If you were starting a team today, which young superstar would you start your team with – Chris Paul or LeBron James?
Every time this question is asked I just shake my head and wonder how we got to this point so fast.
Sure, Paul is a magnificent point guard whose lightning-quick moves, feisty attitude and fierce competitiveness invoke images of Isiah Thomas dancing in circles after the Pistons beat the Lakers in the 1989 NBA Finals.
Sure, he's made Tyson Chandler look like an all-star center, turned David West into one of the top 15 players in the NBA and led the Hornets to the fourth best record in the league.
Sure, he led the league in steals (2.7 per game) and assists (11.6 per game), while committing only 2.5 turnovers per game.
Sure, he scored 21.1 points per game, while shooting 49% from the field and 85% from the line.
But, he's still no James.
Longevity, ultimately, could spell doom for Paul. Listed at 6-feet, 190-pounds, Paul is not close to either. His aggressive, attack-the-basket style of play will eventually catch up to his body size.
I'm not a professional basketball player, but it's not difficult to imagine the pain caused by getting thrown to the ground by a 6-foot-9 power forward.
Also, does anyone really thing that Paul at 28 will be that much better than Paul at 23. He seems to be extremely close to his ceiling. It really isn't possible for him to pass any better, he can't make his team much better and he can't play much better defense.
James on the other-hand - just like he did when he entered the NBA - has the world as his feet.
He's managed to average 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game without something us basketball fans call a jump shot. His defense can be suspect from time to time, and he shoots less than 75 percent from the free-throw line for his career.
But James can improve his shooting. Paul can't improve his size.
That's what makes James a better choice, long-term, for a franchise.
Would any rational person pick Isiah Thomas over Magic Johnson? Bob Cousy over Oscar Robertson?
Paul is a great talent and will play in All-Star games for the rest of his career. LeBron James will forever change the way the game is played. To some that's a subtle difference, but it's what separates Michael Jordan from Mitch Richmond and Kobe Bryant from Dwyane Wade.
If I have the fist pick I'm taking the King.