The Phoenix Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, when they made the Western Conference Finals led by MVP Steve Nash.
Coincidentally, that was the last season that Chris Paul has missed the playoffs. Since then he’s qualified for the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons.
While he has yet to win a ring, Chris Paul has proven that he’s a winner. He cemented that legacy by leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to the 5th seed in the loaded Western Conference even after the team traded away All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Paul earned an All-Star bid himself, and the Thunder took the Rockets to 7 games in the first round.
The Suns have now traded Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a first-round pick to land Chris Paul for the 2020-2021 season, along with Abdel Nader for good measure. While giving up two of their starters and some depth may seem costly, Phoenix is determined to make this their year to make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.
The question now is, can Chris Paul get the job done?
Devin Booker is the best teammate Paul has had since James Harden. Booker tied a career high in pointer per game (26.6) on career high efficiency at every level. He benefited greatly from playing alongside a pure point guard in Ricky Rubio, and is sure to thrive alongside a player with Paul’s caliber. He made it to the All-Star game and with Paul setting him up may be able to put together his best season yet.
Besides the players involved in the trade, Phoenix also lost center Aron Baynes to free agency, who signed with the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. They were able to acquire Jae Crowder, a great 3-and-D player that should fit their system nicely.
This will be the most exciting team Phoenix has had in a long time, but they might be a couple moves away from serious contention in the loaded West. Time will tell if the trade will pay off for the Suns and if CP3 can turn the franchise around, helping Booker to further develop and possible sealing his future with the team.
Featured Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray
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