Welcome to our Phoenix Suns Season in Review series where we do individual PLAYER REVIEWS of each man that contributed in the 2021-22 season. We go through the roster to analyze what went right/wrong for them, and what they can do to get better for next season.
Check out all players covered so far here: 2022 Phoenix Suns Player Reviews, including Cameron Johnson, Devin Booker, JaVale McGee and more.
- Position: Point God
- Vitals: 6’ tall (maybe), 175 lbs, 37 years old
- Stats: 14.7 points per game, 49.3% shooting overall, 31.7% threes, 83.7% free throws (for 49/32/84 shooting splits), 4.4 rebounds, 10.8 assists, 1.9 steals
Take a look at how we’ve reviewed Chris since joining the Suns in 2020
- The Suns Acquire Chris Paul
- 2021-22 Player Previews: Chris Paul is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers
Regular Season Recap
Chris Paul had another great regular season (especially when you consider his age). Paul played every one of the Suns’ first 58 games and was looking as durable as ever before suffering a wrist injury. Paul also made his third consecutive All-NBA appearance (11th overall) after leading the league in assists for the fifth time in his career (first since 2015).
Paul ranked third on the team in scoring, first in assists (duh), and first in steals. Paul also paced the Suns in Win Shares (9.4) and Box Plus-Minus (5.4). Paul’s clutch shot creation abilities as well as his elite basketball I.Q was a major factor in the Suns having the best record in the NBA this past season.
This was Paul’s first season averaging under 15 points per game and yet it was still one of his best because of performances such as his 27 point game vs Utah back in January
Despite his career low points per game and near career low three point percentage, Paul was still a point God this regular season.
When looking at Paul’s overall playoff numbers, they look pretty good. 17.5 points, 8.3 assists, 1.5 steals on 56/39/95 splits. About what you’d expect from CP3. However, these numbers are slightly misleading.
The point god started off flaming hot against his former team, the Pelicans. Paul scored more points in game 1 against New Orleans than he did in any game this past regular season. In fact, Paul had more 28+ point performances through his 13 playoff games this season than he did in 65 regular season appearances.
Paul came up clutch against New Orleans as he led the Suns to the second round despite Booker’s injury issues. In game 6, CP3 had a playoff record night when he scored 33 points without missing a shot. 14/14 from the field, 4/4 from the line. Even Wilt Chamberlain has never done this.
After going up 2-0 on Dallas, things were looking cheery for Paul and the Suns. He was averaging 23 points, 10 assists and 1.6 steals on 58/33/97 splits. But this is when things took a turn for the worst.
Game 3 took place on Chris Paul’s 37th birthday and it almost seemed like an omen when he had an astonishing seven first half turnovers. Paul proceeded to have his worst 5 game stretch we have ever seen.
In games 3-7 of the second round, Paul averaged just nine points, six assists, 3.6 turnovers and four fouls per game. Some would say those are Patrick Beverley type numbers. Very disappointing from a player as decorated as Chris Paul.
Chris Paul’s biggest strength has always been his playmaking and leadership. He is third all time in assists for a reason and everywhere he goes, the teams get better. Yes he has never won a championship but it has (mostly) not been his fault.
Size and durability for sure. Paul’s durability has actually not really hurt him post Houston but his size will always be somewhat of an issue. Small guards tend to struggle as the playoffs go on and that is no different for Chris Paul. Being small also means it is easier for players to pick on you defensively. While CP3 used to be one of the best on the perimeter, due to his age he is no longer the pesky defender he used to be and is someone who can be exposed come playoff time.
What to work on
When you’re already a top 75 player of all time and are entering your age 37 season, it’s hard to come up with something for Paul to work on. He doesn’t really have a weakness on the floor that he can improve. Paul just has to show up when it counts. He did it in 2021 and was on his way to doing so in 2022 so we can only hope Paul doesn’t have the worst five game stretch of his career next season.
Paul has three more years on his deal that he signed last summer but the second one is only half guaranteed and the last one is completely non-guaranteed. Considering he will be 39 years old at that point I would not be shocked if the Suns wait until the last possible moment to guarantee his salary for that season. Regardless, Paul will be here for at least the next two seasons at 28.4 and 30.8 million dollars per season. Not too steep for an All-NBA guard.
Including playoffs this is how I will grade Chris Paul
Overall grade as an NBA player: B
Relative grade to preseason expectation: B
How do you grade Chris Paul’s year, including playoffs?
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