Chris Paul is back in Phoenix with the Suns, and now they try to complete what they started last season. With the return of Paul, Phoenix is running it back and trying to get back to the NBA Finals.
Last season, the Suns lost to the Bucks in 6 in the NBA Finals after blowing a 2-0 series lead.
At 36, Paul signed a four-year, $120 million contract with the Suns this offseason, and according to the 11-time All-Star, returning to Phoenix was an easy decision.
“It was an easy decision, though,” Paul said about returning to Phoenix. “This is close to my family, and this became my family last year. Not only being here in Phoenix was fun basketball-wise, but it was fun as far as life. Being around these guys, those of you that work know that anytime you go to work and you don’t feel like you’re at work and you really get a chance to enjoy what you’re doing, it’s always a nice feeling. So doing that here with the team that we had, the coaching staff, I wanted to come back.”
Obviously, anytime you get to the Finals, the expectation the following season is to get right back there, and Paul was asked about the expectations for the team this season.
“Man, I think our expectations is to come in and start the process over again,” Paul said. “We got to work, day one. It’s not like you come into this season and be like, ‘Alright, playoffs is set. We’re going to start where we were last year.’ No, there’s a lot of things we can get better at, and we want to get better at. And that’s the whole fun part of the season. Getting as far as we did was cool and well, but when we all saw each other, we were basically reminiscing on the process, all the moments that got us there.”
Getting back to the Finals won’t be easy. The Western Conference opened up for Phoenix last season. The Lakers were banged up in the first round, Denver was not healthy in the second round, and the Clippers limped into the Western Conference finals, so things worked out in Phoenix’s favor.
However, the Suns still has a very good basketball team, and they have Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton, and in the offseason, they added JaVale McGee, Elfrid Payton, and Landry Shamet.
Will it be enough? Not sure; the Lakers, Nuggets, Clippers, Jazz, and Warriors will be strong this season, so a return to the Finals may not happen for the Suns, but Phoenix will definitely be in the mix.