In the 2020 season, the Phoenix Suns fundamentally changed the landscape of their team and the entire Western Conference when they traded for future Hall-of-Fame point guard Chris Paul.
He reached the NBA Finals in his first season with them, only to blow a 2–0 series lead and lose in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Paul said that his experience there made him “addicted” to playing for the world championship, but even though it looked like Phoenix would make it back to the final round, they failed to do so.
In fact, he didn’t even make it past the second round, and Paul’s quote about being “addicted” is sounding bad now.
The Suns have not advanced past the second round since the 2021 NBA Finals. pic.twitter.com/Fh4tAX6UEh
– NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) 12 May 2023
Last season, after their championship failure, the Suns won 19 of their first 22 games, leading many to think they were a lock to return to the NBA Finals, if not win it all.
They took a 2–0 series lead, then blew a 3–2 lead over the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs, and with the Mavs’ Luka Doncic dealing with a weak supporting cast, it looked like Phoenix Heading west was a Conference Finals showdown with the Golden State Warriors.
Instead, they were shut out in Game 6 and Game 7, with Game 7 turning into a 33-point loss at home.
This year, the Suns fought to a 2–2 series tie with the Denver Nuggets in the second round, but they lost Game 6 by 25 points to end their season.
In addition to his lack of depth, which is a direct result of the controversial Kevin Durant trade, Paul is 38 years old, and he is clearly not the player he used to be.
Worse, he’s had a long run of injuries plagued the playoffs, and it continued this year when he missed the last four games of the Denver series with a groin ailment.
It’s starting to look highly likely that Paul, who was arguably the best pure point guard of the 2010s, will end his career without a championship ring.
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