Phoenix Suns: A Thank-You Letter to Point Guard Chris Paul

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Oh Chris Paul, what a season it was for you and the Phoenix Suns. We all fell into a trance while watching the “Point God” dribble circles around defenders before pulling up for mid-range beauties this year. Everything from the impossible shot he hit to snap the New York Knicks’ nine-game winning streak, to the 41-point scoring barrage he catapulted us to the NBA Finals with, it left us Suns fans with nothing but love for Paul.

This year, CP3 looked poised to reach his goal of an NBA championship finally at age 36. A 32-point performance with a side of nine assists allowed him to join Michael Jordan as the only other player to drop at least 30 points and eight assists in an NBA Finals debut.

How quickly did it all change though. The Suns won the next contest after that, but then proceeded to drop four in a row and consequently lose the series. Now Paul has a player option that might prompt him to leave Phoenix this summer.

But instead of worrying about the finals loss and Paul’s pending decision, let’s look back at all which he accomplished for the Suns this year.

A Winning Culture

Making the playoffs for the first time since 2010, the Suns finally became a winning team again this season. They also became a convincing winning team for that matter, finishing with the second seed in the Western Conference. If that was not enough, the Suns also willed themselves through the playoffs all the way to the NBA Finals—a highly impressive accomplishment for a group considered by many as a fringe playoff team to start the season.

Paul taught the Suns how to practice a standard of excellence each day, a level of competitiveness that is almost unmatched, and how to play to win on every possession. The Suns had no idea the focus level he would bring when they acquired him, but they absolutely appreciated it.

Heading into the future, Phoenix’s core will believe in themselves because of CP3. Unlocking new talents and assets for all three studs, Paul’s improvement efforts will last for the rest of Devin Booker’s, Deandre Ayton’s, and Mikal Bridges’s careers.

A winning culture is precious. It beautifully contradicts teams who become accustomed to losing, and put themselves into a never-ending cycle of lottery-oriented dreams. But now with a winning culture themselves , the Suns will reman in the thick of things, fighting for more success in the foreseeable future.

The Improvement of Deandre Ayton

During the regular season, Ayton often looked out of place while on the floor. Whether related to the open layups he passed up, or how often he let the ball slip through his hands, Ayton’s struggles were notable. But that changed dramatically in the playoffs, as Ayton evolved into a legitimate third option on a Finals team, with much thanks to Paul.

Ayton publicly shared his love for the veteran point guard following a Western Conference Finals game a few weeks ago.

Paul teaching Ayton about the intangibles of the game while displaying an unmatched level of leadership was what really took the Suns from a good team, to true contenders. Now the future looks bright for Ayton. From being a potential letdown, the big man seems destined to earn All-Star honors as a center next year.

My Final Words

Suns fans will never forget the memories Paul brought them this year. I sincerely thank CP3 for putting the Suns out of their misery, and making them a Finals team. Without Paul, the Suns probably receive a trade request from Booker this year, and stay in the depths of the Western Conference standings.

Next. 3 Players Who Just Played Their Last Games With the Phoenix Suns. dark

If Paul decides to move on, there should be no hate, but only love and appreciation for his contributions to the present—and future Suns.