PHOENIX SUNS

Michael Malone: Chris Paul could be greatest point guard of all time

Jun 14, 2021, 12:23 PM | Updated: 2:37 pm
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns shoots and scores on a three-point attempt under coverage by Niko...
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns shoots and scores on a three-point attempt under coverage by Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Four of the Western Conference second-round playoff series at Ball Arena on June 13, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Who is the greatest point guard of all time?

Before the start of the 2021 playoffs, that answer included three frontrunners.

Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Oscar Robertson.

But after point guard Chris Paul’s historic series against the Denver Nuggets, there may need to be more discussion.

Paul re-entered his name into the GOAT conversation with a career high 37 points on an efficient 14-of-19 shooting from the field. He also shot a perfect 9-of-9 from the charity stripe and tallied seven assists, which moved him into 13th on the all-time playoff assists list.

In the series alone, Paul averaged 25.5 points, 10.3 assists and did not miss a single free throw.

“Chris Paul could arguably be the greatest point guard of all time,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said after Denver’s season ended with a 125-118 loss to Phoenix on Sunday.

Others that can make a case for the “best ever” title are Stephen Curry, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Isiah Thomas.

Following the Suns’ first sweep since 2010, Paul and Malone met at half court to exchange kind and heartfelt words. The two were together in New Orleans from 2010-11 under Phoenix head coach Monty Williams. Malone was an assistant on Williams’ staff.

“Mike Malone is one of my favorite people in the world,” Paul said.

“Sometimes you have coaches that are coaches, but sometimes you have relationships that last a lifetime.”

The 36 year-old said after the game in an interview with TNT’s Chris Haynes that just a couple of seasons ago people were writing him off because of his age.

Williams was glad to hear that.

“I’m happy that the people did do that because it fueled an already highly competitive, strong-willed, maestro of a point guard and basketball player,” Williams said.

“You never want to count out a guy like Chris.”

“It ain’t always been sweet for me,” Paul said.

“I’ve always had to grind. I like that mentality, and that’s always been who I’ve been. I’m going to stay that way.”

And that mindset is one of the reasons why he is considered as one of the greatest point guards ever.

Even with an eight-point lead with under 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 4 against Denver, Paul did not let up.

“There was 18 seconds left on the clock, and I was still on their (expletive),” Paul said.

“That’s just the way that I am. Monty always talks about playoff games, and the heartbreaks that you can have. I’ve been part of those heartbreaks. I’m not comfortable until the clock says zero on it.”

Behind Paul’s leadership and late-game heroics, the Suns are now in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 11 years.

Phoenix Suns

Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to pass against Raja Bell #19 0f the Phoenix Suns in...
Arizona Sports

The 5: Suns to earn 1st Team All-Defense honors before Mikal Bridges

Suns forward Mikal Bridges made the NBA's First Team All-Defense as announced Friday, becoming the first Suns player to do so since 2007.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones speaks to the media regarding the firing of Suns head coac...
Kevin Zimmerman

Phoenix Suns salary cap Q&A for the 2022 offseason

Here's a quick Q&A covering how the Phoenix Suns might navigate this offseason from a financial perspective.
3 days ago
(Instagram/LeagueFits)...
Jake Anderson

Suns’ Devin Booker wins LeagueFits MVP, Chris Paul named to 2nd Team

Phoenix Suns All-Star guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul were recognized for their drip off the court by LeagueFits on Friday.
3 days ago
Mikal Bridges #25 of the Phoenix Suns steals the ball from Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks ...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns’ Mikal Bridges named to NBA’s 1st Team All-Defense

Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges was named to the NBA's First Team All-Defense, the league announced on Friday.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder, center, pass the ball to teammate JaVale McGee (00) as he drives ...
Kevin Zimmerman

Suns’ offseason questions: How Phoenix can remake role player ecology

The Suns could be faced with trading veterans and retooling their bench to save money and better complement Devin Booker and company.
3 days ago
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Chris Paul #3 during the second half of th...
Dan Bickley

Focus should be on Chris Paul after Suns’ unexplained collapse

Monty Williams, according to multiple sources, had something of a fallout with Suns point guard Chris Paul.
4 days ago
Michael Malone: Chris Paul could be greatest point guard of all time