The Phoenix Suns were two wins away last season from winning their first NBA title in franchise history.
It was their first playoff appearance since 2011.
What was the biggest difference last season?
It was the addition of future Hall of Famer, Chris Paul.
Paul came to the Suns after one season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
His career has been nothing but spectacular.
However, he never made it to the NBA Finals.
That was the only thing that people would critique him on.
He did it in his first year with the Suns.
This offseason was important for Paul.
He had a tough choice to make between returning to the Suns, or chasing a title elsewhere.
Ultimately, Paul chose the Suns.
Chris Paul: Re-signing with #Suns an easy decision 🙏🏽
“It was an easy decision. Not only did I love the basketball aspect, but I’m also close to family (in LA) and Phoenix is a family, too. I’m excited to be back there.”
(via @JeffZillgit) pic.twitter.com/1TgFB5ywfc
— NBA Analysis Network (@HoopAnalysisNet) September 11, 2021
The choice was “easy” according to Paul.
That has to be a delight for the Suns franchise and their fans.
This was definitely the most important move this offseason and it wasn’t close.
The Suns Are Contenders With Paul
The Suns were not contenders for such a long period of time.
Once Paul came along, it all changed.
Without Paul, the Suns might have went back down to the bottom of the Western Conference.
That is why they needed him.
He changed the overall landscape of the franchise with his presence and play.
Which NBA teams had the best assist-to-turnover ratio last season?
1. Phoenix Suns ☀️ – 2.15
2. San Antonio Spurs – 2.14
3. Memphis Grizzlies – 2.03
4. Indiana Pacers – 2.02
5. Denver Nuggets – 1.99 pic.twitter.com/t6VxiIt8ys
— BasketballNews.com (@basketbllnews) September 14, 2021
Other teams did get better.
The Los Angeles Lakers got a bunch of new faces.
The Brooklyn Nets added a few new pieces.
Several other teams made key moves this offseason.
He might be 36 years old, but his play is still top notch.
Paul made another All-Star Game last season, while earning some consideration in the MVP race.
The team needed him to remain as one of the top contenders in the Western Conference and entire league.
The culture in Phoenix for some time was one of losing.
For a decade, the Suns could not make the postseason.
They were at the bottom of the standings.
Then in the bubble, we saw a glimmer of hope.
The Suns went undefeated and were one game away from clinching a spot in the play-in game.
Coming that close to the playoffs sparked a slight shift in the franchise.
That shift grew larger when they acquired Paul.
Now they have built a culture from the ground up.
Losing Paul would have hurt their climb to the top.
There were no other options for the Suns if Paul left.
This was their guy.
Sure, other top contenders got better.
However, Paul re-signing means more than just wins and losses.
He chose the Suns.
This team is not a big market franchise, or one with a long history.
Superstars usually don’t choose the Suns, especially over the last decade.
Devin Booker was looked to be a guy who can put up some good numbers, but never win.
Also, he would eventually leave and the Suns would have to start from square one again.
All of that has changed and it starts with Paul.
Phoenix made the best move this offseason and that was bringing back their floor general/culture-changer.