One way to describe this Phoenix Suns season would be disorganized. The Valley has been in 19 clutch games so far this season and are 8-11 in them. Late in games, they have perpetually been in disarray.
It was time for the Suns to move off of Chris Paul when they did. However, it is fair to wonder what the team would look like if he were still on it. While age, durability, and being an odd fit next to Kevin Durant and Devin Booker would be all fair concerns to have about him on the team, he would have provided something that this iteration of the Phoenix Suns needs, stability late in games.
In 2059 when aliens are taking down mankind, Fast and Furious 23 is in theaters, and GTA 7 is about to release, give me Chris Paul to organize a late-game situation, even at the ginger age of 74. The Point God organizes offense like no other.
Coming off the bench in his 19th season, Paul just recently had a span of five games averaging 10.2 assists. The Golden State Warriors went 5-0 in that stretch. While his scoring has dwindled this season, averaging a career-low in points, he is still able to contribute on the court. His play is not why Golden State has had a mediocre start to the season. His play-making is frequently on display when his team needs it. Look at this pass he made last week to help seal a Warriors win against the Boston Celtics.
STEPHEN CURRY.— NBA (@NBA) December 20, 2023
PANDEMONIUM AT CHASE CENTER.
The Warriors win an overtime THRILLER! pic.twitter.com/4a62M1Qnhc
If the Suns had someone who could do what Paul can late in games, their record and narrative about them would be much different right now, it’s just the truth. Perhaps collapses against the Thunder, Mavericks, and Knicks would be victories and there would be a completely different dialogue about Arizona’s team.
Pointing out Paul’s play is not to impulsively look back at what could have been done to avoid the struggling situation that Phoenix is in now, but it is rather to help point out why things are the way they are in the Valley currently.
The Bradley Beal trade was still the right one. Beal, when healthy, should be a better fit with Durant and Booker. No one saw this level of injury coming from Beal. Even by his standards, this is an injury-ridden season for him. The Suns already lacked financial flexibility and were heading toward cap hell. None of that would have changed keeping Paul.
That being said, with Beal hurt and his abilities unable to be utilized, it is fair to point out that the late-game execution that Paul excels with is missed more than ever in Arizona. There is a lot of season left and Beal should be returning soon, but the more time that Beal misses, the more Paul’s presence late in games is missed by the Suns.