Chris Paul: The Unluckiest Player in NBA History?

NBA Chris Paul

NBA All-time legends are often measured with their playoff success. The debate between Michael Jordan and LeBron James often comes down to Jordan’s 6 championship rings outnumbering LeBron’s 4. Rings aren’t everything however, there’s quite a few all time players without championship hardware. Allen Iverson may come to mind, but there’s another player who may have even worse luck with their quest to win it all.

Chris Paul is undoubtedly an all time point guard. He’s often among the top 10 point guard on lists like this one, and his hall of fame status is no doubt- he’s in. His nickname is “the Point god” and you don’t get that nickname by being a scrub. However, he lacks the biggest accolade a player can hope for, the championship ring.

Chris Paul’s journey to the NBA

During his high school days, Paul was an electrifying player who managed to average 25 points in his junior season, and get an All-American award. He also was named North Carolina’s Mr Basketball in 2003. He would commit to Wake Forest, and was amazing there as well. In 2 seasons, Paul was an elite player in the NCAA, but his Wake Forest squad never made it past the Sweet Sixteen. he managed to get many accolades, but never got the championship experience.

Welcome to the New Orleans Hornets

NBA Chris Paul

Chris Paul was likely to be a top pick in the 2005 NBA draft, and as expected he was taken in the top 5. Paul was selected 4th overall by the team, behind Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, and Deron Williams. Quickly, Paul made a name for himself in the league, hoping to become a top Point Guard early on. He averaged 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game en route to earning Rookie of the Year honors.

Safe to say he was going to be a good player.

As he continued his early career in New Orleans, he managed to build off that name he made for himself. He was named to his first All Star team in 2007-08 and leading his team to the second seed in that playoffs, and they even won a series against the Mavericks before that run came to a close against the Spurs. However the next season, he signed an extension and guided his Hornets to the playoffs once more, but they lost in the first round to the Nuggets. The 2009-10 season was filled with problems for Chris Paul, as his head coach got fired early into the year and an injury struck him in February.

The 2010-11 season was a great one for Paul and the Hornets, as he played a full season and led his team to the playoffs once more. Now a star in the league, Paul put the team on his back in a six game series loss to the Lakers. He played extremely well, scoring a whopping 132 points in the entire series. However the team lost, and Paul was likely on his way out. The Hornets recognized this, and started working on a trade.

Welcome to Lob City

The Hornets needed to trade Chris Paul to get something in return for him. He wanted to leave and go to a successful team that would use him to try and win a title. Initially, the trade would’ve sent Paul to the Lakers, putting him on a stacked team with Kobe Bryant, but David Stern vetoed the trade trying to keep the Lakers from being too dominant.

Chris Paul would end up in Los Angeles anyway, as he would be traded to the Clippers, matching him up with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Chris Paul became an instant superstar, and his team earned the nickname “Lob City” for all the flashy alley-oop dunks and lob passes leading to crazy highlights. He brought the Clippers out of the Lakers shadow, and in his first season there, he captained the Clippers to the conference semifinals.

Over his time in LA, Paul and the rest of the Lob City core were a scary team to face. Anytime Paul was on the floor, there was always a threat to score, often in a flashy manner. However they were upset by the Grizzlies in the playoffs in 2013, a massive disappointment for Lob City. The next season, Paul and his squad continued to build, but lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games in the second round after beating the young Warriors in round one. The next year, Paul’s 56 win team managed to beat the Spurs in the playoffs, but lost to the Rockets in the second round to further add to the Clipper’s failure.

The 2015-16 season was another one full of disappointment. Chris Paul continued to show he was a star in the league, but they got eliminated early by the Portland Trail Blazers. The next season, Paul was struck with the injury bug, missing 21 games, and Lob City lost in the first round against the Utah Jazz.

Chris Paul leaves Lob City for the Rockets

Chris Paul NBA

The Lob City era officially ended when Chris Paul was traded to the Rockets for a major haul in 2017. This was a big chance for him to win it all, pairing him with superstar James Harden. This led to 65 wins, and a chance to dethrone the Warriors as kings of the West after beating the Timberwolves and Jazz in the playoffs. Up 3-2 in the series, Paul’s bad luck came up at the worst time in the worst way. A hamstring injury sidelined him for the series, and their chances of winning it all were over as Harden couldn’t carry the team by himself.

This unfortunate turn of events ruined Chris Paul’s best chance of winning it all, but the next season they once again matched up with the Warriors in the semifinals. Unfortunately, the squad was not able to beat them, and the Rockets were eliminated after a fairly forgettable season where Paul was another solid player, but unable to mesh with Harden and dominate the west.

Chris Paul heads to Oklahoma City

Chris Paul NBA

The Rockets sent Chris to the Thunder in exchange for Russell Westbrook, and he continued to play as one of the best point guards in the game. Paul averaged 17.6 points a game, and led the Thunder to the 5th seed in the bubble where he lost to the Rockets in 7 games. The short tenure with the Thunder is often forgotten about, but he re-established himself as a top player in the entire NBA. However, the team wasn’t committed to Paul long-term, and they let him go to the Suns via a trade the next off-season.

Chris Paul in the desert

Chris Paul made it onto a fairly talented Suns squad, and he would be paired with Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton. Paul had instant success, as he managed to make his first ever NBA Finals appearance. He had never done this before, but unfortunately, the Suns lost the series to the Bucks. This series was a reminder that Chris Paul was still an elite basketball player, and even though his physical ability wasn’t the same as when he joined the league, his basketball IQ was still sharp enough to guide a team to the promised land.

The next year, Paul and the Suns set the franchise record for wins, no small feat. The squad looked primed for another championship bid, and Paul was ready to get his elusive ring. He was named to the all star game as a reserve, only adding to his mountain of accolades. He led his team past the Pelicans in round one, but ultimately came up short against the Mavericks in a characteristic choke job. The Suns had been up 2-0 in the series.

The 2022-23 season would feature one last all in push from the Suns with CP3 running the point guard spot. The Suns continued to be a solid contender headed to the trade deadline, so they made a move to get Kevin Durant from the Nets. This win now move made the Suns Western Conference favorites, and Paul was once again on a team with Finals hopes. After beating the Clippers in 5, there was a chance for this team and Chris Paul to win it all. However, Nikola Jokic and the eventual champions would beat them in the semifinals.

The trade to the Warriors and the future

Paul wouldn’t be a Phoenix Sun anymore. They traded him to the Wizards in the off-season, who would flip him to the Warriors soon after. This brings up questions about his future. Will he be able to ever win a ring? Will he still play at a high level? Will he take a backseat to Stephen Curry?

There’s many questions, but I imagine that CP3 will still go down in history as one of the greatest players to ever touch a basketball. His play making and scoring abilities are amazing, and he could retire right now and become a first ballot hall of fame player. He has 12 all star selections, 11 all NBA team appearances and 9 all defensive teams to his name.

But he still would like that championship ring to add to his accolades.

Thanks for taking the time to read Chris Paul’s story, do you agree that he is one of the unluckiest players of all time? Feel free to share with us, and stay tuned to the Shady Sports Network for all things sports.


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