When you look at the teams who have won the last 10 NBA Finals, only two of them have had their Point Guard be their top scorer (2014, Spurs-Tony Parker and 2015, Warriors- Stephen Curry) but the Spurs was the original Big 3’s last ride along with the emergence of Kawhi Leonard and Parker only outscored Leonard by a single point, Then in the other case Steph Curry led the Warriors to the Promise Land against a very bad Cavaliers Team with Lebron James and a bunch of players that lived most comfortably in his shadow. Not to take anything away from those teams, players and their accomplishments, but it has been shown that having your Point Guard as your leading scorer or best player isn’t always the best equation to winning. Lets go ahead and break down why some of the league’s top Point Guards can’t get over the hump in the Playoffs.
I want you to think real hard now, and tell me the first thing you think of when you look back on Chris Paul’s time in Los Angeles. Losing in the playoffs, right? Right. So when we look at him he always flops in the playoffs, he has made it past the second round once, and that was in 2018, but then he got injured an couldn’t play the most important game of the season against the Warriors. It isn’t completely his fault that his teams have never come up big when it matters, but for it to always happen to a Chris Paul team, when he has definitely had the surrounding cast multiple times to do damage, is unacceptable. Back in New Orleans, he didn’t have the best team around him, but moving to Los Angeles he had Blake Griffin and De’Andre Jordan for multiple years, in Houston he has had James Harden (mentioned later in the article). Look the point is, there is a curse around Chris Paul and the Playoffs, he has never gotten it done, and with the Rockets losing this year in round two, that is probably the end for the injury prone Paul and the Rockets window with their current core. Paul isn’t a selfish player, but his offense isn’t nearly as good as his defense, he still has holes in his game, he never really took that next step expected of him when he went to Houston.
There once was a time where Russell Westbrook was considered one of the best Point Guards in the NBA. Oh wait, that time is right now, in the regular season at least. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double for the last three regular seasons now and those numbers have dipped in the playoffs. But lets get something clear, Russell Westbrook has no help the last few seasons, sure he has Steven Adams and Paul George, but ultimately he has less than he had with Kevin Durant and Enes Kanter back in the day. Statistically he is a powerhouse, but you watch him play and you realize he just dishes assists for assists not necessarily because he wants his teammate to shoot rather than him, and he steals teammates rebounds, but he’s no longer the most talented player on his team anymore and he is actually adapting pretty. But, when we look at why the Thunder aren’t going anywhere in the postseason, Paul George isn’t the problem, Russell Westbrook has consistently struggled in the playoffs ever since KD left for the Warriors and hasn’t gotten past the second round since. Having multiple first round exits, and it just makes you think what is going on with Russ to where he can’t get over the hump.
James Harden since he left Oklahoma City has become one of the best players in the NBA, he is the best scorer in the NBA right now, and he has actually become something other than a defensive liability on the court. James Harden may not be a true Point Guard, but he plays point with Houston, or at least has been listed as one. But in the article we are looking at why some of the best point guards in the NBA can’t reach the NBA Finals without other generational talents by their side, well for Harden he is too selfish, at times he needs to be. But when you know you’re having a bad night shooting, you have got to pass the ball around to other players rather than just shooting until you make it. I really don’t get how he hasn’t made it to the finals, but when you look at his competition it makes sense, facing a team with two MVP’s and DPOY, it isn’t going to be easy for him to get the Rockets to the glory land. With Harden there isn’t much more he can do, the Rockets need to build around him a little more .
Having a star Point Guard or two isn’t the recipe for success in today’s NBA, some teams need to learn that and need to get bigger players or get better around their Point Guards, lets be honest, from the three listed above; there isn’t anything wrong with Russell Westbrook or James Harden, they are two of the top players in the NBA today. Chris Paul on the other hand has quite a bit at fault, starting with his injury problems. Star Point Guards cannot do it all on their own in this league, and two out of the three listed here just need to take it up one more small notch or get one more surrounding piece around them and they will be there, and able to contend.