In his Tuesday ESPN column, Zach Lowe professed a pretty severe dislike of Chris Paul (and other guards) hitting the brakes to draw fouls on the fastbreak. This comes on the heels of Friday night's incident when Paul bumped knees with Anthony Davis, which resulted in the young big man having to be carried off the floor with a scary-looking but ultimately innocuous injury.
Zach Lowe is a god among sports writers, but the dude is wrong here. This is absolutely a basketball play. In fact, it might be the only play in these circumstances.
Chris Paul, like me, lists himself as 6'0" tall, and like me, is decidedly not 6'0" tall. This league is suddenly flush with long-armed 6'8"-plus monsters with strides like gazelles. If, as Zach Lowe suggests, Paul, and Kyle Lowry, and Russell Westbrook -- well, maybe not Westbrook, because he's a monster too -- simply dribble down the open floor and allow themselves to be freely chased by the likes of Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and DeAndre Jordan, the result would be this:
Chasedown blocks. Lots of them.
Guards, especially the smaller ones, will always be at a disadvantage in a league built for men built like trees. Drawing fouls may be the only weapon they have in certain situations. It's either that or risk having them attempt to draw a foul in midair at the rim, which seems like a major injury risk, a much greater injury risk than that during the play that happened last week.
What happened to Davis is unfortunate, but unfortunate things happen sometimes during basketball play. And Paul's play was most certainly a basketball play.