Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul is undoubtedly one of the best point guards ever. He’s racked up the fifth-most assists in NBA history, played in 11 All-Star games, and made nine All-NBA teams and nine All-Defensive teams.
While there is no debating Paul will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer one day, a case can be made he is the unluckiest player in NBA history following the news that dropped a few days after the Suns swept the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2021 playoffs.
Chris Paul tested positive for COVID-19 and is out indefinitely
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Paul has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and is sidelined for an indefinite period of time. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports is reporting that the veteran guard has tested positive for COVID-19 despite getting the Pfizer vaccine in February.
The Suns are 8-2 in the 2021 playoffs. They defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round in six games and took out the Nuggets in the second round in four quick games. Paul is averaging 15.7 points and 8.7 assists while shooting 50.9% from the field, 44.4% from beyond the arc, and 91.2% from the free-throw line. He has recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered in Game 1 versus the Lakers but now has to deal with COVID-19.
It’s unclear how many games Paul will miss in the Western Conference Finals since the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz are still playing their second-round series. The NBA has yet to release the schedule for the conference finals, but the Suns’ chances of beating the Clippers or Jazz would decrease significantly if Paul misses multiple games.
Paul has had a tremendous career, but it’s impossible not to see that he has some of the worst luck ever. After all, this COVID-19 situation isn’t the first time he’s had something bad come up in the playoffs.
Chris Paul has never been to the Finals, but it hasn’t always been his fault
In the 2015 playoffs when he was on the Clippers, Paul was one win away from advancing to his first conference finals. LAC had a 3-1 lead over the Houston Rockets in the second round and looked well on its way to going on a deep postseason run.
However, Paul and the Clippers lost three consecutive games and blew their 3-1 lead. Game 6 of that series has to be one of the biggest choke jobs in postseason history. The Clippers got outscored by the Rockets 40-15 in the fourth quarter and lost 119-107 after taking a 92-79 lead into the final period.
Paul’s bad luck was on full display again in the 2018 playoffs, this time as a member of the Rockets. In Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals versus the Golden State Warriors, CP3 hurt his hamstring and was lost for the series. Houston took a 3-2 lead after winning Game 5, but couldn’t win Games 6 or 7 without Paul. Most Rockets fans believe their squad would have beaten the Warriors had Paul not hurt his hamstring.
It’s unfortunate that Paul has had so much bad luck during the playoffs. Suns fans can only hope that he will be able to suit up at some point in the conference finals against the Jazz or Clippers.
It would be a shame if CP3 never wins a title
If Paul never wins a title, he would join Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Elgin Baylor — just to name a few — as Hall of Famers who never captured a championship. That would be a shame, considering the Wake Forest product has always played the game the right way and given it his all.
If the Suns can defeat the Clippers or Jazz, Paul would likely be cleared to play in the Finals. We also don’t know for certain if the 36-year-old will miss the entire conference finals, so there is still some light at the end of the tunnel for Suns fans.
Paul has career averages of 18.3 points and 9.4 assists. He would trade all of his individual accolades for a championship in a heartbeat. At this juncture, Suns fans can only pray that their point guard gets a chance to compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy this year and play the game he loves on the NBA’s biggest stage.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.