Sports

This is probably Chris Paul’s last chance to win an NBA championship


(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A year after losing in the NBA Finals to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, the Phoenix Suns are having a wonderful season.

They finished with the National Basketball Association’s best record of winning 64 games, which is also a team record, and they seem to have the type of momentum that indicates a team that is on the verge of winning the championship of the world.

Point guard Chris Paul, who was one of the greatest in his role for more than a decade and a future Hall of Famer in the first round, looks set to finally get a championship ring .

But there are some teams, like the Bucks, Golden State Warriors and Brooklyn Nets, that could prevent that from happening.

If Paul doesn’t win everything this summer, he probably never will for a number of reasons.

Paul rises up there in age

Although he takes great care of his body, Paul is 36 and will be 37 in the first week of May.

Even athletes who are meticulous about preserving their bodies end up losing to Father Time.

Paul is still a great player, but there may be signs of slippage.

His 14.7 average this season was a career low, and he set another career-worst mark by making just 31.7% of his 3-point shots this year.

Paul has always been the type of player who, despite not scoring a ton of points regularly, can score over 30 points every night.

This season, he has yet to reach the 30-point mark in a single game.

With each year he continues to play in the NBA, the odds of him falling off a cliff due to age continue to increase.

The Suns could lose a key player this summer

Some may have forgotten because they’ve played so well all season, but the Suns will face a crossroads regarding their starting center Deandre Ayton.

He will become a free agent this summer and the franchise has reportedly refused to grant him the maximum contract extension he requested.

The Suns have already exceeded the salary cap, and a stalemate could ensue, with the team ultimately choosing to let him go and chase big money elsewhere.

If that happens, Phoenix won’t be as great next season.

Ayton averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game while shooting 63.4 percent this season. The team uses him a lot in the pick-and-roll and gets him a lot of easy field goals when he rolls to the basket.

According to NBA.com, when Ayton was on the court this season, the Suns posted a solid offensive rating of 117.2, but when he wasn’t in the game, that number dropped to 110.6.

The rest of the league is improving

Next season, the Suns may have tougher competition for the NBA title.

The Golden State Warriors should be stronger if they stay healthy, and the Memphis Grizzlies are improving quickly.

The Los Angeles Clippers will likely be healthy title contenders again, and the Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, could reload again and return to title contender status.

Back in the East, the Brooklyn Nets’ best chance to win it all will likely come next year, as they’ll have a full training camp with their revamped squad, including (presumably) Ben Simmons.

Now is the time for Phoenix, because there may be no tomorrow.




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