Charles Barkley of “Inside The NBA” on TNT has been saying for months that Chris Paul should be getting much more attention as an MVP candidate.
In fact, Fox Sports personality Colin Cowherd even has Paul atop his list of MVP candidates.
“Next to LeBron James, nobody in the NBA has the ability to change your team’s win-loss trajectory. Nobody, except Chris Paul. Cowherd said on his nationally syndicated show “The Herd” on FS1.”
Paul isn’t into all the MVP talk himself and he says he’s only focused on the Suns continuing to improve. They currently sit atop the West standings and have the best record in the entire NBA.
Paul’s veteran influence has been glaring and despite being ringless has solidified his Hall of fame resume by navigating the young Suns team to Western Conference supremacy so far.
CP3 isn’t putting up monstrous numbers like Sixers big man Joel Embiid or Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, the two front runners for the award. But he’s arguably the biggest reason the “Valley Of The Sun” has risen again, and after clinching a playoff berth last week will participate in the postseason for the first time since 2010.
The last time the Suns were in the postseason in 2010, Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash (BK Nets head coach) was running the show.
When Nash won back-to-back MVPs in 2004-05 and 2005-06 he didn’t average 20 points in either season.
Nash averaged 17 points, 11 assists, four rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field, 43 percent from three, and 90 percent from the free-throw line.
Paul is averaging 16 points, 9 assists, five rebounds, and two steals per game, while shooting 49 percent from the hardwood, 38 percent from distance and 93 percent from the charity stripe
Phoenix finished 29-53 the year before Nash’s arrival for his second stint with the Suns, following six seasons with the Mavericks. The next season, Phoenix erupted with a 62-20 record under Mike D’Antoni and his “Seven Seconds or Less” offense orchestrated by Nash.
A 33-win increase coincided with Nash’s arrival, which also factored into a point guard winning the MVP award for the first time in 2004-05.
Although the Paul-Suns narrative may not be as powerful, it’s still very impactful.
Lol! Must have struck a nerve with that one. Don’t get it twisted I love the big fella but can we let the season play. Carry the hell on…
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) May 3, 2021
Phoenix has already won 12 more games (46-17 through 63 games) than they did all of last season (34-39 through 73 games).
“You watch a lot of these games and he’s hitting game-winning shot, “Sacramento head coach Luke Walton said about Paul.” He kind of controls the last six minutes of a close game better than anyone in the league.”
Paul is fourth in the league in assists this season, and he passed Hall of Fame greats Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson this season, to rise to fifth on the all-time list. That in itself will resonate with MVP voters when the time comes. Being that he’s 35 and in his 16th NBA season and still able to perform at a high level is another plus.
The Suns would’ve been in playoff contention had they stayed pat with their roster prior to adding Paul. But he’s made them a popular pick as a championship contender. He has vibrant, talented young pieces to control the chessboard with.
Devin Booker is a two-time All-Star who is having his most efficient season as a pro. Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson have improved immensely. DeAndre Ayton is playing much better and adding vet Jae Crowder has been instrumental.
The Suns have a deep roster under Monty Williams, who, along with Knicks resurrector Tom Thibodeau is the front runner for NBA Coach of the Year.
However, Paul has been the catalyst of it all amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
So it is my belief that all of those key factors make him a legitimate MVP candidate.
Again don’t ask Paul what he thinks, as he’s just focused on the continued resurgence the Suns have shown this season. Paul’s always said having a team mindset goes a long way in being considered for the biggest regular-season award as well.