OKC Thunder Report Card as team enters stretch

JANUARY 7: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder looks on during the game (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
JANUARY 7: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder looks on during the game (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
3 of 9
OKC Thunder
JANUARY 06: Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder shoots the ball against the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

A+. . PG. Oklahoma City Thunder. CHRIS PAUL

The Veteran Point God:

The savvy veteran arrived via a trade for Russell Westbrook and his contract was considered so atrocious the Rockets needed to add picks

Veteran Chris Paul is experiencing a renaissance of sorts in OKC and reminding fans everywhere in the NBA why he was once called the Point God. In truth, it’s more logical to say he fits the Thunder system better.

What can’t be ignored is how valuable his leadership is. Paul was often referred to as the toughest guy on the court as well as the best leader in the sport and through the midseason has rewritten his own narrative.

Hey, consider if Andre Iguodala had taken the same professional approach CP3 has in OKC and imagine how many more games the Grizzlies could’ve shifted into the win column and where they might be sitting on the ladder today if he had! (food for thought).

Through 55 games Paul is averaging 17.4 points, 6.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.6 steals. His shooting line is 48.5 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from deep and 89.8 percent from the stripe. So much for the veteran losing a step.

Chris Paul moxy tops 5 takeaways from 2020 NBA All-Star Game. light. Related Story

Yet, the true value of Chris Paul permeates throughout the club in terms of the effect he’s had on the demeanor of the team.

While the team displays his toughness and grit it is his calmness particularly in the clutch that resonates the most.

Although it was anticipated his protege Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would take a step this season there are areas of the duo’s game where you can specifically see Paul’s effect on SGA. It’s almost like SGA is a mini-me version (though much lengthier) of CP3.

Even more profound is the effect he’s had on Dennis Schroder. In prior seasons the emotional reserve point guard seemed so intent of missing out that it came at the detriment of the team. Somehow CP3 has instilled confidence and more importantly patience in the German which has become much more evident as the season has progressed.

At season start pundits wondered how Sam Presti would ever purge the Thunder of CP3’s contract and how many draft picks he’d have to attach. Flash forward to the midseason and not only is Paul looking like a very wise investment in team development but any team who wants to pry him away from the Thunder this offseason or in the future will have to pay through the nose to get him!