Why Chris Paul should be named MVP

By: Dan Stern

Chris Paul has lead the Clippers to their best season in team history. (NBAE/Getty)

Chris Paul has lead the Clippers to their best season in team history. (NBAE/Getty)

Watch out LeBron—there’s a new rising king in the NBA, and his name is CP3.

Not only Is Chris Paul the face of a revitalized, first place Clippers team with the best record in the NBA, but he is also making a strong case to be called the best player in the NBA.  He’s poised to lead his Clippers squad to a first place finish in the Pacific— something the franchise has never done since entering the league as the Buffalo Braves in 1970.

Currently, CP3 is having one of his best and most productive seasons in his eighth year in the NBA.  He stands as the NBA’s leader in steals per game with 2.6, and is second in the league with 9.3 assists per game, only trailing Boston’s Rajon Rondo.

Paul has also proven clutch at the free throw line, hitting a career-best .899 percent of his free throws including hitting four clutch shots from the line in a statement victory over the rival Lakers in a matchup on January 4. Paul’s ability to make every single one of his teammates better, as well as his clutch performances late in the fourth quarter, have allowed Clippers’ coach Vinny Del Negro to instill a lot of confidence in his point guard, ensuring that Paul has the ball in his hands at key moments in games.

Even though CP3’s minutes per game total is at the lowest of his career, his efficiency when he’s on the court has allowed him to shoot to the front of the MVP candidate pack.  His Win Shares per 48 minutes, a metric used to estimate the number of wins a player contributes to his team per 48 minutes, is tops in the NBA at .285 (league average is .100).  Paul’s defense has also greatly improved, racking up his best career steal percentage of 4.1 percent, which has helped the Clippers to keep their opponents to an average of 93.1 points per night, good for 4th in the league.

While LeBron puts up more points and has a higher player efficiency rating than CP3, no one contributes more to the success of their team than Chris Paul.  He is having a career-year while establishing himself as the leader of the new best team in the NBA.  If he can continue to help the Clippers win and bring them deep into the playoffs, he has a strong shot to steal the MVP from the reigning regular season and NBA Finals MVP.

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