Paul making his case

MIKE GANTER

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

The arrival of Chris Paul in town necessitates opening up the MVP debate, particularly this late in the season.

The New Orleans Hornets point guard didn't begin the season in the conversation but he is squarely in the middle of it now, thanks to a stunning individual campaign that has taken the Hornets from middle of the pack to among the frontrunners in the Western Conference.

Paul is averaging 21.6 points a game in addition to a league-leading 11.3 assists a night. His 2.71 steals average also tops the league.

Whether those numbers will be enough is the question making the rounds in NBA circles these days.

Prior to last night's game, Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell said Paul "might be the best point guard in the NBA right now."

"It's hard to imagine how much he means to one team for what he does," Mitchell said. "He's bigger and stronger than what people think."

As for his own personal choice of this year's MVP winner, Mitchell wouldn't choose between Paul, the L.A. Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett.

MARTIN LETS IT UNFOLD

Darrick Martin won't be on the court for the remainder of the season, but he has not made the decision to hang up his sneakers just yet. Martin, who is expected to clear waivers today and accept an off-court position with the Raptors says he has not closed the door on playing completely.

"I'll wait and see what happens this summer," Martin said.

The 12-year veteran said there was no sting to being released by the Raptors because of the people in the organization.

"Had it been another team it might have hurt, but not this group. Not with Sam (Mitchell)."


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