Across September, Valley of the Suns will deliver predicted stat lines for all 16 players currently contracted to the Phoenix Suns for the 2022-23 season.
Chris Paul once again produced an All-Star and All-NBA level season for the Phoenix Suns in 2021-22, with ‘The Point-God’ dishing out 10.8 assists per game to lead the league. Yet, once playoff time came around, Paul had his injury and form struggles that played a major factor in the Suns’ eventual elimination.
The same issues could have been said about Paul after Phoenix’s Finals loss a year prior. Is there reason to suggest he won’t bounceback in similar fashion again?
Will father-time finally catch up to Phoenix Suns point-guard Chris Paul, or can the veteran deliver another All-NBA worthy season?
Paul goes into the 2022-23 season at 37 years of age, carrying a body that’s been through the rigours of everything the league has to throw. While Paul’s resilience is clearly evident, the Suns need to do a better job of managing him throughout a long regular season.
The 12-time All-Star averaged 32.9 minutes last season, the most of any of his last seven years dating back to 2014-15. Unfortunately, the Suns continued lack of alternative point-guard options threatens to place heavy pressure on his shoulders again.
Perhaps the workload can be reduced by giving increased opportunity to the Suns younger players, namely their core four of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson. Allowing them to expand their offensive roles not only helps in the long-term, but it might help reduce the pressure on Paul in the short-term.
While Paul maintained an incredibly high-level last season, there was one aspect that quite clearly fell away. After shooting at least 35.5% from three-point range in 16 of his last 17 NBA seasons, Paul shot a poor 31.7% in 2021-22. Is that a sign of weary, older legs, or can he reproduce a rate closer to 40%?
Preparing Paul for a playoff run should be the single biggest importance of his regular season. For that reason, and the general decline given it’s his 19th season, don’t be surprised to see his numbers decrease from what we saw last season.
Predicted statistical averages – 31.1 minutes, 13.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.2 blocks, 2.3 turnovers, 49.7% FG, 35.1% 3PT