After 16 years of an illustrious NBA career, his one chance to redeem his previous playoff woes fell short in his first NBA Finals. Many fans though that this was the year when he was able to finally make it to the Finals and even go up 2-0 in the series.
Unfortunately, that was not meant to be as the Phoenix Suns lost 4 straight games to the Milwaukee Bucks. It was great to see Giannis get his first ring, but what does this mean for the Phoenix Suns and Chris Paul specifically?
CP3 was traded to Phoenix alongside Abdel Nader from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Kelly Oubre Jr, Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque, and a 2022 First Round pick. Initially, people did not think that this trade would help the Suns really, but it turned out to be the complete opposite.
The past 3 years Chris Paul has been a huge impact and morale booster for the teams he has been on. In 2018, he helped lead the Rockets to the Western Conference Finals. In 2019, he led the very young Oklahoma City Thunder to the 5th seed in the Western Conference, who had a 0.1% chance of making the playoffs. Just this past season, he led the Phoenix Suns to their first playoffs in over 10 years, and helped them get to their first Finals appearance since 1993.
Why Is Chris Paul’s Legacy Tarnished?
It’s quite an easy answer, he is a playoff choker, these Finals marks the fourth time in his career that CP3 had a 2-0 series lead and lost. This puts him in elite company with ONLY himself, and that is very bad news.
He first fell victim to this disastrous curse in 2008 when he was on the New Orleans Hornets and they blew a 2-0 lead to the San Antonio Spurs in the conference semifinals. He then found himself in Los Angeles where things did not get any better for him. He blew his second 2-0 series lead to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013.
Two years later he found himself up 3-1 against the Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals and lost 3 straight games, including 2 at home. The next year CP3 broke his hand in a game 2 win and the Clippers ended up losing that series in 6 games as well.
Chris Paul tonight:
He is the first player aged 36 years or older with a 20/5/10 playoff game since 1965. pic.twitter.com/PSR0TsAxdy
— StatMuse (@statmuse) June 8, 2021
He got traded to the Houston Rockets in 2017 and in 2018 with a chance to go to the NBA Finals up 3 games to 2 against the Warriors, he suffered another hamstring injury and they ended up losing that series.
Even in the bubble, the Thunder forced the Rockets to 7 games and had a lead going late into the 4th quarter, which he then blew by basically giving the Rockets the lead with his poor play.
And now we’re back at it again with ANOTHER 2-0 lead blown, this time in the NBA Finals. He said that he had worked so hard to get here in this spot, but showed no desire to want the championship once they went up 2-0. The reason the Bucks won was that Giannis wanted it more than anyone on the court and it showed.
In my opinion, Chris Paul is still a hall of fame caliber player, first ballot for sure. But the fact that he has this history of blown playoff leads and no championships to back up his illustrious career makes it very difficult to call him the greatest point guard ever. He still has a chance to win a ring whether or not he decides to stay or leave Phoenix.
But as of right now, Chris Paul’s legacy has been tarnished because of his playoffs woes and he really needs to win a championship before he retires to fix that, if possible.