Hornets guard Paul named NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Month

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

NEW ORLEANS – The NBA announced today that New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul was selected as the Western Conference Player of the Month for games played in December. The honor is the first of Paul’s career. He becomes the fifth Hornet to win the award and first to receive the honor since Jamaal Magloire (April, 2004).

“It is an honor to receive this award and to be recognized in a conference with so many great players,” said Paul. “I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates and I look forward to us continuing to work together towards our goal of reaching the playoffs.”

Paul averaged 24.5 points, 10.4 assists and a league-high 3.00 steals in guiding the Hornets to a Southwest Division-best 9-5 mark in December. Paul’s month included two 40-plus-point performances and three games with at least 15 assists. With season averages of 21.5 points, 10.2 assists and 3.00 steals, Paul is attempting to become the first player to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 assists and 3.0 steals for a season.

“Chris is a special player, he is the leader of our team and has been playing at an All-Star level all season,” said Hornets Head Coach Byron Scott. “It is great for him to be recognized for his play this month.”

Paul collected eight double-doubles (has 15 for the season, second most among NBA point guards), led the team in assists in all 14 games and in scoring seven times. He collected a career-high 43 points to go along with nine assists, five rebounds and four steals in a 118-116 OT win vs. Memphis on Dec. 7. Paul ended the 21-game losing streak to Dallas by pouring in 33 points, nine rebounds and 12 assists in the 112-108 win over the Mavericks on Dec. 1. On Dec. 26, he had 40 points, five rebounds, nine assists and five steals in a 117-98 win at Memphis. Paul collected a career-high seven steals along with 20 points, six rebounds and nine assists in a 86-76 win over Cleveland on Dec. 29.

Paul ranks first in the NBA in steals, third in assists, eighth in double-doubles, ninth in free throw percentage and is 20th in scoring, while helping the Hornets equal their best start in franchise history after 31 games (20-11).