Chris Paul Trade: Where Does This Position Phoenix?
It did not take long for the drama to start unfolding in the NBA as soon as the deadline for trades to begin came as the Chris Paul trade is already shaking up the Western Conference. For those not in the know, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded their veteran All-Star point guard to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Abdel Nader, Ty Jerome, and Jalen Lecque to Oklahoma City. While the only thing that has become clear for the Thunder is that their hopes for this season are certainly unclear, one has to wonder how well this move positions the Phoenix Suns. Does it make them a title contender, playoff contender, or does it even get them in the postseason window in the competitive West? Let’s take a deeper look.
Where Does Phoenix Stand After Acquiring CP3
A Look at the Definite Contenders in the West
While it is unclear what the Houston Rockets’ future looks like, there are still three to four teams in the Western Conference who have title aspirations. The Los Angeles Lakers will most likely re-sign Anthony Davis and are already re-tooling to defend their title as reports suggest they will trade for Dennis Schroder from the Thunder. Another key loss for Oklahoma City.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 15, 2020
The Los Angeles Clippers are hungry to prove their doubters wrong after blowing a three to one series lead this past season and are reportedly in the Rajon Rondo sweepstakes. The Denver Nuggets seem to be only one key piece away from making the next step and making the NBA Finals in large part due to the dynamic duo of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Last, but not least, we cannot forget the Golden State Warriors will have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back healthy and will be looking to reclaim their championship glory from two seasons ago. Not to mention, Golden State has a high draft pick which gives them several options. While the Suns have a solid foundation in place, it is hard seeing them compete in the top echelon of the Western Conference. What about the other playoff teams in the West though?
A Look at the Bottom of the Western Conference Playoff Picture
We already know that the Thunder will most likely be worse barring a miracle this year. Let’s say they and Houston fall out of the postseason picture. That leaves the six to eight seeds wide open. We can’t forget the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz, so we will assume they will be around the five to six seed range in this scenario.
Do you believe a young team, who finished last season undefeated in the NBA Bubble with a star in Chris Paul, can snatch one of those seeds? I certainly do. The Portland Trail Blazers will always be in the playoff picture with their elite backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. The New Orleans Pelicans need to retain Brandon Ingram in order to continue their trajectory upward. The Memphis Grizzlies will only get better with their young core led by Ja Morant.
While the Western Conference is still looking very tight, a young Phoenix Suns team with a newly acquired Chris Paul to pair with Devin Booker in the backcourt and a promising big man in Deandre Ayton should certainly be a threat to net a playoff spot. People doubted CP3 last season too and look how that turned out. This should be an exciting season for Suns fans after hearing about the Chris Paul trade.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images