The season is over though Chris Paul has not been.
the Phoenix Suns The veteran point guard continued to work at the team’s training facility the next day Denver Nuggets The Suns got rid of the Suns with a Game 6 defeat Thursday at the Footprint Center in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Paul thought he was “close” to returning from a left groin strain he suffered in Game 2 of the series, but was unable to return in time to help the Suns avoid elimination.
“It was getting close, but it doesn’t matter now,” Paul said Friday after the team’s exit interviews.
The question now is whether Paul will return again Phoenix next season?
The firing of head coach Monty Williams on Saturday could mark the beginning of big changes for the organization under new Suns owner Matt Ishpea.
Paul still has two years left on his four-year, $120 million contract, but last year isn’t guaranteed. The third year of entry into the next season is partially guaranteed.
It becomes fully guaranteed on June 28th. The Suns can certainly look to trade him in the offseason.
“Unfortunately, I’m not the general manager or anything like that,” Paul said, when asked if he thought he’d be back next season. “So, we’ll see.”
The Suns traded Paul prior to the 2020-21 season and he proved to be the catalyst for reaching the NBA Finals.
The future Hall of Famer led the league in assists for the fifth time in his career in the 2021-22 season as the Suns posted the best record in the NBA with 64 wins, but Phoenix fell to Dallas Mavericks In the decisive game 7 of the semi-finals of the West.
This season, Paul has played more than ball Devin Booker Continue to evolve as a playmaker. He averaged a career-low 13.9 points on 11.3 shooting attempts, which matched a career-low he set in 2021-22, and a team-high 8.9 assists.
“It was great,” said Paul of playing with the ball. “You don’t play 18 years in this league at a high level and you don’t understand how to adjust and adapt to the game. I’ve been in this NBA a lot longer than some people have covered it. I remember when the games ended 80 to 85.”
Paul was the fourth overall pick from Wake Forest in the 2005 draft.
He continued, “I don’t talk about it often, but I know this game better than anyone.” “I put that up against anyone. That’s not going to change. It’s my knowledge of the game and I’m going to keep working. If you’re mad at it, you hate it, it’s on you.”
The Suns ended the season with a second straight embarrassing out in Phoenix with no urine on the floor this time due to injury. The Mavs beat them by 33 points in Game 7 last year and the Nuggets led by as many as 32 points in last week’s 125-100 victory.
With Phoenix animating the blockbuster movie of Kevin Durant Before the February 9 trade deadline, the Suns had two ball coaches in Booker and Durant who could create offense for themselves and their teammates, calling into question Paul’s role since he’s been the guy who set the table for everyone throughout his career.
In addition, Paul has had some slip ups on the defensive side and remains injury prone.
Paul played in only 59 regular season games, missing 21 due to injuries. 14 sat with soreness in the right foot and seven with soreness in the right thigh.
Paul then watched the end of the Phoenix postseason race from the bench.
“He’s a tough guy, it’s part of professional sports,” said Paul. “It’s unfortunate. You don’t want that. If that happens, you try to heal as fast as you can and get back to it.”
Paul certainly seems up to the challenge of making a comeback for what will be his 19-year-oldy NBA season.
“I don’t know if it gets harder as you get older,” said Paul, who turned 38 May 6. I play basketball every day. I am 38 years old. You can call it what you want, but I work hard every single day. I’m not going to act like I’m here by luck or something like that. I put work in it and put it to work for the long haul.”
Making the NBA 75y Anniversary Team, Paul is a 12-time All-Star and 11-time NBA selection. He made the All-NBA Defensive Team nine times, led the league in steals six times and assisted five times.
“You can parse, say what you want about it, but for me, it’s not hard because it’s work and not everybody wants to do that work,” said Paul, who is third all-time in assists. “A lot of people want to talk about it and analyze it, but all I do is put my head in and do the work and when you do that, I can live with the results.”
A change in speed
Paul continues to be a voice earned not only by his Hall of Fame career and knowledge of the game, but the impact he’s made in Phoenix since joining the Suns from Oklahoma City.
However, the Suns won Game 3 and 4 to even the series Cameron Payne as their starting point guard. Payne pushed the tempo as the Suns played him faster in the lineup.
In Game 1 and Game 2 playing at high altitude in Denver, their pace was 95.25 and they scored 190 possessions. The Suns averaged just 97 points and had an offensive rating of 102.1.
In Game 3 and 4, their pace picked up to 98.28 and they yielded 196 possessions. The Suns averaged 125 points and posted an offensive rating of 127.6 in those two wins.
“I feel like it’s picked up a lot, but even when I’m off the field now, it’s like, sometimes when you see something, you kind of repeat it,” Payne said before Game 5 in Denver. . “I feel it’s been very helpful for us. Working them with a transitional phase instead of going down and trying to play half the field all the time.”
The Suns scored 34 fast break points in Games 1 and 2. In Games 3 and 4, they scored 43 points.
“I think we’re a lot better when we’re in transition and we’re running fast,” Payne added.
Payne scored a playoff-best 31 points in Game Six.
While Paul is a better, more effective player than Payne, the Suns may be looking for a guard who can push the pace like Payne did.
Paul was recently selected as a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award for Social Justice, along with the Warriors Protect Stephen CurryForward grizzlies Garren Jackson JrAnd Celtics Forward Grant Williams and Tottenham goalkeeper Trey Jones.
The NBA will announce the winner during the Conference Finals and make a $100,000 donation to the social justice organization of the winner’s choice. The four remaining contestants will choose a Social Justice organization to receive a $25,000 contribution on their behalf.
Paul has been an advocate for historically black colleges and universities, showing tremendous support for HBCU colleges, their students, and alumni. Recently graduated from Winston-Salem State University.
Do you have an opinion about the current position of the sun? Reach out to Suns Insider Duane Rankin at email@example.com Or call him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @employee.
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This article originally appeared in the Arizona Republic: Phoenix Suns’ Chris Paul addresses pundits as questions arise about the future with the team