Pundits are paying OKC Thunder captain Chris Paul homage on their All-NBA lists.
With the league electing not to include the eight seeding games when determining individual player awards it’s meant an early hint as to who’ll win. OKC Thunder players are definitely up for some individual hardware and All-NBA team recognition.
To that end, we scanned the recent articles and sure enough, his name is either landing on pundits lists or drawing honorable mention.
This isn’t surprising given the season he’s had. At season start the recency bias narrative had Paul ready to pack up his game and many stated Sam Presti would have to attach copious first-round picks just to get rid of his contract. Turns out that opinion was precipitous as CP3 has shown all year. Not only is he doing the things a quality vet is known for such as his leadership and mentoring. But, he’s proving he’s still a player that shouldn’t be slept on.
He’s clutch time prowess is only challenged by his own teammates. When he sits the other OKC Thunder players don’t perform to the same standard. That is perhaps the greatest argument of his sustained productivity and effect on a club.
With that, let’s take a gander at some of the top-level National writers and who has CP3 on their award lists.
Pundits select Chris Paul for All-NBA team:
Dan Devine of the Ringer puts Chris Paul on the second team
Oklahoma City outscored opponents by 6.7 points-per-100 with CP3 on the floor and got outscored by 6.7 points-per-100 with him off of it—essentially the difference between the competency levels of the Celtics and the Knicks. Which is, y’know, one hell of a difference, and worthy of a second-team slot.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe also gave the nod to Paul on his second team. And although he gave Paul and Kyle Lowry a shoutout defensively he ultimately didn’t make his All-Defensive squad — but let’s remember the two old guys (yup CP3 and Lowry) that made the All-Star fourth quarter exciting this year!
Second team was pretty easy. Paul has a shockingly airtight case considering he averaged eight or 10 points fewer than most candidates.
Those numbers capture Paul’s value as an off-ball shooting threat and ace defender. He was the league’s best crunch-time player, and it was not close. He shot a preposterous 46-of-86 in the last five minutes of close games, and the Thunder were an uber-preposterous plus-109 in 160 such minutes with Paul on the floor.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor also extended CP3 a second-team slot.
Dan Devine also gives Paul Honorable Mention here but doesn’t slot him into either the first or second team. He shouldn’t feel too bad. The Raptors own the second-best defense and didn’t get one of the 10 spots.
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O’Connor also noted Paul in his honorable mentions in his article and just like Devine didn’t put a Raptors player on his two All-Defensive teams.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe listed his top five in the MVP race but shouted out Chris Paul in his honorable mentions.
There were eight leading candidates for five spots: these five, plus Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Davis — with a small gap before another set of reasonable names, including Chris Paul, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and a couple of others.
Although it’s not a guarantee Chris Paul will land on an All-NBA team based on this initial insight it seems likely he’ll make the second or third All-NBA team. His inclusion on one of the All-Defensive teams is less likely.
Not knowing the intimate details of CP3’s contract it could mean he’ll earn some extra money. This because the contracts for stars often include bonuses where they collect money when they make All-Star Games, win awards, or land on All-NBA lists.
What it definitely means is Sam Presti will have lots to work with if and when he decides to move Paul. For those who say Paul is regressing and would need multiple draft picks attached to trade him, I have one question —- How many All-NBA team members do executives need to attach draft picks to trade?
That’s what I thought.