JJ Redick Did Not Tell A Single Lie As He Debated Chris Paul Vs. Bob Cousy On ‘First Take’

Every now and then, J.J. Redick will head onto ESPN’s First Take and debate stuff, which is normally why people go onto First Take. Our latest example of this came on Wednesday morning, when Redick went on in the aftermath of the Phoenix Suns’ 125-114 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans and got roped into a debate around Chris Paul with the show’s midweek guest pundit, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

For whatever reason, the two got into it with one another about Paul’s legacy — some of you might recall the time Russo and Stephen A. Smith yelled at one another over Steph Curry’s legacy, so this is ground that Russo very much likes to tread, especially when it comes to lionizing older players. Well, Stephen A. decided to largely stay out of the way on this one, because at one point, Redick was asked if Paul is an all-time great point guard.

“He is an all-time great point guard,” Redick, a former teammate of Paul’s, correctly said. “If he wins a championship, he’s in the conversation for the greatest point guard ever.”

“Aw, no he’s not!” Russo said, setting up the fundamental disagreement that would define the next minute or so of television. And then, he said four words that very much come off as a conscious attempt to piss Redick off: “He’s not Bob Cousy.”

Cousy, of course, played from 1950-70 and won six titles with the Boston Celtics. He is frequently brought up in old school vs. new school debates, in large part because his highlight videos are always in black and white and feature him dribbling almost exclusively dribbling with one hand, something Redick brought up.

“Bob Cousy couldn’t dribble with his left hand,” a visibly annoyed Redick said.

“Bob Cousy changed the game!” Russo responded. “Chris Paul didn’t change the game!”

While it is very easy to disagree with that statement, Redick deftly did not get caught up in that attempted bait and kept moving forward. He did, however, stumble into territory that Russo really loves to get all riled up over.

“Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series,” Redick said. “Let’s celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can’t compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA.”

The two then went back and forth with one another over Jerry West and Oscar Robertson really quickly, and when Russo seemed to imply that Paul has never been first-team All-NBA (he has four times), Redick dropped the hammer.

“Did Bob Cousy ever shoot over 40 percent from the field in his career?” Redick asked. Russo conceded this was correct, but slid in that Cousy once had 29 assists in a game.

“He was being guarded by plumbers and firemen,” Redick said. Here’s what happened after:

Smith, at this point, hopped in to to say Redick was right, while Russo continued to say “he changed the game” without ever directly pointing out how he did this. After Smith proclaimed that Paul is one of the five-best point guards of all time, Russo managed to get one more dig in.

“I gotta think about that for a minute, that seems a little strong for me,” he said. It would be nice if we can hurry up with the whole invention of time machines thing so we can settle this conversation once and for all.