The NBA does not just handout championship rings to players who have won a lot of regular season games, or even players who have won a lot of postseason games. Just look at Chris Paul, and one will quickly find out that longevity does not equate to the immortality of a championship. This reality is why the idea that a certain player “deserves” a ring has always been inconsistent, because the criteria for an NBA championship has never changed.
Unless a player is on a team that won 16 games in one postseason, then they quite literally did not meet the criteria to win a ring. While injuries and other unfortunate circumstances can add nuance to this conversation, the case of Chris Paul is a different one. While Paul has been on the receiving end of some bad luck in his postseason career, he has also been the primary reason why many of his teams did not get over the hump. While it is a team sport, as either the star or co-star on every team he’s been on, Chris Paul has simply never performed well enough to win a championship.
Part of the nuance that surrounds this conversation is centered on a player’s supporting cast, as there are undeniable instances where a star player individually performed at a championship level, but their teammates were bad enough that it did not matter. Again, for Chris Paul, this does not apply. Having just been on 64-win one-seed that got embarrassed on their home floor by the 4-seed, this latest collapse is far from a situation where a player’s team simply wasn’t good enough.
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Despite his consistent shortcomings, which include an NBA-record five blown 2-0 series leads, many people still adhere to this idea that Chris Paul “deserves” a ring. The latest to profess this claim was former NBA guard Jeremy Lin, who Tweeted it out following a Game 7 that saw Paul and his Suns get utterly embarrassed. Patrick Beverley, who has some history with Chris Paul, clearly disagreed:
What is interesting about this conversation, is that nobody has ever provided a real answer as to why Chris Paul deserves a ring. Instead, it’s just something that is said despite Paul never performing well enough to actually get one. As previously stated, injury misfortune has persisted throughout Chris Paul’s career; however, his inability to rise to the occasion has sabotaged his several chances at a ring that injuries did not. For that reason, Patrick Beverley isn’t buying the idea that Chris Paul deserves a ring more than anybody else.
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