Not many know more about the game of basketball than Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul. Now in his 17th year, he has perhaps the best shot he's ever had at winning an NBA title this season, and he's enjoying every minute of the journey. In a recent stop on J.J. Redick's podcast, his interview included a nice shout-out to the newest San Antonio Spurs All-Star, Dejounte Murray.
Recently selected to his 12th NBA All-Star game, Paul has the Suns at the top of the league with a spectacular 46-10 record. After making the NBA Finals for the first time in his career last season, he's played even better this year for one of the favorites to win it all.
In talking about his long career, Paul brought up something that's been lost among a lot of NBA fans. "What the hell is wrong with celebrating small victories along the way?" responded Paul when asked about regular-season accomplishments. "We know what the ultimate goal is. Are we just supposed to do nothing all regular season? Just win, go to sleep, don't celebrate nothing?"
The sentiment was a reminder to me that even though this season probably won't end that well for the Spurs, accomplishments like Murray's All-Star selection and Gregg Popovich's pending all-time record shouldn't just be brushed aside.
Beyond the broader philosophical thoughts, Paul also had specific praise for Dejounte when asked what players he loves to watch.
"Everybody always thinks if you get steals, it means you gamble," he started. "I appreciate Dejounte Murray. He's a guy that's always up there high in steals. That's IQ. That's anticipation."
Through 50 games played, Murray is leading the league in steals per game with 2.1 and is second to only the man himself, CP3, in total steals with 103. The compliment means even more coming from someone like Paul, who's fifth all-time in total steals and on pace to surpass Gary Payton for fourth by the end of February.
Paul has made seven NBA All-Defensive First Teams and two Second Teams, so it's safe to say he knows a thing or two about defensive intelligence and anticipation.
The comments from Paul came near the same time CJ McCollum was saying Murray should be on the NBA All-Defensive First Team this season on his own podcast. It's nice to see Dejounte getting recognition not only from the league but its best players as well.