PHOENIX SUNS

ESPNRank: Chris Paul, Devin Booker are top 15 NBA players for 2021-22

Sep 25, 2021, 6:56 AM
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and guard Chris Paul celebrate during the first half of Game 5 ...

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) and guard Chris Paul celebrate during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, Tuesday, June 1, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

As the 2021-22 NBA season quickly approaches, Phoenix Suns guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul were once again regarded as some of the best players in the NBA, this time in the annual NBARank by ESPN.

The ESPN panel this week released its best players for 2021-22 and placed Booker at No. 15 and Paul at No. 13, both jumping two spots in the rankings from last year.

The two stars have been getting plenty of love from the media during the offseason, including a top-20 rating for both of them in the eyes of Sports Illustrated writers.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin spoke to how Booker could be on a revenge tour after losing the NBA Finals.

One big question: After the Suns took a 2-0 lead in the Finals, Booker’s championship round was a mixed bag. He struggled mightily in Game 3, scoring 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting, followed that up with back-to-back 40-point outings in Games 4 and 5, and went 8-for-22 with six turnovers as Phoenix was eliminated in Game 6. Booker responded with a gold-medal summer in Tokyo, with the disappointment still fresh. Can he keep up his revenge tour by helping the Suns back to the mountaintop?

Booker finished the year averaging 25.6 points per game, 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists.

Paul is coming off a landmark season where he finished top-five in MVP voting and reached his first NBA Finals.

He averaged 16.4 points per game, 4.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists in 70 regular season games, just missing two games during the shortened season.

McMenamin has concern for Paul as he will have to gear up for the 82-game season and there will be a target on the Suns’ back as defending Western Conference champions.

Cause for concern: As brilliant as Paul was in making the first Finals run of his career, it came at a cost. His left wrist, which he injured in the conference finals and played through, required surgery in the offseason. Now entering his 17th season, the 36-year-old point guard will be tasked with the challenge of a full, 82-game season for the first time in two years while playing for a team that opponents will circle on their calendars all season long.

The Suns tip off their preseason on Oct. 4 against the Sacramento Kings before gearing up for the regular season opener against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 20.

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ESPNRank: Chris Paul, Devin Booker are top 15 NBA players for 2021-22