Muscle Sport Magazine

Chris Paul Looking For the Big Cherry On Top

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With tip-off for Game 2 of the 2021 NBA Finals ready to take place, a lot must be going through the mind of Chris Paul. The 16-year veteran has had the type of career that has garnered multiple player awards, but is missing the most sought after one of the team variety – a championship ring. He finally has the opportunity on his sixth team with the Phoenix Suns representing the Western Conference and leading the Milwaukee Bucks, one game to zero.

The teams are fairly even on paper with Phoenix getting a slight edge, so there will surely be split-down-the-middle action to calculate betting payouts.

The Eastern Conference champs have their own superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who came back from a knee injury suffered against the Atlanta Hawks in the previous round to score a double-double. But “The Greek Freak” has many more years ahead to try and win a ring, while “CP3” is closer to the swan song of his career and may not have another shot at it.

Paul has previously shed the label that even with all of his regular season accolades, he couldn’t even reach the conference finals. That happened during the 2017-18 season when he was a member of the Houston Rockets, who ran into a buzzsaw in the eventual NBA-champion Golden State Warriors. Since then, the point guard was eventually dealt away with then-teammate James Harden being the mouthpiece to the front office to move him and bring in his buddy Russel Westbrook. But Paul played well in Oklahoma City in 2019-20 and was flipped by the Thunder to Phoenix with forward Abdel Mader in exchange for forward Kelly Oubre, Jr., guard Ricky Rubio, guard Ty Jerome, guard Jalen Lecque and a 2022 protected first round draft pick.

Paul’s presence propelled the Suns back to the playoffs after an 11-year drought and he was the consummate veteran leader for a group made up of mostly younger players. He had a steady regular season (16.4 points per game, 8.9 assists per game and led the league in free throw percentage with a .934 mark. The Suns last made it this far in 1993 when Charles Barkley led them there, only to be bested by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls.┬áBack in 1976, the Boston Celtics defeated the Suns in The Finals, so they are looking for their first championship in their third go-round.

It would be taking advantage of a great opening if Phoenix can capture the crown this year. They defeated the media darling Los Angeles Lakers with their superstar laden line-up way back in the first round. Then they ousted the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers on the way to the match-up with Milwaukee.

Being an 11-time All-Star (including the MVP in 2013), the 2006 NBA Rookie of the Year and leading the league in assists four times and steals six times, Paul has been one of the top point guards and overall players in the NBA. That elusive championship doesn’t define every successful career – and will not make a difference in Paul’s case to be a slam dunk Hall of Fame inductee once he hangs it up – but it would be a feather in his cap, for sure.

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