Tag:In the Moment
Posted on: February 26, 2011 10:58 am
Edited on: April 25, 2011 11:25 am

Chris Paul and the Longevity Effect

Chris Paul is a fierce winner as well as arguably the league's best point guard. But are his career goals holding him back until the playoffs come? And wait, he think he's most like Isiah Thomas? We break down Ken Berger's interview with CP3 for this week's "In the Moment." 
Posted by Matt Moore

Chris Paul has always been a bit different from his contemporaries in one distinct notable aspect. He wants to win. More than anything else, more than the fame and fortune, he wants to win. Of the players representing this "brat pack" like conglomeration of All-Star friends including LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, no one wants to win as badly as Chris Paul. Wade wants to win, that much is evident. He's driven. But he's also a business unto himself, and a fashion and media star. He's basically building an empire the way LeBron wants to except without all the negative public reaction and bad decisions. But Paul? Paul wants it more. It's why his trade demand from last summer has simmered into a cool and patient wait to discuss his options, why he's consistently playing through pain, and why the Hornets are back to being a top team in the West, within sight of a first-round homecourt advantage. 

It's the biggest x-factor in the free agent movement expected to occur. Dwight Howard wants to win, but has shown little of the focus and responsibility necessary to take a franchise like Orlando on his admittedly massive shoulders instead of bolting to somewhere he can get that smiling face even more air time. Deron Williams is apparently simply more driven to be happy than anything else, as he left a team that has consistently moved to contend because they were tired of his complaints. But Paul? Paul can be satisfied with winning. That's what matters to him. He wants all the rest of it, the money, the notoriety, the parties, the endorsements. But in his list of priorities, building the Chris Paul Empires comes after winning. Not just a championship. Consistently. As much as he can. He's a fiend for it. It's what makes him such a tremendous player, even more than the brilliant vision and astounding precision. 

Take for example his interview with Ken Berger for CBSSports.com's In the Moment series:

"I think it's just guy's trying to win. This league's getting dangerous. There are a lot of really good teams at times at the top. You just want to put yourself in a good situation, in terms of longevity and things like that. Guys just want to win multiple championships if at all possible."

That's Paul talking about  all the superstars teaming up in Miami, New York, etc., a trend that began in 2007 with the formation of the Boston Big 3, and continued with the addition of Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers. And that's how Paul sees things. Not in the context of parties, endorsements, fun and games. For him it's all about victories and championships. The days of being willing to wait until you're an established veteran are over. In an era of players wanting what they want, when they want, how they want it, Paul's only concerned with winning. If that means bolting to a big market to play with better players than former All-Star David West and talented center Emeka Okafor, so be it. the Hornets have to prove to him they can win. 

That's probably partially because unlike his contemporaries, even injury-rattled Dwyane Wade, Paul has felt the drag of poor health, even this season. Chris Paul is simply not at full strength, is obviously struggling. It's been evident from his explosiveness right down to how he's functioned in crunch time. Friday night's coaster win over the Wolves was an easier time of it for Paul than he's had as of late. Hornets blog At The Hive noted this recently, before the All-Star break: 

f you're a Hornet fan, you're probably terrified. I know I am. The guy that was blazing his way to Best Point Guard of All Time status as recently as 2010? He quite literally stood around doing nothing for multiple possessions, multiple minutes a time. He ceded control to Willie Green (who was fantastic), to Trevor Ariza, to anyone he could see. Multiple times, he stopped mid-drive to throw awkward, forced passes to teammates behind the three point line who weren't expecting it. Multiple times, he brought the ball up, handed off to a teammate, and went and hid in the corner till the shot clock expired. 
We got a flash of the old Chris Paul for sure. His move in the second quarter where he crossed inside out from the baseline, drove the lane, looked off two defenders, and slipped the ball to Jason Smith for the slam? Surreal. Absolutely surreal. Nobody else in the NBA makes that play. 
But that's exactly what makes this new Chris Paul so difficult to stomach. We know his game and his limitless potential. We've seen him drag this team from nothing to the brink of everything. We know who Chris Paul is supposed to be. We may not see it on every play, the way we did in 2007-2008 or 2008-2009. But it's still there. There's a reason Chris Paul is still far and away the NBA's leader in win shares over names like LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant. Chris Paul, from November to January, was still amazing, and if we're being fair, that should carry far more weight than one god-awful road swing. 
But to be a fan is to concentrate, to a large extent, on the here and now. And at present, the here and now is not pretty.
via On Chris Paul - At The Hive.

At the Hive went on to say they expected the return of "the real Chris Paul" on Wednesday following the All-Star Break, and sure enough, since the break Paul has averaged 18 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists in two games, both wins. Granted, they were over the Clippers and Wolves, but you've got to start somewhere. 

The bigger issue is that it's not like Paul hasn't shown his "real" self this season. He's flourished at times. He's been an MVP candidate, for crying out loud. But for those who have intently watched the games, his deference late in games cannot be denied. We're not just talking about throwing to the open man for the assist instead of going to the jumper or floater. We're talking "walk the ball up, give it to David West, and go stand in a corner." In key situations, Chris Paul should always be initiating the offense. Always. That this has happened consistently despite bursts from Paul shows an ongoing issue, one that won't be solved with a four day break and a few easy wins over lottery teams.

And with Paul's drive, it leaves you to wonder how healthy he is. Then again, it could be Paul's simply learning what Wade has learned, like Kobe Bryant before him.  There are times to kick it into that higher gear, and times to coast. Paul knows the Hornets are a lock for the playoffs. Resting his body is really the better option. But with his attitude, with his drive, it must be killing him to hold anything back. But at the same time, that word, longevity, keeps creeping into Paul's words. Consider this quote from In the Moment about what point guard he most thinks he's like. 

"Definitely Isiah Thomas, maybe a little bit of Allen Iverson the way I go at the refs at time. Those guys are unbelievable. I think the thing about those guys is that they did it for a number of years. I think that's what I always admired the most about John Stockton. I came in the league, I looked at his steals record and assists record, and I wanted to try and break it. Man, that guy never missed a game. That longevity is something ghat pushes me. I look at Steve Nash, how he remains healthy. I look at Jason Kidd, not only has he been in the league a long time, he's still productive. I don't want to be one of those guys who's in the league, year 17, and I'm not productive. "


Sorry, just had to screw with the New York media a little bit. Ka-ching. 

But you notice that whole paradigm Paul's expounding. Wanting to play long-term. Wanting to be around for years. Wanting to still be productive when he's older. The only way to do that is to hold yourself back. It's what makes fans sour on the NBA so much, stars who no longer burst out of the gate, no longer kill themselves every single game. It happens to all great players. It'll happen to Blake Griffin. And it may have happened to Chris Paul. 

But the real question that will decide not only Chris Paul's future but possibly that of professional basketball in New Orleans, is what Chris Paul shows up in the playoffs. Our bet?

The one that wants to win, no matter who's on his side. 

Posted on: February 18, 2011 12:05 pm

Ray Allen's never been worried about the HOF

Ray Allen talks to Ken Berger about Kobe, the Hall, and his son's fight with diabetes. 
Posted by Matt Moore

In this week's "In the Moment" interview with Ken Berger, Ray Allen talks about the Hall of Fame and how people have been telling him for years he needs to be concerned with his inclusion, while Allen has just kept on doing what he does: playing ball at a high level consistently. 

Allen, on if he's ever thought about the Hall:
"I think it's one of those moments again that come upon you and once you're in it, you're overwhelmed by it. Maybe five years ago I had a whisper or two of 'You've got to do whatever you can to start solidifying your name for the Hall of Fame.' And what's going to get me in the Hall of Fame, not that I cared about it at the time, but what was going to get me there, was me doing my job, and by being consistent. Doing just what I've been doing every night, and hopefully winning a championship. And that happened the next year. So I never worried about it."

Allen also reflected on what it was that started the whole feud with Kobe Bryant:

"We were playing a preseason exhibition game, and we beat them, and I got sick after the game, so I didn't speak to the media. I played the next night in Portland. That night we were talking about the Lakers without Shaq, because they'd just traded him. I said I didn't think they would be good without Shaq. It was comical because we were just laughing about it, I said Kobe will probably want to be traded in two years from now because he doesn't have a big guy he rely on, and having a big in this league is hard to come by. He didn't like that too well. And for the next two years, every time we played each other, we always went at each other. I'd come down hit a three, he'd come right back at me and hit a three, I'd come back down and hit a three. It was just basketball."

But the most important thing Allen talks about his young son's battle with diabetes. 
"We have to show everyone in the world how diabolical this disease is. And two, how we're going to keep other kids from dying from misdiagnosis, becaue diabetes shows itself as the common flu. And if you don't know it, you'll go to the hospital and even doctors will tell you 'Oh, your child just has the flu.' And there have been a lot of people who have died because they've been misdiagnosed as having the flu. We want every parent to know to get your kid's blood drawn. If you feel they have a common flu symptoms, even in the winter time? Get your blood drawn, check the blood sugar levels checked."

Allen isn't just a surefire Hall of Fame candidat (we hope, but then we thought the same about Reggie), he's one of the true class acts in the NBA. Enjoy him, this All-Star Weekend. 
Posted on: December 17, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 12:18 pm

Video: Karl talks cancer, 1000 wins and Carmelo

Posted by Royce Young

Ken Berger of CBSSports.comtalked with Denver Nuggets coach George Karl this week and among a number of outstanding things discussed of course was Carmelo Anthony's future in Denver.

Karl said, "I think there's so much fluff, so much gossip, so much inneundo to the scenarios. I don't like playing that game or being involved in that arena. The realness of I think what's good for Melo, what's good for Denver and what's good for George Karl is that he would stay in Denver. I said that in the very beginning and I still stand by it. Fortunately, we've won enough games where we've kept most the BS out of the game and off the court. As long as we keep winning, I think we'll be OK."

Of course Karl recently became the seventh coach ever to win 1,000 games. Karl talked about how it's a "celebration" and something he never expected to see happen for himself. And with Karl's two-time battle with cancer, hitting that mark is something even more special for him and his family.

Karl has an important "PET" scan coming soon that's part of his routine checkups. It's right before Christmas and Karl admitted it'll be a tough couple days. But he says he feels good and feels confident.

George Karl is truly one of the gems of the game and one of the greatest ever. Not just in patrolling the bench as a top coach, but as one of the game's greatest human beings and ambassadors.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com