A season that changed Phoenix Suns basketball for the better started with the signing of Chris Paul, who immediately made his way to Phoenix to get up shots along side Devin Booker.
From that point on, you knew that this season was going to be special. It didn’t take too long, after an 8-8 start to the season, this years Suns team began to take off and take the NBA by storm. The main reason? Paul.
Finishing 5th in this years MVP voting sells Paul's season short. He was the reason that this Suns team finished with the 2nd best record in the West with a 51-21 record and managing to play and start 70 of the 72 games this season.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is a well deserving of the MVP winner and picked his game up with the absence of Jamal Murray. There wasn’t ever a question about who would win but where would Paul land in the voting results.
The presentation of the MVP trophy to Jokic will be interesting. The response by Paul and the Suns will be something to watch if Jokic does hoist the award before a game in this series.
To me, the focus will remain the same and fuel is already there for this team.
The way that Paul managed his minutes like a LeBron James during the season hurt his chances of gaining more first place votes. But it was smart. The way that Paul plays now is to be a finisher and to get the W.
Paul still finished the season with 16.4 points and 8.9 assists. Great stats for managing his minutes and his clutch play in the 4th quarter of games was second to none.
The same way he helped the Oklahoma City Thunder last year close games, he did the same here in the Valley.
At the mid-season point, there was a way for Paul to gain more attention, and that was to help Suns center Deandre Ayton get to the next level. And he did. Ayton played the second half of the season with great energy and showed a better understanding of where to be on the court, on the defensive end and offensive end.
But Paul did that for all his teammates.
Let’s hope Paul is ready to restructure his contract and stay with the Suns on a long term deal to end his career with deep playoff runs. To not resign the player who turned this franchise around would be a mistake.
After dropping 21 points and 11 assists in the Suns first game against the Denver Nuggets, Paul and the Suns are now focused on winning a championship. The Finals MVP is something I am sure Paul will feel as more special over the regular season award.