Leading the Phoenix Suns to their first postseason since 2010 and their first Finals appearance since 1993, the team came up just short of the goal. Chris Paul, regardless of his age, was eager to run it back after his first time in the championship round.
"For me it just mean back to work," Paul said following the game six loss in July. "Back to work. Nothing more, nothing less. Ain't no more victories or what not. We sort of saw what it takes to get there, and hopefully we see what it takes to get past that."
CP instantly shut down any thought that he may be walking away.
"I ain't retiring, if that's what you're asking, that's out, so, you know, back to work."
Image: Itoro N. Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice.
Amongst any sort of controversy that last season could have been a fluke and that Phoenix was unable to continue their pleasant style of basketball, the Suns are looking like a favorite yet again.
As the team's 11-game winning streak just concluded last night in Atlanta, the Suns have now won 11 of 12. Phoenix holds the NBA's best record with their best start in franchise history at 41-10, led by Paul who is rightfully so, a top-MVP candidate for a second consecutive season.
He has scored 18-plus points in seven straight outings. Soon to be 37 and just named to his 12th All-Star game, Paul nearly had a 20-20 triple-double coming up just two rebounds short this week against San Antonio.
As if it were a surprise, Paul is leading the league in assists with just over 10 a night. Once named North Carolina's Mr. Basketball, he has recorded 12 or more dimes in six of the Suns' last seven contests.
In fact, Paul has been so off the charts that his last six consist of 21 points, six rebounds and almost 13 assists shooting close to 52 percent from the field and a scorching 46% from three.
Image: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
"Chris Paul brings out the best in everyone," said Los Angeles Sparks forward and ESPN's Chiney Ogwumike. "The fact that we can say, 'this person is valuable, this person is valuable,' that's why they're atop of the NBA rankings."
The network's host of NBA Today, Malika Andrews went on to state how teammate Devin Booker is basketball's most efficient player in clutch time at 67 percent from the field. Paul is fourth in that category.
Recent improvement on the offensive end from one of the league's most stellar perimeter defenders in Mikal Bridges could also be due to a certain driving factor.
The point god.
The future Hall of Famer is in the midst of playing some of the best hoops in his career. Throughout every organization, each and every season, we see the pure affect of CP3.
Here in year two in Phoenix, his influence and elite play has his team failing to lose any sort of step as the Suns look even stronger.
"When I got hurt in Houston, like I told you, I went to a dark place for awhile," Paul told JJ Redick on The Old Man and the Three podcast. "But I'm over it, I'm over it. I don't dwell on it. I think I got to a point in my life where, a lot of people that go through things, they realize that, 'there's no way I'm here, doing what I'm doing now, had that not happened.'"
Paul has clearly learned from his tough past experiences.
"So many things changed in my life in the way I approached things, because of those situations."