Kevin Durant, flanked by Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia (l.) and GM James Jones (r.), answers questions from the media

Kevin Durant, flanked by Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia (l.) and GM James Jones (r.), answers questions from the media
Photo: Chris Coduto (Getty Images)

Once the Phoenix Suns pulled off the blockbuster trade of the year for Kevin Durant, many pundits began to pencil them in as the Western Conference representative in the NBA Finals. Looking at their core of Devin Booker, Chris Paul, DeAndre Ayton, plus Durant, it’s easy to see why they’d be catapulted back up the rankings in many people’s minds. The group’s elder statesman, CP3, has never been in a better position (on paper) to win an NBA title.

Since we know this, it shouldn’t be deemed unfair to say it’s time for Paul to pay this off. The “Point God,” as some of you love calling him while getting older and declining, must take full advantage of the opportunity that’s fallen into his lap. But of the players comprising the Suns’ new “Big 3 + 1,” no one is under more pressure to deliver a championship than Mr. “Point God” himself.

Despite constant backlash in Golden State for three years, Durant helped the Golden State Warriors make it to three consecutive NBA Finals appearances and won back-to-back titles and Finals MVP awards in the process. Booker is a great young player and even got league MVP consideration last season, but he isn’t held to that same standard at this time. And Ayton sometimes appears as if he wants to be anywhere but Phoenix.

The moniker is better suited for other legends

CP3 is the only player besides KD in any all-time great conversation. Yes, Paul is one of the best to ever play the position, but he’s not a “god.” While he didn’t give himself the nickname, there are at least a few point guards who deserve that moniker over Paul. Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas are the first two that come to mind for most long-time NBA followers. Thomas’ middle name is actually Lord, so he’s got Paul on a technicality. But nobody called Thomas the “Point Lord” during his days in the association. He led the Detroit Pistons to three Finals appearances in a row and won back-to-back championships.

Some would rank Oscar Robertson and Stephen Curry ahead of Paul on the all-time point guard list. While Curry is more of a shooting guard (in style of play), he’s been listed as Golden State’s PG his entire career. As a technician on the court playing that position, Paul is the prototypical PG, unlike Curry, who is more of a hybrid or combo guard. When it comes down to credentials and accomplishments, Curry gets the nod over the so-called point god. Robertson even has a championship ring and was the first player to average a triple-double in a season.

Paul has been a great player and played on some very good teams, although some were vastly overrated. Like those Clippers teams he played on that were picked to make the Finals multiple years by national columnists and hosts like Stephen A. Smith. How did Paul, Blake Griffin, and that crew repay those who believed in them blindly? Multiple second-round exits in the postseason. When the Clippers finally broke through that second-round barrier in 2021, Paul Griffin and others were long gone.

Now, the 37-year-old assist machine has another chance on a team that has the second-best odds of winning it all. Durant’s been banged up this year, and the Suns traded for him, having knowledge of this fact. But there will be no room for excuses once Durant is back and healthy, along with Paul, Booker, and Ayton. Paul is no longer the best player on his team, but he could be the most important component in the Suns making a deep run this postseason. If the Suns’ core four are healthy in the playoffs and don’t at least make it to the Finals, all this “Point God” nonsense needs to cease. He’s an all-time great player for what he does, but he ain’t no god, son.


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