Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, and Chris Webber, I was ready to rip you. I was gonna rip you good. In the first half of last night's game - I call it The Iceberg Game* - all three of you were going on about how Chris Paul was the best point guard in the NBA. Seriously. This happened.
Look, I think all three of these guys are good on TV. (Okay, Harlan and CWebb are good). And TNT generally treats the Spurs better than most of the big-time sports media does. And I don't have a problem with the idea that Chris Paul has been a better player than Parker for most of their careers. I think at their best, Chris Paul is a better player than TP. Hell, I'm even a Chris Paul fan whenever his team is playing anyone else. But none of that is relevant to this specific season though. In 2012-13, Tony Parker is the best point guard in the NBA. Right?
Well, armed with my righteous anger, I went to look at the numbers to reinforce my belief with evidence. And if you'll just peruse this page, you can see why I am writing a different piece than the one I was going to write. Paul's PER and WS per 48 mins are greater than Tony's. Paul's AST%-TO% differential is greater than Tony's. Chris Paul has a greater Offensive Rating, Defensive Rating, and Rating Differential than Tony does.
Does that mean Chris Paul is still the best point guard in the NBA? Not necessarily. Statistics can't tell the whole story - never could, never do, never will - and it could be that, ten years from now, we'll have a greater understanding of what all these numbers really mean. And taking all factors into consideration - the individual numbers, the team numbers, the quality of their respective teammates and coaches - I'd still rather have Tony Parker in 2012-13. It's just not hands down, set in stone, no questions asked that Tony is better than Chris Paul this season. The statistics, such as they are, show that Paul still has a reasonable argument.
But I'm glad I went to the trouble of reviewing the record. Because my reaction last night was wonderfully homerish; I'm glad I'm still capable of setting my objective brain aside. It takes me back to my childhood some thirty-ish years ago, when Iceman and the A-Train were the best and Magic was a big crybaby and the Lakers were a bunch of stupidheads. (Okay, some of that is still objectively true.)