This year’s NBA playoffs have been a wild ride so far, with a ton of great match-ups. Almost every series has gone at least five games, and there have only been two sweeps so far. There have been five series that have gone at least six games, and there was one game seven that has been played so far, and it is looking like there may be more in store. Although the teams that are still standing have all looked pretty good, one team has shone the brightest, and that is the Phoenix Suns, led by Chris Paul, aka CP3.
Paul is one of, and many would argue, the best leaders in the NBA today. When he goes to another team, he always seems to make everyone around him better, elevating them to levels that the fans, and maybe even the players themselves, didn’t think they could play. He made a terrible Thunder team a playoff team last year, and he made the Rockets a very dangerous opponent to the juggernaut that was the Golden State Warriors. He also made the Los Angeles Clippers the better team in the Staples Center for the better part of seven years, when they got the nickname “Lob City”.
This is his first year with the Phoenix Suns, and he has flipped the culture upside down. Just a season ago, this Suns team was one of the worst in the league, seeing as though they hadn’t made the playoffs in 11 years. Now they are in the Western Conference Finals, and surprisingly, this is only Paul’s second time in the conference finals. However, it isn’t because he isn’t good enough to get there.
CP3 may have the worst luck any player has ever had. See, whenever it looks like he is going to break through, and have a great chance at winning a title, he gets hurt, or is taken out of a series in some way, shape, or form. When he was playing for the Clippers, he continued to get hurt before they even got a chance to really get going. In 2018, when he got the Rockets up 3-2 and looked like they would upset the Warriors, he got hurt and missed the rest of the series, and they lost in game seven.
In the first game of the playoffs this year, he hurt his shoulder getting tangled up with LeBron James, and we thought that would be the only issue he faced during the playoffs this year. But we were wrong. He is now being held back, due to the NBA Covid Protocols, that will keep him off the court for an extended period of time, and he could quite possibly miss the next series, or at least the beginning of it, depending on how long he has to sit, and when the series starts.
This team is definitely not the same team when their leader isn’t out on the floor, and none of the young players, led by Devin Booker, have ever been in the playoffs before, much less the conference finals. Let’s see if they will be able to hold on until CP3 comes back, or if this will become another tragic bump in Paul’s road to try and win a championship.
By Devin Foster, Junior, Bradley University
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