Earlier today I was on Facebook, and this video popped up on my news feed. It's called 'The Origin of Lob City.' I haven't stopped watching since. Anyone who has seen it knows exactly what I mean. It was absolutely captivating to watch videos of Chris Paul throw perfectly timed alley-oops to the likes of Trent Strickland and Jamaal Levy. Anyone who has been watching the NBA Playoffs this year has seen exactly why the Los Angeles Clippers are appropriately called 'Lob City.' After the jump, I'll take a bit about Chris Paul's career, his strong Wake connection and his playoff run with the Clippers.
In the comments section, feel free to add any great memories you had watching Chris Paul. I'd love to hear about them I was still in high school and was not able to experience this in person.
Lob City: Playoff Edition (via NBA)
To quote Dick Vitale, "Are You Serious?!?!?"
This year's playoff run has been a sensational one for Chris Paul. It all started with an inexplicable 27-point come from behind victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. That one game showed you all anyone ever needed to know about former Wake great, Chris Paul. He is a warrior and an absolute competitor. He had to argue with Vinny Del Negro to convince him to let him go back in the game.
In true Chris Paul fashion, he did re-enter the game and finished with 14 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and a steal. He propelled that exceptional comeback. He can do everything on the basketball court, and that's what makes him a top-five player in the NBA.
On Sunday, in a pivotal Game 4, Chris Paul rose to the occasion and finished with 27 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Is there anything this man can't do? The Clippers currently hold a 3-1 edge over the Grizzlies, and I certainly anticipate Lob City holding on to win the series. When they do, they will take on The San Antonio Spurs, who are led by 4-time NBA Champion and former Wake Forest Demon Deacon, Tim Duncan.
Even though Chris Paul is getting a lot of love from the media this season, I still don't think he gets nearly enough. People don't understand just how great he truly is. Last year, the Los Angeles Clippers went 32-50, 18 games below .500. This season, the Clippers went 40-26, 14 games over .500. He helped the Clippers win eight more games, despite there being 16 fewer games on the schedule. That's just incredible. Meanwhile, last year Chris Paul led the New Orleans Hornets to a 46-36 record and took the Los Angeles Lakers to six games in the NBA Playoffs. This year, the Hornets went 21-45 and finished with the third worst record in the NBA. There are strong reasons why he should be a perennial top-five MVP candidate.
Unfortunately, Chris Paul has been somewhat overlooked his entire career. It all started on June 28, 2005 -- the night of the 2005 NBA Draft. The Milwaukee Bucks chose to pass on the next Isiah Thomas, and instead took Andrew Bogut, who has been a solid NBA center. With the second selection, the Atlanta Hawks made one of the worst picks in NBA history when they selected Marvin Williams (who didn't start for his college team) over Chris Paul. Marvin Williams went on to be an NBA All-Rookie (2nd team). That's the only award he's won.
Paul was named the 2005-2006 NBA Rookie of the Year. He has made the last five all-star teams. He has led the league in steals four times, and he has the third highest assists per game in NBA history.
According to Basketball Reference, Chris Paul has an 84.1 percent chance of making the Hall of Fame. That percentage will certainly increase as he continues to play. According to that same website, Marvin Williams has a 0.00 percent chance at making the Hall. Good pick, Atlanta.
I'm so proud to be able to call Chris Paul a Demon Deacon. Not just because he's a great basketball player, but because he is a great person and supporter of the Winston-Salem community. The full list can be found here at CP3 Foundations, but the highlights include a Celebrity Bowling Tournament, Habitat for Humanity, Literacy Initiatives and many others. Not many NBA superstars take their time, money and effort to support their college community. Wake Forest and Chris Paul have a bond that is truly special.
I hope watching 'The Origin of Lob City' brought back fond memories for many of you, and maybe it will inspire you to watch Chris Paul during his NBA Playoff run. The Staples Center erupts after he makes spectacular plays, much like The Joel did while he was wearing a Wake uniform.
Go to this page. Like it, and be proud of something in this year's playoffs. Be proud of local hero Chris Paul, who has guided the Los Angeles Clippers from 40 years of obscurity into a YouTube sensation, and more importantly, a Western Conference contender.
No matter how far Chris Paul is able to lead the Clippers, I know we will all be 'Proud to be a Deacon,' and he will be too.