As the Phoenix Suns open training camp this week, it will be a crucial time to build relationships within the revamped roster that now features veterans Chris Paul and Jae Crowder.
For Paul, a 10-time All-Star, relationships within the organization brought him to the Suns, and further developing those relationships with dictate Phoenix’s level of success over the next two years.
The point guard’s relationship with head coach Monty Williams goes back to 2010 in New Orleans. Williams had his first head coaching gig in the NBA and Paul was an up-and-coming point guard with a few years under his belt. Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers a year later, but the impact of the relationship has withstood a decade as the two reunite in the desert.
Playing alongside Devin Booker was one of the biggest draws for Paul to orchestrate a trade from Oklahoma City this offseason. The shooting guard has shouldered much of the pressure and responsibility of the franchise over the past five seasons, and his noteriety reached new heights after an enlightened bubble run alongside a finally competent point guard in Ricky Rubio. Paul is believed to help take Booker’s game to the next level.
Paul has watched the Kentucky Wildcat’s ascension from afar but first met the future NBA star in 2015 as the shooting guard was preparing for the NBA draft. He left a lasting effect on his future teammate.
One of the potentially biggest benefactors of Paul’s arrival is center Deandre Ayton. The former No. 1 overall pick is a walking double-double and has yet to scratch the surface of his potential, especially on the defensive end. Chris Paul’s former pick-and-roll mates include DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Clint Capela, and the ability to receive well-timed passes, and well-timed tough love, from the highly-competitive point guard could unlock a new competitive dimension to the versatile big.
Relationships take time, and in the very rushed 2020 offeason, time is not a luxury Phoenix has to gel in a typical fashion. But these already established relationships for the newest Suns point guard could help take the Suns to a new stratosphere.