The Phoenix Suns are up two games to none in the 2021 NBA Finals from their Tuesday and Thursday night wins over the Milwaukee Bucks. Game one showcased yet another stunning performance from the Suns 16-year veteran, Chris Paul, who was the leading scorer with 32 points and was 12 of 19 for field goals, per ESPN.
Paul may be looking at his first championship ever but that doesn’t mean his career has been without prolific accomplishments. His leadership and league experience has rubbed off on this team and made them one of the most unstoppable franchises this year. Phoenix Suns Chris Paul
Don’t call him the Point God for nothing.@FanDuel | Stat Line of the Game pic.twitter.com/m7a12Gf5Bl — Phoenix Suns (@Suns) July 7, 2021
Looking back in time
Paul started his NBA career back in 2005. He was the number four pick in the draft, selected by the New Orleans Hornets at age 20. In his first season, he won rookie of the year averaging 16.1 points and 7.8 assists per game. He played five seasons with the Hornets and since then has played with four other teams.
Those teams include the LA Clippers, the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and his current team, the Suns. He has played in the playoffs with all five of these teams and has started in 123 playoff games prior to making it to the finals. That is the most playoff starts of any player in NBA history without making a finals appearance, per Malika Andrews courtside reporting.
Paul has played in the All-Star game 11 times, has won All-Defensive player of the year nine times, and in more recent news has passed the legendary Magic Johnson on the NBA all-time assist list with 10,275 assists, placing fifth overall, per ESPN.
Leading with confidence
Paul has showcased incredible leadership for this relatively young Suns team. As the oldest player on the roster, many of his teammates have praised him for his guidance both on and off the court. Devin Booker, who has been a key element to the Sun’s success, spoke very highly of Paul.
“Chris Paul’s been a bucket, man. CP is the greatest leader to play this game,” Booker said per Mark Medina’s reporting.
"He deserves a ring, and now I have the opportunity to help him get one." Mikal Bridges talks playing with CP3 in the #NBAFinals. pic.twitter.com/RJOKldRQFV — NBA TV (@NBATV) July 7, 2021
Paul’s 2020-2021 season highlights
This season is arguably Paul’s best season yet. With a regular-season record of 51-21, the Suns ranked 1st in the Pacific Divison. Although many thought the Suns would not make it past round one of the playoffs since their first opponent was the defending champs, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Not only did they beat the Lakers but they defeated the Denver Nuggets in four games and the Clippers in six, securing the Western Conference title easily. Paul contributed to that domination, averaging 19 points per game and 8.7 assists in the postseason. Paul was even in the MVP conversation and although Nikola Jokic secured that title, the Finals MVP candidate is still up in the air. He would be a worthy candidate for this honor.
Elite company 👀 Chris Paul is the first player with 30 points and 8 assists in an #NBAFinals debut since Michael Jordan in 1991. pic.twitter.com/6gNKVNQvcd — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 7, 2021
At 36-years old, it’s no question that Paul’s NBA career will be coming to an end soon. But what better way to close it out than with his first ring.
Comment below what you think Paul’s chances are at securing a championship and bringing the Suns a title for the first time in franchise history.
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Featured Image via Getty Images Phoenix Suns Chris Paul
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