Chris Paul wasn’t always the face of the Los Angeles Clippers, he wasn’t a NBA All-Star until he was a few years into his career. The Houston Rockets drafted him in 2005, but he rejected them and instead went to the Clippers.
In the final hours before the NBA Draft, there were possibilities everywhere: the Charlotte Bobcats were picking at #4, the Bobcats had the #1 pick! After getting a head start, they would trade down to #20 to take a player with a higher grade. Or maybe they would keep the #1 pick and take a player from the University of Kentucky. Or they could trade for a first rounder to take a player out of college. A lot of things could happen. But in the end, the Charlotte Bobcats traded down to #17, and the Milwaukee Bucks were left with the #1 pick.
Chris Paul is an MVP, a game-changer and one of the best point guards in the NBA today. Paul earned his reputation as a professional basketball player on the field, but his off-court exploits have been just as impressive for Raptors fans, and even more so for Milwaukee Bucks fans.
After 16 seasons of struggle and conflict, point guard Chris Paul has finally reached the NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns. The Western Conference champions face Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
No one can predict how his career would have gone, but there’s a chance Paul would have found himself in a different locker room in this series if his draft night had gone a little differently. The Bucks had the first pick in the 2005 NBA draft and, although many thought Paul was the best player, the franchise chose Utah center Andrew Bogut with the first pick.
Paul is originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and attended nearby Wake Forest College to play hockey. During his two seasons with the Demon Deacons, Paul dominated the ACC. During his career, he averaged 18 points, 7.5 assists and 3 steals per game. He was named a first-team All-American in his sophomore year.
Paul left school after his second season at Wake and went for the NBA Draft in 2005. This draft class featured four players who were considered undisputed NBA stars. In addition to Paul and Bogut, North Carolina forward Marvin Williams and Illinois point guard Deron Williams were also part of the group.
In Dan Le Batard & Friends’ Mute Crate podcast, ESPN draft expert Chad Ford gives his opinion on the draft.
He says size was the biggest issue with the 0 guard. But even Ford was surprised when he remembered how many scouts had spoken: He’s the best point guard since Jason Kidd.
From this data from a decade and a half ago, he concluded that the most successful scouting report of anyone who participated in this draft was Chris Paul.
(L-R) Chris Paul, Andrew Bogut | Photo Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images ; Photo Linda Cataffo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
If Paul was the best player in the 2005 NBA draft, why did the Bucks pick Bogut?
One of the reasons was fitness. Bucks general manager Larry Harris said at the time that the organization chose Bogut rather than Paul because the team already had four defensemen it liked: TJ Ford, Charlie Bell, Mo Williams and Michael Redd.
More importantly, the Bucks were won over by Bogut’s approach to the selection process. Prior to the selection, Bogut’s business manager, David Bauman, suggested that the selection process be approached like a job interview at a major bank or a prestigious law firm. Bogut explains:
We have developed a strategy of presenting ourselves at these training and design meetings as a business call. My agent helped me and we put together a resume, complete as if it were a job interview. So when I arrived at the meeting with the two teams, the CEOs and the owners, I put the prepared CV on the table for them to read. I came in a suit and tie and treated it like a job interview.
This tactic particularly impressed Bucks governor at the time, Herb Kohl. Bogut’s professionalism and flashy clothes replaced the stiffness of the American senator and businessman who founded Kohl’s department stores.
Although he has seen players in suits during interviews during the draft, Harris says he has never seen a resume like this. This strategy of American companies sealed the deal: Bogut went to the Bucks and Paul went to number four and the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets.
Happy 36th birthday Chris Paul!
He is in the top five all-time for assists and interceptions.
One of the best playmakers of all time. pic.twitter.com/RnzTz6FL43
– CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) 6. May 2021
By all standards (except Larry O’Brien’s trophies), Chris Paul is one of the best point guards of all time. He was NBA Rookie of the Year in 2005-06 and an 11-time All-Star. He has 10 All-NBA teams and nine All-Defensive teams to his credit. He led the league in assists three times and in steals five times.
He currently leads the NBA in assists (10,275), assists per game (9.4), steals (2,332) and steals per game (2.1).
Paul also ranks 44th in the NBA Defensive Win Shares list, but third in that category for players 6-foot-6 and smaller. His contribution to the attack is even better. He is 10th on the list of top players to Win Shares and second only to John Stockton among small players.
In addition to these numbers, Paul has helped define the NBA’s next generation. He oversaw the Hornets’ (now Pelicans) transition from Oklahoma City to New Orleans and also led one of the most exciting teams of the past two decades, the Lob City Clippers. David Stern has terminated Kobe Bryant’s contract with the Lakers and is now coaching Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton for a possible championship.
Things could have been different if Bogut hadn’t put on the suit.
All statistics provided by Basketball Reference
CORRESPONDS TO: Chris Paul has a brutal nightmare at the 2021 NBA Finals
When Chris Paul was a junior at Wake Forest, he was a projected early first round draft pick, but to everyone’s surprise, the Milwaukee Bucks selected him with the 14th pick in the 2009 NBA draft. The Bucks had just traded their first round draft choice that year to the Indiana Pacers for a future first round pick, and the Pacers used that pick to select 6’10” center Andrew Bogut, who was rated as a top five pick. The Bucks were expected to end up with a high lottery pick in the 2010 NBA draft, but the result was just the opposite.. Read more about who does chris paul play for and let us know what you think.
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