Following a stellar year that earned him a total of two NBA MVP first place votes, Suns point guard Chris Paul has earned a selection on the All-NBA Second Team. It is his 10th overall All-NBA selection, having been named to four All-NBA First Teams, one All-NBA Third Teams, and now six All-NBA Second Team. He last made an All-NBA Team last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, securing a Second Team nod as he turned that team around.
2020-21 All-NBA teams:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2021
First: Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard
Second: Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, LeBron James
Third: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Rudy Gobert, Jimmy Butler, Paul George
While many questioned the decision James Jones made this past offseason when he traded Ricky Rubio and fan favorite Kelly Oubre, Jr. to the Thunder (plus a Ty Jerome and pick) for Chris Paul (and Abdel Nader), the trade has paid off. Paul led the young Suns squad to their first playoff appearance in 11 years and earned an All-Star selection along the way.
Paul played in 70 of the team’s 72 games this season, averaging 16.4 points, 8.9 assists (3rd best in the NBA), and leading the league with a 93.4 FT%. The Point God shot 49.9% from the field, including 39.5% from beyond the arc.
The intangibles with Chris Paul are off unquantifiable — okay, made you can quantify his value right around $41M — as he truly molded the Phoenix Suns to fit his style of play. The work he has put in with third-year center Deandre Ayton is paying off in the playoffs and the comradery with fellow All-Star Devin Booker has excelled the team to the Western Conference Finals.
For the first time since the 2013-14 season, the Suns have Phoenix Suns have a player who has been selected to an All-NBA Team. That year Goran Dragic earned Third Team honors. Prior to that it was 2007-08 when both Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire earned second team honors. Many questioned whether or not the Suns would have two players on the All-NBA teams.
Although Devin Booker had a down year relative to his statistics, he played an important role in obtaining the second best record in the NBA. It appears that his efforts were not good enough for the media to notice as he did not earn an All-Star selection — he was later an injury substitute — and did not earn an All-NBA selection.
This should not come as a surprise to anyone. While members of the Phoenix Suns receive love from their peers, they do not from the media. Devin Booker was 4th in voting among players for the Western Conference backcourt, but the media did not provide one single vote for him to start.
Monty Williams, who won the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award (the award voted on by his fellow coaches) did not win the NBA Coach of the Year Award voted on by the media. That honor went to the New York Knicks’ coach Tom Thibodeau.
Mikal Bridges did not get any All-NBA Defensive Team love either, as he received 4 First Team votes and 31 for the Second Team. It was four short of making either. After all is said and done, the team with the second best record in the NBA finishes with two All-Stars (one an injury sub) and one All-NBA Second Team recipient.
I hate to use the word “snubbed”, especially considering the votes were cast prior to the NBA Playoffs. Devin Booker will get his regular season love following this year’s postseason exploits. At the end of the day, you know and I know it’s not about the individual awards. It’s about what this team is accomplishing as just that — a team.
Congratulations to Chris Paul for earning this selection. Thank you for being the missing piece that not only has put the Suns in the postseason, but for being the catalyst to their success.