Sorry, national media. Someone has to say it. Superstar point guard Chris Paul isn’t in Tony Parker’s league. Never has been. Never will be. And, Sunday’s disastrous game is the final nail in the coffin for any argument in favor of CP3.
Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns were embarrassed at home Sunday night – down at one point by more than 40 to the Dallas Mavericks. CP3 disappeared. He averaged 23.5 points in the first two games of the series, but only 9.4 points the next five games. Paul averaged only 6 assists for the entire series, almost five fewer than what he averaged during the regular season.
This is what Chris Paul does. He either gets hurt, get sick, or simply gets old during the playoffs. He does it almost every year. This is the *4th straight* Game 7 loss Chris Paul has been a part of. Yet, somehow, people revere CP3 as a legend.
Last week, ESPN debated the greatest point guards in NBA history. The anchors and former players listed Magic Johnson at number one. I have no problem with that. At number two, they listed Chris Paul – ahead of Oscar Robertson, Steph Curry, John Stockton, Steve Nash, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. Not one second of the conversation was devoted to Spurs great – and 4-time NBA Champion – Tony Parker.
I’m not a mathematician, so double check my math. The Big O has one championship ring (1971). Curry has three (2015, 2017, 2018). CP3, Stockton, Nash, Harden, and Westbrook have combined for… (double checks notes) ZERO championships! None. Nada. Zilch. That means, as of now, Tony Parker has the same amount of hardware as seven of the all-time greats combined!
The most underrated Spur of all-time is not Tim Duncan… it’s Tony Parker! 4-time Champion. Finals MVP. 6-time All Star. Not bad for someone who was drafted 28th in the first round back in June 2001. I believe that if Parker had won four championships in a large media market like Los Angeles, New York or Chicago he would be considered a legend. With a statue. But, that didn’t happen. Dude didn’t even get included in the NBA’s Top 75 greatest players list earlier this year. Are you freaking kidding me???
The knock against Parker is that his stats do not match the other great point guards. Parker is 19th all-time in assists with 7,036. Chris Paul has nearly five thousand more. Another knock is that Parker played with two other Hall of Famers – Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. I find this puzzling considering Magic played with Kareem Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy. Steph Curry plays with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green (and Kevin Durant for two of the rings).
I guess what I’m trying to say is… who really cares about regular season stats? They don’t really matter when it comes to greatness. Dallas Cowboys fans, don’t get pissed at me, but Tony Parker reminds me of Troy Aikman. The Cowboys’ great was only a decent regular season quarterback (no lie, look at the stats). But, in the playoffs, Troy was magical. A leader. The perfect quarterback for the perfect system. Because of that, Troy is an all-time great worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Just like Aikman, Parker raised his game to a higher level in the post season. Tony averaged 15.5 points for his career in the regular season. That increased to nearly 18 points in the playoffs… and 24.5 points in the 2007 NBA Finals where he earned Finals MVP honors.
June is when legends are made in the NBA. Stockton can have his career assist record. Nash can have his back-to-back MVP awards. CP3 can keep his State Farm commercials. None of that matters. I bet all of those “greats” would trade their careers for Tony Parker’s career in a heartbeat. Proof that Tony’s career was legendary. I hope the national media finally understands this fact next year, when Parker is inducted as a first ballot Hall of Famer.