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Paul Has Changed His Game

Having watched the Hornets all season, it’s evident that Chris Paul is not the player he was before his knee injury. He’s lost that first step, which was arguably his best weapon. However, he’s improved other aspects of his game to make up for what he’s lost. Three years ago, we constatly referred to Paul as the second coming of Isiah Thomas (the player, not what Isiah has become since his playing days). Now, his play has morphed into the style of another former great. Ryan Schwan of True Hoop has more.

Regardless, it has been an amazing transformation over the course of less than a year. As he’s encountered new limitations, he has shifted his focus to being the best floor general he can be.

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Throughout his career, CP3 has been the subject of a fierce debate regarding who is the better point guard, he or longtime Utah Jazz point man Deron Williams, now plying his trade in Newark. In the 2005 draft, Williams went one spot ahead of Paul, and he holds the better head-to-head record, while Paul has generally put up better overall numbers and been more decorated with leaguewide honors over the years. In this debate, Paul was usually considered the speedy creator who thrived because he was untethered from obligation to run a rigid offensive system, while Williams was often believed to be constrained by Jazz coach Jerry Sloan’s scripted flex offense.

But the script has flipped now. These days, it’s the Utah point guard of yesteryear who comes to mind when I watch Paul play. And while it’s hardly what I expected, the similarities have become striking.

Like Paul, Stockton directed his team’s offensive system almost to a fault, ignoring open shots early in the shot clock to keep trying to generate open shots for his teammates. When fans want CP3 to take the open 3, he’s waiting for power forward David West to pop open for a short jumper — Stockton had Karl Malone in that role.

I highly recommend reading the article in its entirety. Chris Paul has not looked like John Stockton over the last month. While his style has changed to more of Stockton’s game, it has not been up to par over the last month. I admit, I’m very worried about his knee. I admire Chris Paul for changing his game in one year, and still playing like an all-star. However, if the Hornets want to reach new heights, they will need CP3’s knee to heal. Chris Paul as Isiah Thomas 2.0 is better than Chris Paul as John Stockton 0.5.

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