The Phoenix Suns are exceeding most people’s expectations this season. The Suns lead the “rest of the pack” in the Western Conference behind the Jazz, Lakers, and Clippers. They’ve recorded their best start since the 2007/08 season and going into the game against the Nets, they’ve won nine of their ten previous games. They have the 6th best defensive efficiency and 6th highest overall net rating in the league. And all that while juggling injuries and positive coronavirus tests.
The Suns showed their capabilities in last year’s Orlando bubble when they’ve had a fantastic run, but eventually, they didn’t make the playoffs. This year is another story, and people are “blaming” Chris Paul for that. CP3 asserted himself as a leader, and the Suns are now unlocking all of their potential with him leading them. Phoenix’s playmaker is averaging 16.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 8.2 assists this season. One of CP3’s ex-teammates, Matt Barnes, explained Paul’s value to the team.
“This is the CP3 effect. I knew once they’ve got their chemistry down, CP3 was going to be the best thing to Booker and Ayton. CP has a long list of making bigs better: Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, Clint Capela, and Ayton might be the most talented out of all of them, so he’s benefiting. And then taking the pressure of Devin Booker, who is one of the best young scorers in the game. So although he hasn’t won a championship, he’s a winner, and he’s an extension of Monty Williams on the court.”Matt Barnes, The Jump
Barnes played alongside Paul in the Clippers, and he’s been saying from the start of the season that the Suns will profit from Paul’s game.
“He has the Phoenix Suns playing great. They were my team to watch this season, and they haven’t let me down at all. He’s competitive. In the past, the people have complained about his delivery, and he’s been working on that, But everything he’s saying is always right. They are number six in the league in defensive rating, and that’s very important. CP3 effect is in full effect on both sides. He’s a great communicator and listens to everyone, and talks to everyone, and that’s what’s going on. They’re all in sync, on the same page, and we’re seeing how good Booker and Ayton are when someone is mentoring them.”Matt Barnes, The Jump
The Suns are moving towards a high seed in the playoffs, and Paul is giving himself another shot in the postseason. They aren’t in the contender talks, but the Suns could be a team that everyone in the West would likely want to avoid.