Wade: Chris Paul Has No Weaknesses
TORONTO – If Chris Paul’s competing, at anything, he wants to win.
That competitiveness stays with Paul everywhere he goes, and it’s a trait Paul said he’s always had as a younger brother, playing with his older brother in the backyard. Whether Paul’s guiding the Clippers on the court, participating in an All-Star Game or taking part in Dwyane Wade’s spades tournament, as he did during All-Star Weekend, he’s not taking it lightly.
Paul, by the way, won the tournament with his mother.
“I didn’t play with my wife, because my wife’s not competitive,” Paul said with a grin. “She doesn’t care who wins.”
Paul loves his family more than anything, but he doesn’t hide his competitiveness. It’s part of what makes him the leader he is, and the best guards around the league recognize that fire.
“He has no weaknesses,” said Wade, one of Paul’s best friends at All-Star Weekend. “His only weakness is he’s short, and that ain’t a weakness, because he’s feisty. He’s everywhere on the floor.”
Wade clarified that Paul’s not short, just “shorter.” Regardless, Wade said it doesn’t matter.
“Chris is one of the biggest competitors this game has ever seen,” Wade said. “He’s a great leader, obviously everyone knows that, but the guy has no weaknesses on the basketball floor. He can do everything.”
Wade then referenced what the Clippers have done with Blake Griffin down. The Clippers went 18-5 before the All-Star break when their star forward went down, and Paul took his game to another level, averaging 21.1 points, 10.4 assists and 2.3 steals per game in January and 23.8 points, 8.2 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game thus far in February.
Even in the Clippers’ overtime loss in Boston, their final game before the break, Paul posted 35 points, 13 assists, five rebounds and three steals.
“You look at his team without Blake, see the things they’re able to accomplish,” Wade said. “Obviously his teammates have stepped up in his absence, but Chris has a lot to do with that.”
Wade knows what it’s like to be one of the few veteran guards to go to the All-Star Game year after year in a league with an increasing number of young, athletic, scoring point guards changing the way people view the backcourt positions.
That’s part of what makes the work of Paul, who was named an All-Star for the ninth straight time, impressive to his fellow All-Stars.
“The way that the league is going now with all the athletic point guards and the non-traditional point guards, and for him to still kind of be at the top of the game, being that traditional point guard, it says a lot about him,” Anthony said.
John Wall said much of the same.
“Some people can make it once, twice, then fall off,” Wall said. “But he can make it consecutive years. It means you’re doing something big in this league.”
It’s a funny feeling for Paul being the veteran point guard at All-Star weekend now.
Apart from Bryant, Paul’s the only guard on the Western Conference side with at least six All-Star selections. He has four more All-Star appearances than Russell Westbrook, who’s the next closest guard with five.
“You get to know what to expect,” Paul said. “Isaiah Thomas, who plays for Boston, I’m actually pretty close with Isaiah. I saw him coming into the team meeting. It was cool to see him coming in there for the first time, because I remember that.”
Looking around and seeing veteran leaders such as Paul in the same All-Star Game as him, Thomas – who attended Paul’s camps growing up – will likely remember it even more.
“He’s somebody that I think is one of the best point guards in the world and somebody I look up to,” Thomas said. “He’s probably the most competitive guy you’ll ever meet.
“I always say he’s a guy you hate playing against, because he’ll do anything it takes to win – but he’s probably the first guy you’d pick on your team, because he wants to win no matter what, no matter if it’s against his parents or anybody. He wants to win, and you’ve got to love that about a guy.”