The Phoenix Suns ended a decade-long playoff drought this season. Not only that but they finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference. A big reason for the team’s success was the addition of Chris Paul.
During the season, Chris Paul posted averages of 16.4 points, 8.9 assists and 4.5 rebounds per outing. Paul also shot 49.9 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from 3-point range. This was the third-highest long range conversion rate he’s posted in any season of his career.
Unfortunately for Paul and the Suns, he sustained what is being called a shoulder contusion in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns managed to take the series openen 99-90. However, Paul was a non-factor in Game 2, finishing with a stat line of six points and five assists. The bigger concern is that he played just 23 minutes. This suggests that the injury is more serious than we thought.
“It’s pretty obvious,” Williams said after Game 2. “He’s not able to make the passes he wants. He was laboring tonight. I don’t want to get into too many details until I talk to him. But you could see that his arm wasn’t … he wasn’t even running the way he ran and dribbled the ball this morning.”
Chris Paul has been one of the premier point guards in the NBA. On the other hand, this isn’t the first time the All-Star guard has sustained a postseason injury over the past several years.
Chris Paul’s postseason injury history
In 2015, Paul suffered a hamstring in the series finale against the San Antonio Spurs. He managed to play through the injury, but was forced to miss the first two games of the next round against the Houston Rockets. Although he did return, the LA Clippers lost the series in seven games.
Then, in 2016, Paul broke a bone in his right hand in Game 4 against the Portland Trail Blazers. At the time of the injury, the Clippers were up 2-1. Paul was unable to return and the Trail Blazers took the next three games.
The most devasting postseason injury for Paul occurred in the 2018 NBA playoffs. That year, he and the Rockets squared off against the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals. The Rockets took a 3-2 lead through the first five games, but Paul pulled his hamstring and did not return. The Rockets lost that series in seven games.
Fast forwarding back to the present, Paul finds himself in an all-too familiar situation. A team that is capable of a deep playoff run that is in need of his on-court leadership. Perhaps, the injury gets better as the series progresses. Then, again, perhaps that doesn’t happen.
If the latter scenario plays out, the Suns could see their postseason run come to an end before it even got started.