CP3 this season is averaging the lowest number of points ever in his career. There is no denying that the point god’s championship window is rapidly declining. He has also shot the lowest field goal percentage since his rookie season. Can he help the Phoenix Suns win a chip before stepping away from the Game?
Injuries are taking a toll on Paul’s performance
Part of the reason why Chris Paul has never won a championship is injuries. Whether with the Clippers, Harden, or Booker and the Suns, CP3 has always had serious issues with injuries at crucial times in the playoffs.
In the Western Conference Finals 2018, Chris Paul was battling injuries and left James Harden alone against the Warriors. Had Paul not been injured, he and Harden probably would have won a ring.
This was true in the 2015 Western Conference Finals: LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets. Chris Paul had played all 82 games that season but got injured in game 7 against the Spurs. Even though the Clippers moved on to round 2, Paul was sidelined with a hamstring injury for the first two games. When he returned, the series was tied at 1-1. The Clippers were leading 3-1 and clearly should have moved on, but the Rockets came back to win against the Clippers historically.
While the Rockets won the series, one wonders, what if CP3 never got hurt?
Bad Games During Playoffs
When we talk about bad playoff performances, CP3 certainly has many of those. Today we look at some games that may have cost Paul a championship.
2019 Western Conference Semi-Final against the Warriors
The stage was set for the Houston Rockets to surpass the Warriors after a disappointing 2018 playoffs run. Both teams were tied two games apiece, and even Kevin Durant went down with an Achilles injury. At that point, the Rockets looked like they would pull away, but instead, the Warriors won two straight games to advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Portland Trail Blazers.
In game 5 against the Warriors, Paul shot 0-6 from beyond the arc while shooting 21.4 % from the field. The blame was not all on him, but his bad performance did not help either.
2021 Suns vs. Bucks Game 4 of the NBA Finals
Even though Devin Booker had 42 points in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the Suns still lost to the Bucks—part of the reason why were the 17 turnovers the Suns had. Paul finished with 10 points while shooting 0-2 from beyond the arc, 0 free-throw attempts, and 5 turnovers, according to @statmuse.
Paul did not make the best decisions and lacked aggressiveness in a game that would have put the Suns up 3-1. Instead, the series got tied at 2-2, and the Bucks never looked back.
Will history repeat itself for the Suns, CP3 in the 2023 Playoffs
As the playoffs are approaching, the Suns will make some noise. With Durant added to the team, there is no denying that the Suns are the favorites from the West.
Paul has been a floor general his entire career, and the weight of scoring the basketball has certainly been lifted from his shoulders with KD added to the team. Now CP3 can focus on what he does best: facilitating and closing as he did against the Magic.
Paul has all the help he needs to win a championship this season. As Paul approaches age 40, the championship window is closing fast, and this season may as well be the best chance he may ever get.