In the 2020 offseason, the Phoenix Suns radically altered the landscape of their team and the entire Western Conference when they traded for future Hall-of-Fame point guard Chris Paul.
They 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 have failed to do so.
In fact, they haven’t even made it past the second round since, and Paul’s quote about being “addicted” is looking bad now.
The Suns have not gotten past the second round since their 2021 NBA Finals run. pic.twitter.com/Fh4tAX6UEh
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 12, 2023
Last season, coming off their championship failure, the Suns won 19 of their first 22 games, leading many to feel they were a lock to return to the NBA Finals, if not win it all.
They took a 2-0 series lead, then a 3-2 lead over the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the playoffs, and with the Mavs’ Luka Doncic dealing with a lackluster supporting cast, it looked like Phoenix was headed toward a Western Conference Finals showdown with the Golden State Warriors.
Instead, they got blown 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.
Aside from their lack of depth, which is a direct consequence of the controversial Kevin Durant trade, Paul is 38 years of age, and he’s clearly not the player he used to be.
Even worse, he has a long injury of suffering injuries in 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 extremely 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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