by Brad Botkin
Welcome back to our NBA Star Power Index — a weekly gauge of the players who are most controlling the buzz around the league. Reminder: Inclusion on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing. It simply means that you’re capturing the NBA world’s attention. Also, this is not a ranking. The players listed are in no particular order as it pertains to the buzz they’re generating. This column will run every week for the rest of the season.
Paul is yet to lose a game in which he actually suited up for the Rockets (10-0 entering Wednesday). He and James Harden are really finding their groove together, and in the meantime, Houston is the only team in the league that can put the ball in the hands off a Hall of Fame point guard for all 48 minutes with Mike D’Antoni staggering his stars’ minutes.
Example: On Monday, Harden exits the New Orleans game late in the third quarter with Houston trailing by 13. Paul proceeds to take over, scoring 10 straight over the third and fourth quarters (he had 18 second-half points), including this absolutely criminal crossover that has to have undrafted rookie Jalen Jones wondering if maybe European ball might’ve been the better call: