Phoenix Suns: Is This Chris Paul’s Best Team Ever?

Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul
Phoenix Suns, Chris Paul (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The 2021-22 Phoenix Suns vs the 2017-18 Houston Rockets

This Houston Rockets team nearly accomplished the unthinkable: taking down the prime Golden State Warriors. Unfortunately though, Paul injured his hamstring during the series’s sixth game, contributing greatly to the team’s demise following a seven game series.

Still, this group went 65-17, putting up the only winning percentage better than Phoenix’s from last year. They also built up the best scoring differential across this list with +8.5 points per contest for the season.

Paul also played with his greatest teammate during this campaign, MVP James Harden, who averaged 30.4 points, 8.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game. Paul himself added 18.6 points per contest, and Eric Gordon came on with 18.0 per game.

These Rockets also carried some sneaky depth by way of Gerald Green, Trevor Ariza, and Clint Capela, who collectively averaged 37.7 points per game. But even with such offensive skill, this group still stacked up incredibly well at floor’s the other end, allowing the sixth fewest opponent points per game that season.

Although these Rockets also play into Phoenix’s defensive strengths by averaging a wild 42.3 triples per game, they possess greater floor spacing than the 2014-15 Clippers, with eight players shooting above 35.0 percent from range. This makes these Rockets a totally different type of 3-point shooting team to defend…and one that this year’s Suns would more likely become overwhelmed with strictly due to its historic greatness.

At the same time, Harden strikes as a serious X-Factor here, with Paul obviously matching up with himself, and Deandre Ayton matched up against Clint Capela. Despite Devin Booker’s general basketball talent, he absolutely lacks the defensive skills to slow down peak Harden.

This team took arguably the greatest team ever assembled to seven games, and possessed a top five all-time offense by many accounts. So to an even greater extent than with the 2013-14 Clippers, the Suns deserve to feel no shame when falling below them.