Father Time is undefeated.
Chris Paul has put up one hell of a fight, but it’s time for reality to set in for the veteran point guard and Phoenix Suns fans alike.
No, I’m not saying it’s time for him to hang up his shoes and retire for good. He can still be effective in the right role, which is something he doesn’t have a chance at doing with how depleted the Suns are right now.
Paul has already missed a significant chunk of the season, and in the games, he has played more often than not they’ve been down at least 2-3 key rotation pieces which amplifies his workload over the course of the game.
Quite the opposite load of responsibility you want to put on your 37-year-old point guard.
Tomorrow will mark Game No. 35 of the season. Suns rotation players’ missed games after that:— Matt Petersen (@TheMattPetersen) December 26, 2022
Ayton: 5 (14%)
Booker: 6 (17%)
Payne: 9 (26%)
Shamet: 10 (29%)
Paul: 15 (43%)
Johnson: 27 (77%)
Crowder 35 (100%)
Looking at the stats can answer quite a few questions about where exactly his dropoff has been.
He is shooting a career-low 39.8% from the field.
Yikes. And the true shooting percentage is also a career-low 52.6%.
I believe part of that is the lack of explosiveness and his inability to create any real separation. He can still get to his spots more often than not, but it’s not as efficient or quick as he has in the past, which leads to stronger contests.
His shooting percentage from the midrange is at just 42%.
For most, that’s a respectable number. Last season he was at 55%. As stated previously, he just isn’t getting the separation he needs to get the clean looks he’s used to.
His plus/minus is just 1.6, which is the lowest since his rookie and sophomore seasons in New Orleans.
The good? His assist-to-turnover ratio is the best it’s ever been. He’s currently at a 5.06 assist-to-turnover ratio which is a career-high for the Point God.
In 20 games, CP3 has averaged 12.3 points, 9.1 assists, and 4.6 rebounds on a 39/34/79 shooting split.
What can be done?
Simply put, this falls under James Jones and company to make moves. This team isn’t just one piece away, they need to add at least two key rotational pieces and get relatively healthy to get where they want to go.
Taking as much pressure off Chris Paul (and Devin Booker to a lesser extent) as possible should be the goal. It sounds like a broken record at this point, but lack of shot creation and rim pressure have haunted the Suns since the 2021 NBA Finals. Nothing has been done to address the elephant in the room, and that simply needs to change.
If Chris can be a game manager who “lets the kids play” and picks his spots, he can still be a vital cog in the machine.
The personnel combined with poor health luck have put the Suns in a tough spot, and they just need to weather the storm until reinforcements arrive.
Another element in his game that he needs to grow into is the catch-and-shoot game from deep. This grows especially true if they add another shot creator to the team because the looks will be there for him.
"I just got to get used to catching and shooting."— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) December 18, 2022
Chris Paul as he went 5-of-7 from 3 in #Suns win over #Pelicans.
"I do it here and there, but 17 years, I've never really done it. So it's nice to play with somebody who gets double teamed. Most of my career, I was that guy." pic.twitter.com/EBuC56CjZc
He still has good basketball ahead of him, the Suns just need to make sure they do everything in their power to get it out of him when it counts.