If I had a dollar for every time someone said Mike Conley was a better point guard than Chris Paul, I'd be broke.
Well, that's not an entirely true. I'd have exactly one dollar, thanks to Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera.
Following the Grizzlies' 99-93 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the second round of the NBA playoffs, Pera was overwhelmed by Conley's performance. Memphis' point man dropped 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Grizzlies stole home-court advantage from the Thunder.
Conley's near triple-double left Pera absolutely smitten. Like take-to-Twitter-and-troll-the-best-point-guard-in-the-NBA enamored. And so he did.
Declaring that Conley is the best floor general in the league is no small assertion. It's not as if he said Conley was the best point guard in the building; he went Association-wide with his revelation.
Those who wouldn't argue that Paul is the top-rated point guard in the league would usually toss out names like Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and even Stephen Curry. But Conley? His name is rarely mentioned in the same breath as any of those fellow catalysts, Paul included.
Of course, that doesn't mean he isn't deserving of such an honor. He's averaging 17.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game with a PER of 21.9 during the postseason. Conley is making a case for himself as an elite point man.
Is he better than Paul, though? Absolutely not.
Paul posted the third-highest PER in the league during the regular season (26.4) and nearly averaged a double-double (16.9 points and 9.7 assists). Though eliminated, his 29.3 postseason PER still ranks second behind Kevin Durant (30.5) and in front of league MVP LeBron James (27.5) as well.
While there is no disrespect toward Conley intended, it must be understood that he's not Paul, nor will he ever be. He may be just "scratching the surface," but Paul's terrain is not one he can breach.
I get that Conley's display against Oklahoma City was magnificent. And I get that it can even be put in an historical context. Let's not get carried away, though.
This was one game. One performance. Conley needs to be recognized for his exploits, but let's not taint his efforts by depicting him as someone he's not.
Pera is entitled to his opinion, and he, along with the rest of us, could certainly make the case for Conley as a top-tier point man, but he's not better than Paul. Or Parker. Or Westbrook. Or a healthy Rose. He's not the best point guard in the league. Or even in the top five (sorry, Tony Allen).
Once's Pera's (and Allen's) momentary influx of jubilation subsides, I imagine he'll understand that to.
*All stats in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.