rank ahead of D-Will, but what exactly makes him an elite go-to guy? Simply put, he does just about everything a point guard can be expected to do when his team is in trouble or needs to settle down and hold off a rallying opponent. On top of the handful of game-winners CP hit last year on his own or assisted, or the games he won with his defense, he’s also become known for going on one-man runs of seven, eight, 10 points in a row in the fourth quarter to get the Hornets back in a game or put a close game out of reach.

After sticking a game-winning three to beat the buzzer against Indiana on MLK Day, Hornets coach Byron Scott recalled the exchange after Danny Granger had hit the game-tying three to set it up:

“As soon as Granger hit that shot, Chris came up to me and said, ‘Coach, give me the ball,'” Scott told reporters. “Chris is a great player, and as they say, great players make great plays.”

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10. Deron Williams
11. Vince Carter
12. Joe Johnson
13. Danny Granger
14. Steve Nash
15. Kevin Durant
16. Gilbert Arenas
17. Derrick Rose
18. Chris Bosh
19. Andre Iguodala
20. Tracy McGrady
21. Baron Davis
22. Michael Redd
23. Devin Harris
24. Kevin Martin
25. Al Jefferson
26. O.J. Mayo
27. Stephen Jackson
28. Nate Robinson
29. Boris Diaw
30. Rip Hamilton

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  • K Dizzle

    One spot up from DWill? You know you about to start somethin….You know this lol

  • jau rich

    i dont think this is right cp3 should b top 5…in crunch time he dont make mistakes at all

  • dial up

    LOL Funny considering that the Dwill dominates him in pretty much every matchup. Chris paul got lil man syndrome, and gets killed by big strong guards. I would love to see hornets against jazz in the playoffs, as this debate would be over. Dwill would take the hornets out 4-0. is this even a debate??

  • jau rich

    dial up

    he really doesnt dominate they acually kill each other…they bith have shitty nights but they jus pass the ball and rack up assist


    Jerry Sloan is holding D-Will back. Un-leash him, Jerry.
    CP3 is flashy while D-Will is more substance. D-Will vertical is underrated.

    The only thing that bugs me is, D-Will always starts the season slow!

    PS — Utah needs a SG, last reliable one was Jeff Hornacek.

  • doc

    I dont know of 8 go tos better than him or D Will,but we’ll see.

  • doc

    I know if AB put Parker ahead of Timmy Im done with this site.

  • K Dizzle

    Yeah, dial up. It is a debate….that’s why we talkin bout it.

    This list been up and down, but there is no way there are 8 players in the WORLD, nuch less the nba more go-to than Chris Paul. Kobe, Wade, Duncan, Bron(and I’m bein nice that he’s more go to than CP3) and maybe the Chauncey/Melo hybrid. And he at least on par with all those guys except Kobe, Duncan and DWade

  • jayslay


    at this point in there career parker is better

  • KenAdams

    @jau rich

    Actually no, D-Will dominates Paul. Go check out the win/loss ratio and #’s. Deron is the man. He had a bad ankle last year and with Boozer, Okur, and AK all missing big chunks of the year…. again….. D-Will had to do more. Luckly Brewer had a good year and so did Millsap.

  • doc

    @jayslay-I dont believe that.Let me see him carry a team to the playoffs first.They already did.And if they played with Tim and Manu……All I know is when Tim was down TP got 1 game againts a old ass J Kidd and so called soft Dirk.Who CP handled in 5 the year before as the star.So…..AB if Tony on here over Tim Im done.

  • kevin k

    D-Will > CP3. Look at their h2h match ups. Deron can actually carry his team by scoring when his teammates are struggling, something that CP3 have really hard time doing.

    Deron hasn’t made the all-star team yet which is a crime.

  • rp from surrey


  • RonNation

    The only thing Chauncey is best at is lookin like a rat.

  • TJ

    Its a crime that they are going to put Paul Pierce above CP3. I really like PP, but come on….

  • TJ

    Same thing with Dirk. He’s a chump.

  • hooper5013

    Deron is better at scoring definitely. His handle is unmatched. And he has the ability to shoot the ball off of any bounce which is just a ridiculous quality to have and it makes his shot nearly impossible to block off the dribble..he stronger and better finisher and a better break down penetrator…lets be real what does Chris Paul do better than Deron besides get steals?

  • TJ

    Same with BRoy too. I know you love him AB because of the Seattle thing, but he isn’t as good as CP3.

  • K Dizzle

    @ “Deron can actually carry his team by scoring when his teammates are struggling, something that CP3 have really hard time doing.”

    Really? So the fact that CP3 averaged more points, more rebounds, more assists, more steals, LESS turnovers, shot higher from the field, 3 point line and the free throw line means absolutely nothing to Deron slurpers?

    I like DWill as a player and he’s a great example of the fact that gettin voted to an all star game means jack, but this CP3 bashin is becomin comedy. If DWade wasn’t puttin up ridiculous numbers and Kobe and Bron weren’t goin game for game in the standings and the best player title, heads would have noticed that a barely 6 foot guard is puttin up 22, 11, 5, 2 on 50% shootin and gettin to the playoffs on a busted wheel, with West with a bad back, Peja just useless, Peterson hurt and Chandler hurt. U thinks Denver busts on em that bad if at least 3 starters are healthy?
    Dwill is great, CP just better

  • TJ


    CP scores more and if more efficient. I’m going to go the other way, what the hell does Williams do better? People say he’s a better shooter, but he isn’t.

  • That’s whats up


    FUCK CP3

  • doc

    I feel that K Dizz.CP# is the best PG.And I aint knocking Tony before AB and IAn come on here.I just recognize that the 5th or 6th best player of all time plays with him and boosted his career as far as winning tremendously.

  • doc

    @thats whats up-at least u consistent,but u better not like Jordan or Bird or Stockton or Malone either.

  • RonNation

    dwill was injured for about half his games last year so take those stats with a grain of salt

  • RonNation

    in Deron’s last healthy season 07/08 he had a higher fg and 3pt fg % than cp3 has ever had. kthx

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    in head to head their stats come out like this:

    CP is better in ft%, ft attempts, less turn overs, more steals

    DW is better in fg%, points and wins

    They are the same in rebounds and blocks

    In non-head to head CP3 is better.

  • Ian

    who cares really if u are done because u dont like parker. i dont know if its parker the go to guy hell i could be manu even but one thing is for sure parker goes ahead of deron and paul everyday for a playoff game.


    a few of the pgs parker has beaten in the playoffs and guess what none of them have gotten him.

    yup u r right paul took out the mavs with a full roster parker played with a limp timmy and 3 dudes that forgot how to shoot and u want him to beat a full team? what happened when the spurs and hornets played the next round? forgot that right? what about when both manu and td were out did u watch those games? parker destroyed everyone. deron better?? let me know when the coaches pick him for an allstar game and comparing him to a 3 time champ and finals mvp.

  • nosmelone

    I’m so glad that we have the cp3 vs D-Will arguement going. I’m a D-Will fan for sure and think he is better all around but Cp3 is amazing too. I hope this debate is never settled. These are the kind of matchups that the NBA needs more of.

  • Tom14

    Tony Parker is a top5 go-to player in the nba, no-brainer!
    I’m not saying he is a better averall pllayer tha CP or Deron, but in this specific situation (go-to guy, scoring at willwhen needed, clutchness…) TP9 is one of the best!
    These last 3 years, he kept his FT% above 50%!!!!
    He is the only PG/guard who can do that…

  • heartbreaker85

    i saw this one time with the game on the line and dwill just took it to the rim and dunked on a fool. no threes, no pretty js, just old school, in-your-face bitch typa dunk.

    cp3 would probably use his forearm to create space first. dwill just gonna mow yo ass down.

  • knock knck

    Cp3 gets his numbers like lebron does. They are the sole facilitator of the ball. His 2 steals don’t show he’s a really bad defender. Who else can explain why chaucey abuses him, tony p abuses him, and dwil kills him pretty much every time.

  • that’s whats up


    …all he does is push-off, dribble over his head and whine like a little bitch

    FUCK CP3

  • don cannon

    lol im starting to think these cp3 bashers are nba pgs mad cause chris just busts there ass and his the best pg in the league….this is so sad the hate cause you guys are missin one of the best in our generation and every true pg knows chris paul is the best and the list goes:
    devin harris

  • don cannon

    i meant tp 9 and devin harris

  • That’s whats up

    TP9 – then Tony?

    Devin harris?? are you fucking kidding me????

    go back to suckin’ CP3’S shaft don cannon