Chris Paul finished No. 5 in MVP voting this season — but the Phoenix point guard believes the Suns have a different MVP in this year’s playoff run.
Paul has dubbed third-year big man Deandre Ayton as the team’s most valuable player in the postseason.
“He runs, he rebounds, he does everything. He’s literally been the MVP of our postseason so far,” the veteran PG said.
While Paul and Devin Booker have put together some pretty incredible backcourt performances, Ayton is the lone presence holding down the fort in the post for the Suns.
Through eight playoff games so far, the former Arizona Wildcat is averaging a strong double-double — 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. He’s also done a solid job of containing league MVP Nikola Jokic, holding him well under his 30.5 playoff scoring average through Games 1 and 2.
After Paul suffered a shoulder injury in Game 1 of the first round, the Suns’ young stars were forced to step up. But now that the veteran “Point God” is seemingly back close to 100%, Phoenix is starting to look like a legitimate title contender again.
In the Suns’ 25-point victory over the Nuggets in Game 2, Paul had 17 points, 15 assists and zero turnovers — marking his third career 15 assist-zero turnover playoff performance (most in NBA history).
With a strong 2-0 lead over the Nuggets, the Suns will travel to Denver to take on Game 3 at 10 p.m. ET.