Monster of the Midrange — Don’t Sleep on Chris Paul’s Deadly Elbow Jumper

Kirk Goldsberry, writing for Grantland:

Paul isn’t just good at creating his own midrange buckets; he’s the best at it. To fully appreciate Chris Paul in 2015, you have to consider not only his Hall of Fame–worthy playmaking skills and defense, but the greatness of his less-heralded jump shot. It’s time to herald this shit, you guys.

It’s been a decade since the league legislated handchecking out of existence, and now guys like Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Stephen Curry effortlessly blend driving, scoring, and playmaking in ways that would’ve been impossible in the Jordan era. But with all due respect to those ascendant young bucks reinventing the position, in March 2015 it’s still easy to argue that Paul is the best point guard on the planet.

These are just a few quotes from Kirk Goldsberry’s article. What these quotes don’t show you, though, is all the stats and selected highlights to back up the argument. You’ll have to follow the link to see those, and they’re outstanding.

No matter how you slice it, Paul is having a phenomenal year. He’s getting assists like Magic, draining midrange jumpers like Dirk, getting steals like Gary Payton, and he’s not even mentioned in most MVP conversations.

Among the pantheon of contemporary NBA superstars, the one tie that binds much of the league’s brightest talents together is an uncommon blend of size, athleticism, and basketball talent. LeBron is built like a tight end but can pass and handle like a much smaller player. Russell Westbrook looks like a running back but can jump out of the gym. Anthony Davis, well, he’s just a monster with a wet jumper. And then there’s Chris Paul, who’s equally as good, despite being shaped and sized like a relatively normal person.

Nobody blends playmaking, scoring, and defense as effectively as he does, and nowhere on the court is that work more evident than around the elbows. Paul won’t win the MVP this season, but that’s fine. He’s still the MVPG.

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