Paul during pre-game warm ups prior to Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
|No. 3 – Phoenix Suns|
|Born:||May 6, 1985|
|Winston-Salem, North Carolina|
|Listed height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Listed weight:||175 lbs (79 kg)|
|High school:||West Forsyth (NC)|
|NBA Draft:||2005 / Rnd: 1 / Pck: 4th|
|Roster status: Active|
|Career highlights and awards|
stats at Basketball-reference
Paul is widely regarded as one of the greatest Point Guards of all time. He has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists five times and steals a record six times. He has also been selected to twelve NBA All-Star teams, ten All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams. In 2021, he was selected to the NBA 75th Anniversary Team. He also served as the president of the National Basketball Players Association from August 2013 to August 2021. Among the highest-paid athletes in the world, he holds endorsement deals with companies such as Air Jordan and State Farm.
Paul was a McDonald's All-American in high school and attended Wake Forest University for two years of college basketball, where he helped the Demon Deacons achieve their first-ever number-one ranking. He was selected as the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets, where he developed into one of the league's premier players, finishing second in NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2008. During the 2011 off-season, the Hornets organized a deal to send Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, but the transaction was controversially voided by the NBA. He was instead dealt to the Lakers' crosstown rival, the Los Angeles Clippers, later that year. Led by Paul's playmaking, the Clippers developed a reputation for their fast-paced offense and spectacular alley-oop dunks, earning them the nickname "Lob City." In 2017, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, where he helped the team win a franchise-record 65 games in his debut season. He played one more season in Houston before being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of a package for Russell Westbrook in 2019. With the Thunder looking to rebuild, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2020, where he reached the NBA Finals for the first time in his career in 2021. The following season, he helped the team win a franchise-record 64 games.
Chris Paul also played on his junior varsity team this year, and make substantial impacts.
For his junior year, he averaged 25 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.4 steals per game, helping West Forsyth reach the state semifinals before falling to an unknown team. However, over the ensuing summer, he led the Winston-Salem-based Kappa Magic to the National U-17 AAU title, earning tournament MVP honors in the process.
During his senior year, he averaged 30.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 6 steals a game.which lead his school to a 27-3 record and advancing to the Class 4A Eastern Regional final where he was named a McDonald's All-American first team Parade All-American, and most notably, North Carolina's Mr. Basketball.
A special moment in his senior year, he arose in popularity after scoring 61 points in a game after his 61-year-old grandfather was killed. #Respect
Chris Paul attended Wake Forest University, where he averaged 14.8 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.7 steals per game as a freshmen, which set a school record. Unfortunately, they qualified for the NCAA Tournament, but lost in the Sweet Sixteen to St. Josephs. Paul was named ACC Rookie of the Year and Third Team All-ACC.
Wake Forest was ranked number one for the first time in school history during Paul's sophmore year. He averaged 15.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 2.4 steals per game and was named First Team Consensus All-American and carried a 3.21 GPA (named to ESPN's Academic All-America Team).
Paul received a one-game suspension in the final game of the season, which he suffered in the AAC tournament. This was caused by his actions of punching NC State guard Julius Hodge in the groin, which insignificantly ruined his image as a player. He announced he was turning professional on April 15th, 2005 and had his jersey retired (#3) by Wake Forest on March 2nd, 2011.
New Orleans Hornets (2005–2011)
Early seasons in New Orleans and Oklahoma City (2005–2007)
Paul was selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA Draft by the New Orleans Hornets. Due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the Hornets played most of their games in Oklahoma City that year. Paul finished the season leading all rookies in points, assists, steals, and double-doubles, and became only the second rookie in NBA history to lead the league in total steals. With final averages of 16.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, he was named NBA Rookie of the Year, falling just one vote shy of winning the award unanimously. The only other rookie to receive a first place vote was Deron Williams, with whom Paul enjoyed a brief rivalry early in their careers.
At the 2007 All-Star Weekend, Paul set new Rookie Challenge records with 17 assists and 9 steals. For his sophomore season, he increased his scoring and passing averages to 17.3 points and 8.9 assists per game, but played in only 64 games due to injury.
Rise to stardom (2007–2011)
Paul was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game in 2007–08, playing in front of his home fans in New Orleans. Behind his leadership, the Hornets were near the top of the Western Conference standings all year long, temporarily occupying first place on March 17 following a win against the Chicago Bulls. New Orleans finished the season with a franchise-record 56 wins and the second seed in the West. Paul led the NBA with 11.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game to go along with 21.1 points per game, finishing second in the NBA
Most Valuable Player Award voting and being named to his first All-NBA and All-Defensive teams. In his playoff debut, he scored 35 points against the Dallas Mavericks. In Game 2, he set a franchise playoff record with 17 assists. The Hornets defeated the Mavericks in five games, with Paul registering 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 15 assists in the final game. New Orleans was eliminated in the next round by the San Antonio Spurs.
Prior to the start of the 2008–09 season, Paul signed a contract extension with the Hornets worth $68 million. On December 17, 2008, he set the NBA record for consecutive games with a steal at 106. On several occasions, he came within a few steals of recording a historic quadruple-double, including a 27-point, 10 rebound, 15 assist, and 7 steal game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 26, 2009. His final averages were 22.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2.8 steals per game. Despite Paul's individual accomplishments, New Orleans' record fell from the year before and they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.
After a slow start to the 2009–10 season, the Hornets fired coach Byron Scott. Paul stirred up controversy when he announced his displeasure with the move, commenting that team management should have "consulted with me and asked how I felt before it happened." In early February, 2010, Paul tore cartilage in his left knee and was sidel-ined for over a month by surgery, forcing him to miss the All-Star Game. In total, he played in only 45 games and his averages dropped to 18.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 10.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Without Paul, the Hornets struggled, missing the playoffs.
In 2010–11, Paul had another injury scare on March 6, 2011, suffering a concussion after colliding with Cavaliers guard Ramon Sessions and being carried off the court on a stretcher. He returned two games later, registering 33 points and 15 assists against the Sacramento Kings. With Paul playing a full season, the Hornets qualified for the playoffs and were matched up with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Paul had a "historically great" performance in the series, contributing 33 points, 14 assists, and 4 steals in Game 1 and 27 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists in Game 4. His final averages were 22 points, 6.7 rebounds, 11.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game on 54.5 percent shooting. New Orleans was eliminated in six games, and ownership, fearing that Paul would leave the franchise via free agency, began actively pursuing a trade that would provide the team equitable compensation in return for his services.
Los Angeles Clippers (2011–2017)
Failed Lakers trade and "Lob City" rise (2011–2012)
On December 8, 2011, the Hornets agreed to a three-team trade sending Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. The NBA, who owned the team at the time, nullified the deal, with commissioner David Stern claiming New Orleans would be better off keeping Paul. The deal was vetoed for "basketball reasons". The teams involved in the trade attempted to lobby the league to reverse its ruling and reconstruct the deal to no avail. On December 12, the Hornets agreed to a trade sending Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers, but the deal broke down after the NBA added additional demands to the original terms. Two days later, the teams finally made the trade, sending Paul and two future second-round draft picks to the Clippers for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Minnesota Timberwolves' unprotected first round pick in the 2012 draft. Upon the deal's completion, Paul announced that he would opt into the final year of his contract and remain in Los Angeles for at least two more seasons.
Paul's arrival to Los Angeles rejuvenated the Clippers franchise, with teammate Blake Griffin later commenting, "It put us on the map." Early in Paul's debut season, the team developed a reputation for their fast-paced offense and spectacular alley-oop dunks, usually from Paul to Griffin or DeAndre Jordan, earning them the nickname "Lob City". Paul finished the year averaging 19.8 points, 9.1 assists, and 2.5 steals per game, becoming the first Clipper to be named to the All-NBA First Team since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in the 1980s. Behind his spectacular play and the emergence of Griffin as an All-NBA performer, Los Angeles qualified for the playoffs, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, before being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semifinals.
Playoff upsets (2012–2015)
At the 2013 All-Star Game, Paul led the West to victory with a 20-point and 15 assist performance, earning his first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award. He finished the season averaging 16.9 points, 9.7 assists, and 2.4 steals per game, helping the Clippers to a franchise-record 56 wins. Seeded fourth in the West entering the playoffs, Los Angeles were defeated in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies. Shortly after their early postseason exit, the Clippers announced they would not renew coach Vinny Del Negro's contract and rumors arose of Paul forcing Del Negro out. Los Angeles later denied any player involvement in the coaching decision.
Prior to the start of the 2013–14 season, Paul re-signed with the Clippers for five years on a contract worth approximately $107 million. Despite a shoulder injury that side-lined him for over a month, Los Angeles set another new franchise record for wins with 57. His final averages were 19.1 points, 10.7 assists, and 2.5 steals per game. In Game 1 of the second round of the playoffs, he hit a career postseason-high eight three-pointers to help the Clippers take an early series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder. In Game 5 and with the series tied 2–2 and the Clippers holding a comfortable lad with around a minute left, he made a string of late mistakes leading to an eventual Thunder victory, later commenting, "It's me ... Everything that happened at the end is on me." Oklahoma City eventually eliminated Los Angeles in six games.
In 2014–15, Paul played in all 82 games for the first time in his career, averaging 19.1 points and a league-high 10.2 assists per game. In Game 7 of the first round of the playoffs, he hit a go-ahead shot with a second left to lift the Clippers over the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs despite a hamstring injury. The injury forced him to miss the first two games of the next series versus the Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles eventually lost in seven games despite holding a 3–1 series lead. The defeat marked ten consecutive seasons and seven consecutive playoff appearances without a Conference Finals appearance for Paul.
Final years with Clippers (2015–2017)
In January of the 2015–16 season, Paul led the Clippers on a ten-game winning streak despite missing Griffin and Jordan at various points due to injury. For the third straight year, he finished the season with averages of over 19 points, 10 assists, and 2 steals per game. To begin the postseason, the Clippers drew a matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers, taking a 2–1 lead to start the series. In Game 4, Paul broke his hand and was ruled out indefinitely. Without Paul, as well as Griffin, who also injured himself in Game 4, Los Angeles eventually lost the series in six games.
In 2016–17, Paul missed 21 regular season games due to rest or injury, and averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists, and 5 rebounds in just over 31 minutes per game. At season's end, Paul was not rewarded with an All-NBA honor, marking just the second time he failed to make an All-NBA team since 2008 and the first time in his six years as a Clipper. In the playoffs, the Clippers were eliminated in seven games after their first round series against the Utah Jazz, with Paul averaging 25.3 points, 9.9 assists, 5 rebounds per game over seven games. Game 7 of that series would be Paul's final game with the Clippers.
Houston Rockets (2017–2019)
First Conference Finals appearance (2017–2018)
On June 28, 2017, Paul was traded to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Darrun Hilliard, DeAndre Liggins, Lou Williams, Kyle Wiltjer, a future first round pick, and cash considerations. The Clippers ultimately decided to trade Paul because they were unwilling to offer him the contract extension that he was seeking and they did not want to lose him for nothing once he became a free agent. Paul, who was interested in playing alongside superstar guard James Harden, opted into the final year of his existing contract to facilitate the trade. Some analysts were initially skeptical of the trade due to the perceived redundancy of Paul and Harden's playing ball-dominating playing styles, leading to questions over how they would adjust to each other.
On October 17, 2017, Paul debuted for the Rockets in their season-opening win over the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. He scored only four points on 2-for-9 shooting and sat on the bench down the stretch while the Rockets made their final push. It was later revealed that he was playing through a knee injury, and he subsequently missed the next 14 games, returning to the lineup on November 16, 2017, against the Phoenix Suns. With Paul healthy, Houston quickly established themselves as a championship contender, boasting the league's top-ranked offense in addition to a top-ten defense. Their success was primarily driven by Paul and Harden, who assumed playmaking duties while role players such as Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and P. J. Tucker provided floor spacing with three-point shooting. On December 15, 2017, Paul registered 28 points, eight assists, and seven steals against the San Antonio Spurs to lead the Rockets to their 12th straight victory. On January 26, 2018, he scored a season-high 38 points in a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Rockets eventually finished the 2017–18 season with a franchise-record 65 wins and the best record in the NBA, which included Harden winning the MVP Award and the team setting a league record for three-point attempts. Paul's final averages were 18.6 points, 7.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
In the first round of the playoffs, Houston eliminated the Minnesota Timberwolves, earning them a matchup with the Utah Jazz in the second round. In Game 5 of the series, Paul scored a career playoff-high 41 points along with eight three-pointers, 10 assists, and seven rebounds en route to a series-clinching victory over the Jazz. With the win, Paul advanced to the NBA Conference Finals for the first time in his career, where the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors awaited. Going into Game 5, the series was tied 2–2 before Paul helped lead Houston to victory by scoring seven fourth quarter points that powered a 10–5 run and gave the Rockets a lead that they never relinquished and the 3–2 series lead, putting them one win away from their first NBA Finals appearance since 1995 as well as Paul's first appearance in the NBA Finals at the time. However, Paul injured his hamstring late in the game, and with him out for the remainder of the series, Houston was eliminated from the postseason with back-to-back losses in Games 6 and 7.
Uneventful season (2018–2019)
On July 8, 2018, Paul signed a four-year, $160 million maximum contract extension with the Rockets. Paul received a two-game suspension early in the 2018–19 season for his involvement in an on-court fight against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 20. Additionally, Paul was fined a total of $491,782 for his role in the fracas. On December 11, he recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 111–104 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. On December 20, he suffered a left hamstring strain against the Miami Heat. He subsequently missed 17 games, returning to action on January 27 against the Orlando Magic. On February 23, he recorded 23 points and a season-high 17 assists in a 118–112 win over the Golden State Warriors. On March 10 against the Dallas Mavericks, Paul passed Isiah Thomas (9,061) to move into seventh on the NBA's all-time career assists list. He averaged 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 8.2 assists last season while shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from three-point range during the 2018–19 season.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2019–2020)
He debuted for the Thunder in a 100–95 loss to the Utah Jazz on October 23, 2019, putting up 22 points and 8 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. On December 16, Paul recorded a near triple-double, posting 30 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists in a 109–106 win over the Chicago Bulls. He also fell just shy of a triple-double on December 29, as he recorded 25 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists, in a 98–97 win over the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors. On January 30, 2020, Paul was selected to his tenth All-Star nod, and first since 2016, being named a Western Conference reserve. On February 11, Paul scored a season-high 31 points in a 114–106 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Paul was able to lead a young to the Fifth Seed in the Western Conference, which was better than what most people anticipated. The Thunder faced the Houston Rockets in the 1st round of the playoffs, with Paul averaging 21.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per contest.
Phoenix Suns (2020–present)
First Finals appearance (2020–2021)
On February 1, 2021, Paul dropped a season-high 34 points, along with nine rebounds and nine assists, in a close 109–108 win over the Dallas Mavericks. On February 19, he put up a season-high 19 assists while also scoring 15 points in a 132–114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. A day later, Paul overtook his hero, Oscar Robertson, on the all-time career assists list with six assists in a 128–97 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. On February 23, Paul was selected to his 11th All-Star appearance, second in a row, as a Western Conference reserve. With Devin Booker being named a replacement All-Star a day later, Paul and Booker were the first Suns duo since Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire in 2010 to be named All-Stars. On March 21, 2021, Paul logged his first triple-double of the season with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists in a 111–94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to record 10,000 career assists. On April 19, Paul recorded a double-double with 22 points and 13 assists in the Suns' 128–127 overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, and passed Magic Johnson for fifth place on the NBA's all-time career assists list.
In a Game 2 Conference Semifinals victory against the Denver Nuggets, Paul recorded 15 points, 15 assists, and 0 turnovers. This was Paul's third playoff game with at least 15 points, 15 assists, and 0 turnovers, the most in NBA history. In Game 4, Paul scored 37 points on a 74 percent shooting (14-of-19) alongside seven assists, leading the Suns to a 4–0 series sweep over the Nuggets for their first Western Confrence Finals appearance since 2010. On June 16, Paul tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result, entered the NBA's health and safety protocols. In Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul scored 18 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds, helping the Suns to take a 3-1 lead on the Clippers.
In Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul tied a playoff career-high 41 points, while putting up eight assists, in a 130–103 victory to close out the series, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in his career and the Suns' first appearance since 1993 and faced the Milwaukee Bucks, losing in six games.
Franchise record in wins (2021–2022)
On August 7, 2021, Paul signed a four-year contract extension with the Suns worth up to $120 million. On October 22, Paul recorded 23 points and 14 assists in a 115–105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming the first player in league history to record 20,000 points and 10,000 assists in their career. On November 2, 2021, Paul put up 14 points and 18 assists in a 112–100 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, moving past Mark Jackson and Steve Nash for third place on the NBA all-time career assists list. On December 2, 2021, Paul put up 12 points and 12 assists in a 114–103 win over the Detroit Pistons, leading the Suns to their franchise-record 18th win in a row. On January 24, 2022, Paul scored 27 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out 14 assists in a 115–109 win against the Utah Jazz. On January 28, 2022, Paul logged his 18th career triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists in a 134–124 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The following game, Paul had a season-high 19 assists with 20 points and eight rebounds in a 115–110 win against the San Antonio Spurs.
On February 3, 2022, Paul recorded 18 points, 12 assists, and three steals in a 124–115 loss to the Atlanta Hawks who snapped Phoenix's 11-game winning streak. This was Paul's 50th career game with 10 assists or more with no turnovers—the most such games in NBA history. Before the game, he was named a reserve for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. On February 10, 2022, Paul tied his season-high 19 assists with 17 points and seven rebounds as he led the Suns to a 131–107 victory against the Bucks in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals. Paul finished with his 500th career double-double. He is just the fourth guard in NBA history to accomplish that feat. On February 16, Paul broke his right thumb in a game against the Houston Rockets, just before the All-Star break. On March 24, 2022, Paul returned from a broken right wrist to help the Suns wrap up the top seed in the NBA playoffs with a 140–130 victory over the Denver Nuggets. He finished the game with 17 points and 13 assists. On April 1, Paul passed Gary Payton for fourth on the all-time steals list. On April 5, 2022, after a Phoenix’s 121–110 win over the Los Angeles Lakers (which eliminated them from playoff contention), Paul became the first player in NBA history to be part of four teams to set a franchise record for victories in a single season.
In Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs, Paul scored 19 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter along with seven rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals on 12-of-16 shooting from the field in a 110–99 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. He also became the oldest player in NBA history to put up at least 30 points and 10 assists in a playoff game. In Game 3, Paul scored 19 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter along with 14 assists to lead the Suns to a 114–111 win. In Game 6, he closed the series with 33 points along with eight assists and five rebounds on 14-of-14 shooting, which set the record for the most field goals in a game without a miss in NBA playoffs history. On May 2, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Paul moved past Tony Parker for fifth all-time in career playoff assists in a 121–114 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Suns jumped to a 2–0 lead in the series before losing in seven games. Paul became the first player in NBA playoff history to lose five series in which his team led 2–0.