Is Phoenix Suns Chris Paul the best version of CP3?
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Is Phoenix Suns Chris Paul the best version of CP3?

Chris Paul has played in different teams, but now that he is a part of the Phoenix Suns, the point guard made the Finals. Is the current Paul the best version of himself?

Different teams, different outcomes

CP3 in Charlotte

CP3 started in the NBA with the New Orleans Hornets. He stayed with the team for six years and shared the stage with future All-Stars such as Peja Stojakovic, Tyson Chandler, and David West. Out of these four, only Chris has not won a championship. Peja and Tyson won in Dallas while West won with the Golden State Warriors. CP3 has a chance to win one against the Milwaukee Bucks this year. 

The point guard made the All-Star four times in his six years in Charlotte. That says about his potential and consistency. As a Hornet, he averaged almost a double-double with 18 points and 9.7 assists per game. No matter how good his numbers were and how good the supporting cast around him was, the team only managed to make the postseason three times. The farthest they reached was Western Conference Semifinals. Paul was then shipped to the L.A. Clippers, where he spent the next six years of his career.

Paul in Lob City

With an even better supporting cast in Los Angeles, CP3 blossomed into a true floor general. The Clippers were labeled “Lob City” because each game was full of alley-oop passes from Chris to high flyers DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. With Doc Rivers at the helm, fans expected that the team would finally go to the finals and win the franchise’s first title. However, it did not happen. 

CP3 became an All-Star five times in 6 years as a Clipper. He virtually tallied the same averages in points and assists with his former team. In L.A., Chris averaged 19.9 points and 10.4 assists per game, which can be attributed to better coaches and teammates. The Clippers made the playoffs each year with Paul, but they never made it past the second round.

Paul the Ring Chaser

With more miles in his career, CP3 finally decided to hunt his first title. Teaming up with MVP James Harden sent shivers around the league. However, the two did not play beautiful music together. Sometimes, a team’s lineup seems beautiful on paper, but the chemistry is missing in reality. That was evident with Paul and Harden’s time in Houston. In 2018, the Rockets almost made the NBA Finals after reaching the Western Conference Finals, but the team fell short in 7 games against the eventual champions Golden State Warriors. 

When the Houston experiment failed, the Wake Forest University product decided the next step in his career is to mentor young players. He accepted a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2020.

CP3 still CP3

The Thunder was supposed to be in rebuilding mode for Paul in 2020. However, the team unexpectedly made the playoffs with him in charge. CP3 proved that he is still CP3 despite his age. With OKC making the postseason, it endangered the team’s chances of winning the lottery draft. After a year in Oklahoma City, despite being successful, Paul found himself suiting up for the Suns in 2021. 

A new era in Phoenix

With a superstar in Devin Booker and upcoming elite big man DeAndre Ayton, the Suns surprised many by making the finals this year. Considering the team never made the playoffs in the Orlando Bubble in 2020 makes the turnaround this season more meaningful. Chris Paul has got a lot to do with it. He may be old, but his leadership skills are second to none. He provided stability and locker room presence for the team’s young core.  

Now, Phoenix is reaping the benefits of gambling for CP3. Should they win it all, expect the Suns to contend for the title in the years to come. 

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