Could Chris Paul Make the Phoenix Suns Title Contenders?
UPDATE: The Suns traded for Chris Paul.
The Phoenix Suns have gone a full decade since making the NBA Playoffs. That was the Steve Nash era, so it's been a minute. Devin Booker was in junior high. DeAndre Ayton was in elementary school. Now the Suns are considering a trade for Chris Paul, who was still in New Orleans the last time the Suns made the playoffs. Can those three come together and make the Suns good again?
The quick answer is yes. The Suns had their most wins since 2015 before the pandemic shut down the season. When they showed up in Orlando, only so that the NBA could justify shoehorning Zion Williamson into the Disney bubble, they went nuts. They left the bubble as the only undefeated team, going 8-0.
Without changing anything besides the amount of experience Ayton and Booker have playing together, the Suns would probably be a popular pick to sneak into the playoffs next year. But if they add Chris Paul they might be downright formidable.
Even at his advanced age, he averaged 21 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and over a steal per game in the playoffs. He was healthy all year, appearing in 70 of the team's 72 games. Unlike the Suns, Paul has been to the playoffs for 12 consecutive seasons.
You put Booker and Ayton and Dario Saric around him and that's a really good starting lineup. Ricky Rubio, in the final year of his contract, would be an excellent backup. (He was part of the trade.) If you can cobble together a solid bench who knows what the Suns could do?
Obviously, it's a very long longshot that it all works out perfectly. Would Chris Paul coming in to run the show upset Booker who is reportedly already looking for a way out? There's only one way to find out.
Despite Paul's hefty price tag, he is the kind of addition a team in Phoenix's position should be looking for. They aren't signing anyone, so this is what they have to do. They can pay a premium and see if the bubble was more than an aberration. If it really works out and the young stars make a leap, it was worth it. If it fails miserably, it was probably never going to work in the first place. Just don't blame Chris Paul or his contract.