Phoenix Suns: Final regular-season grades

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The Phoenix Suns finish their 2020-21 at 51-21 earning the second seed in the Western Conference and the NBA’s second-best record. The new-look Suns are a long way off from the team that barely missed the playoffs after a magical 8-0 run in the Bubble.

After Phoenix’s productive offseason, many had them making the playoffs around the five and six seed but nobody predicted them to challenge for the top spot in the West.

These Suns look hungry for the playoffs — and a first-round meeting with the Los Angeles Lakers — and aren’t content with just being there.

The dominant campaign comes down to the players and staff. Head coach Monty Williams was voted by the other coaches to win the NBCA Coach of the year award. Now time to assess the players.

The final grades for the familiar Phoenix Suns starting five.

Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul final grade: A+

In the second half of his debut season, Chris Paul entered the conversation for MVP of the league.

To be in the running for MVP at 36 years is no easy feat especially with numerous other superstars with MVP caliber seasons this season. Paul elevated his game from before the All-Star break to help the Suns raise their winning percent from 68.5% to 72.9%.

Paul’s points per game and assists per game raised slightly but what doesn’t go recorded is his ability to take over games. In an interview, he reiterated that he’s a “scorer” and chooses when he needs to score and when he needs to do something else. Evident in the Clippers and Knicks game in late April and early May, the veteran point guard took over in the 4th quarter to push Phoenix to victory.

The midrange is becoming a forgotten art in today’s NBA but Paul remains one of the best from inside the arc. He increased his shooting percentage from the field and from deep with a dominant 51.2% from the field and 40% from three. Getting to his vintage elbow jumper is almost automatic from CP3.

His basketball IQ is what has helped the Suns become a top team and contenders to make the Western Conference Finals. His presence as a confident leader has elevated the play of his teammates. There’s a reason that whenever Paul joins a new team their winning percentage quickly rises. He fit his role perfectly as the leader of the team.

Not to mention he entered the top 5 in steals and assists.