NBA point guards usually don’t have the longest primes, with longevity difficult to obtain in a league dominated by elite, athletic players at the position.
But in his 15th season, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul is showing that he can still hoop. Paul, 34, has suffered different injuries throughout his career. Still, Paul hasn’t relied much on his athleticism or quickness in his career. He is having success because of the depth of his skill set.
As one of the craftiest guards ever, Paul has weaved through the seams of defenses during his career by using his good ball handling skills. With the help of his quality court vision, Paul is also one of the best passers ever.
He recently showed he can still contribute to a team in a quality performance against the Chicago Bulls. Paul scored 19 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and led the Thunder in their comeback win. Paul hit six 3-pointers, with five of them coming in the fourth. This season Paul has scored 20-plus points nine times; he’s averaging 16.2 points per game.
A premier floor general, Paul has always been able to pick apart defenses and set up his teammates. The ability to be a playmaker makes him arguably the best point guard of his generation and one of the best ever.
Per Basketball Reference, Paul ranks first among active players for total assists, and he’s ranked seventh among the league’s all-time assist leaders.
This season has been no different for Paul when it comes to being a good distributor. He ranks first on the Thunder in assists per game (6.3). Along with his playmaking, Paul has also put up good shooting numbers. He is shooting 46.6% from the field and 38.1% from the 3-point line; he ranks in the top five for each category on the Thunder.
With his high basketball IQ and NBA experience, Paul has helped OKC be in playoff contention. At 12-14, the Thunder are in seventh place in the Western Conference.
Paul has long been a name mentioned in trade rumors. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported on the “Woj and Lowe Show” that “there’s no belief in Oklahoma City or even in the [Paul] camp, that there’s going to be a trade for him.”
Paul has a large contract, and he’s owed more than $41 million for the 2020-21 season. Paul has a player option worth $44.2 million in 2021-22. That’s a big contract to move, and it would take finding the right team to work with when it comes to taking on that kind of salary.
For now, though, Paul is playing good basketball. He’s showing opposing teams — and potential trade suitors — that he can still produce. With the Thunder under his leadership, they have a good chance at remaining in playoff contention. And if they do make the playoffs, that would only bolster Paul’s trade value.