2021 NBA Playoffs Gamethread

Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
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I don't really have a strong CP3 take. It seems like NBA talking heads and social media are divided in-between "CP3 is the Point God and he needs to win this title" and "CP3 is a dirt player/big choker is about to blow it again." I think he actually played pretty well in the last game, especially if you believe he is hurt. I think some people have really felt like Paul hasn't gotten his due as elite all-time great NBA player over the years and a chance to win a title would be thankful affirmation of his all-time great status. For Paul haters, it would be entertaining I guess to see him fail again in the postseason, even if he objectively played really well in the Finals.

I think if CP3 wins a title he probably clearly vaults over Nash and Stockton in the all-time PG pantheon (some fans will argue that he is already clear of them) because he'll have a ring and they did not. I don't know, I kind of just think CP3 has always been great and doesn't need a ring as much as some other guys to validate his status. At this point in his career its unlikely he is going to win 3-4 rings and really vault himself into the pantheon.
 

pjheff

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Jan 4, 2003
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I think if CP3 wins a title he probably clearly vaults over Nash and Stockton in the all-time PG pantheon (some fans will argue that he is already clear of them)
Do people think that CP3 is clear of them, and if so, why?
 

Tony C

Dope
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Apr 13, 2000
13,195
I don't really have a strong CP3 take. It seems like NBA talking heads and social media are divided in-between "CP3 is the Point God and he needs to win this title" and "CP3 is a dirt player/big choker is about to blow it again." I think he actually played pretty well in the last game, especially if you believe he is hurt. I think some people have really felt like Paul hasn't gotten his due as elite all-time great NBA player over the years and a chance to win a title would be thankful affirmation of his all-time great status. For Paul haters, it would be entertaining I guess to see him fail again in the postseason, even if he objectively played really well in the Finals.

I think if CP3 wins a title he probably clearly vaults over Nash and Stockton in the all-time PG pantheon (some fans will argue that he is already clear of them) because he'll have a ring and they did not. I don't know, I kind of just think CP3 has always been great and doesn't need a ring as much as some other guys to validate his status. At this point in his career its unlikely he is going to win 3-4 rings and really vault himself into the pantheon.
I can't really disagree with any of that, but probably shade a bit into the hater camp given that I do think he deliberately tries to hurt other players.

I generally think the "didn't win a championship/can't be in the Pantheon" take is nonsense. Barkley was great even if his teams weren't -- his rep shouldn't be tainted by a failure to win a championship. But, to contradict that just a bit, in Paul's case I might give just a bit more weight to the championship failure, for two reasons: 1) yes, the timing of his injuries has been in good part simple bad luck. That said, the saw that "health is a talent" is apt and he hasn't shown that talent, even if some of that is about random timing. 2) except for a few stand-out games during this playoff run, he really hasn't played that well. Frankly, he was largely responsible for the Clippers almost winning their series w/ the Suns (until, of course, he played a great game to close them out -- not saying he has totally sucked). And that's not just during this playoff run -- I saw a lot of him with the Clippers during their years in the playoffs and he did fall short at key moments. Taking those 2 points into account, I think CP3 is a different case than most great player/bad team cases. It is the biggest stage and he has failed repeatedly, due both to injury and to playing at less than his peak.

In short: If he closes out this series the same he closed out the Suns vs Clippers series, I have no problem with putting CP3 in the pantheon. Even if I think he's a dirty, cheap player...he's still frigging fantastic and he will have shown that at least once on the biggest stage. If the Suns lose and he's part of that by playing tentatively and slowing down the Suns as he did vs the Lakers and Clippers -- and as he often did when he was with the Clippers -- I think it'd be fair to say that's a flaw that smudges his overall greatness. I do think the guy has a character flaw that comes up in everything from hitting the guy in the nuts during his college years to the dumb and dangerous push on Giannis at the end of the last game to, at times, not playing his best during the playoffs.

I fully cop to the fact that that take might be influenced by a bit of hater bias.
 

Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
19,284
I can't really disagree with any of that, but probably shade a bit into the hater camp given that I do think he deliberately tries to hurt other players.

I generally think the "didn't win a championship/can't be in the Pantheon" take is nonsense. Barkley was great even if his teams weren't -- his rep shouldn't be tainted by a failure to win a championship. But, to contradict that just a bit, in Paul's case I might give just a bit more weight to the championship failure, for two reasons: 1) yes, the timing of his injuries has been in good part simple bad luck. That said, the saw that "health is a talent" is apt and he hasn't shown that talent, even if some of that is about random timing. 2) except for a few stand-out games during this playoff run, he really hasn't played that well. Frankly, he was largely responsible for the Clippers almost winning their series w/ the Suns (until, of course, he played a great game to close them out -- not saying he has totally sucked). And that's not just during this playoff run -- I saw a lot of him with the Clippers during their years in the playoffs and he did fall short at key moments. Taking those 2 points into account, I think CP3 is a different case than most great player/bad team cases. It is the biggest stage and he has failed repeatedly, due both to injury and to playing at less than his peak.

In short: If he closes out this series the same he closed out the Suns vs Clippers series, I have no problem with putting CP3 in the pantheon. Even if I think he's a dirty, cheap player...he's still frigging fantastic and he will have shown that at least once on the biggest stage. If the Suns lose and he's part of that by playing tentatively and slowing down the Suns as he did vs the Lakers and Clippers -- and as he often did when he was with the Clippers -- I think it'd be fair to say that's a flaw that smudges his overall greatness. I do think the guy has a character flaw that comes up in everything from hitting the guy in the nuts during his college years to the dumb and dangerous push on Giannis at the end of the last game to, at times, not playing his best during the playoffs.

I fully cop to the fact that that take might be influenced by a bit of hater bias.
Not disparaging any of your points, but any player you can kind of point to parts of the career where they didn't get it done and it cost them a ring, and with ringlets HoF players it's really easy to focus on that. Barkley, to use your example, was often out of shape and also had some playoff series where he took a lot of selfish shots.
 

Euclis20

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Aug 3, 2004
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Wait, is Nash in the pantheon of greatest point guards? Steve Nash?

I have him behind Payton.
I'always thought of him as a bit overrated, but the list of point guards with multiple MVPs (unless I'm forgetting someone it's just Magic, Curry and Nash) is pretty slim, plus the game changing legacy of the 7 seconds or less Suns. He's not in the upper tier with Magic and Curry, but I think it's fair to have him on the same level as Stockton and CP3.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Mar 26, 2005
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I think he actually played pretty well in the last game, especially if you believe he is hurt.
I haven't finished the game yet but from what I'm seeing, CP3 is playing pretty well but Jrue is a problem for him.

I'm posting this because on the Ringer podcast, they started talking about guard defense and that maybe people don't understand how important it is in playoff basketball. I'm bringing this up because we talked a bit about how NBA scorers are so good that it makes immobile big men a liability in the playoffs but the corollary to this is that teams really need to have multiple players who can make it more difficult on the scorers otherwise a team can't get stops when it needs to.

Which is why I'm glad Kemba isn't with the Cs anymore.
 

Ale Xander

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Oct 31, 2013
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I'always thought of him as a bit overrated, but the list of point guards with multiple MVPs (unless I'm forgetting someone it's just Magic, Curry and Nash) is pretty slim, plus the game changing legacy of the 7 seconds or less Suns. He's not in the upper tier with Magic and Curry, but I think it's fair to have him on the same level as Stockton and CP3.
I don't think CP3 is on Stockton's level.
 

Euclis20

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Aug 3, 2004
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I don't think CP3 is on Stockton's level.
Do you mean that Paul is a level above Stockton, or the other way around? Unless extreme durability is the most important thing (and it's not nothing), Paul has a sizable edge:

-Stockton has 1 more all-NBA appearance, but Paul has twice as many 1st team appearances (and it wouldn't be surprising if Paul is back on the team more than once in the future)
-Paul has a huge edge in all-defense (9 including 7 1st team to 5, all 2nd team)
-Neither has an MVP, but Stockton hasn't even come close. His best was 7th in 1989, Paul has finished 7th or better 9 times.
-Some may think Karl Malone is overrated, but regardless he's miles beyond any of Paul's teammates, other than 2 years spent near the end of his career with Harden. Other than his time in Houston and maybe this year, Paul has been the best player on his team every single season. Stockton was literally never the best player on his own team.

Stockton is the Cal Ripken of the NBA (he missed just 22 games total his whole career and played the full schedule 17/19 times) making his career assists and steals records close to unbreakable, but Paul will be 3rd in career assists by this time next year with a shot at 2nd before he retires, and is currently 5th in steals with a reasonable shot to move up as well. He can't match Stockton's career totals but he's in the ballpark, and season to season he was definitely a better player. This is without getting into the assist inflation Stockton benefited from, ignoring the fact that Paul's career isn't over and he's still got a shot at a ring (this year or in the future), and that Paul is an infinitely more talented scorer (he's played more than 400 fewer games but already has more points that Stockton).
 

Kliq

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Do people think that CP3 is clear of them, and if so, why?
I think its up for debate. Nash has two MVPs and also his playing style in Phoenix arguably revolutionized basketball. CP3 basically gives you the same playmaking of Nash, while also being a way better defender. Nash is a better shooter, but Paul was more aggressive when it came to getting his own shot and could score 30 points if he had too.

Stockton is defined by his longevity; Paul pretty clearly had a better peak and I think he is closing the gap on longevity, and Paul was a significantly more aggressive scorer than Stockton (Stockton though, unlike Nash, was a great defender). With both guys I think it is close, but if Paul wins a championship I think that puts him clearly ahead of those guys. Jason Kidd is also probably in the conversation.

The greatest point guards in NBA history are, in some order, Magic, Oscar, Curry and Isiah Thomas. If Paul gets a ring maybe he moves level with Isiah, although its tough to compare their careers despite them being pretty similar players. He isn't getting close to the other three without multiple rings, imo.

What Paul's legacy should be is that he was the most complete modern PG in the history of the game. He can do everything you would want a PG to do and do it an an elite or near-elite level. He can distribute, create his own shot, score inside, shoot threes, play lockdown defense and was a leader and alpha dog on and off the court. Curry and Magic are superior players but they both had flaws (defense) that Paul does not. The only other PG in NBA history that I think really checks all the boxes is Oscar.
 

JCizzle

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Dec 11, 2006
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Perk on the pregame discussing CP3’s struggles: Jrue is telling CP3 “I don’t want State Farm insurance, I have Liberty Mutual!”
 

HomeRunBaker

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Jan 15, 2004
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Chris Paul has really sucked on the road in this series. Right now that’s the difference in this series.