Rockets’ Chris Paul passes Derek Harper for 13th spot on the all-time steals list
From his controversial layup against the Portland Trail Blazers, to his heated battle with his former team, the L.A. Clippers — Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul is suddenly appearing on the league’s big stories more than usual.
Paul moved up to the 13th spot in the NBA’s all-time steals list, passing 16-year veteran Derek Harper.
The Rockets All-Star now has a total of 1,960 career steals after adding three in Thursday night’s 116-98 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. He also leads all active players in that stat, and has 136 more than the next best, LeBron James.
Paul is expected to climb yet another step in the list over the next few weeks. He’s bound to move past of Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson soon, who’s now just ahead by 23 steals.
His ability to pester opponents and get into passing lanes correctly has long been on Paul’s resume, and according to Danny Chau of The Ringer, the first-year Rocket is head coach Mike D’Antoni’s “defensive muscle.”
“In Chris Paul, D’Antoni found a proxy for the side of the ball he’d abandoned in his quest for total offense,” wrote Chau. “Committing to defense always seemed paradoxical to D’Antoni’s true ambitions. The ball can’t find energy if there isn’t any left for the offensive end.”
“The dual point guard system, as it turns out, wasn’t an attempt at establishing total offense; it was an effort to instill a sort of balance absent in so many of D’Antoni’s previous teams. It’s led to the best record in the league, and, improbably, an elite defense.”
In Paul’s 12 full seasons in the NBA, he has been named to the All-Defensive team nine times, and has finished a season averaging two or more steals per game 10 times. Furthermore, Paul also holds the NBA record for most consecutive games with at least one steal (106).
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