Touting their choice for NBA MVP the other day, The Big Lead pointed out that Paul was averaging 21 points and 11 assists, and rhetorically asked who the last player to throw up 20 and 10 in a season was.
The question was answered in the thread, but let us probe deeper and consider the significance of Paul's accomplishment and its timeliness.
Here's the full list of 20/10 seasons in NBA history:
Tiny Archibald '72-'73
Isaiah '83-'87 (Four years in a row!)
Magic '86-'87, '88-'89, '89-'90
KJ '88-'91 (three in a row)
Michael Adams (who?) '90-'91
Tim Hardaway '91-'92, '92-'93
First, a couple of points of interest:
1. That '72-'73 season for Tiny was amazing: Points and Assists titles, APG season record, PPG season record for a guard. The next year he tore his Achilles and came back to earth, hovering around 20-7 for three years before more injuries did him in.
2. Michael freakin' Adams, he of the 14 ppg for his career. He can thank Paul Westhead for the Loyola-as-NBA-team experiment. The Nuggets' numbers that year: 119.9 PPG, 130.8 PPG allowed, and a 20-62 record.
But back to Paul and the present day.
If the elite company that he'll be joining isn't enough, consider that he's also leading the league in steals. MVP or not, he's had one of the greatest PG seasons in history.
The bigger picture is that for a decade, starting with the 1983-84 season, the NBA had a 20-10 PG. In '87, '89, and '90, it had two of them. It's no coincidence that those years are best remembered with nostalgia and the subsequent decade is associated with stagnant offenses and ugly basketball.
Now, after an almost 15 year drought, we have this season from Paul and a 19 and 10 from his doppelganger Deron Williams. For all the talk of the dawn of the new NBA era, this might best indicator yet that it's actually happening.