- Chris Paul has entered the COVID-19 protocols and is out indefinitely
- The Suns’ odds to win the Western Conference have slumped following the news
- Is there any value in backing Phoenix amid such uncertainty? See a breakdown of the latest news on Paul’s situation below
Chris Paul is heading into COVID-19 health and safety protocol. As reported by Shams Charania, the future Hall of Fame point guard is out indefinitely. This has unsurprisingly had an impact on the NBA Western Conference odds.
Paul and the Phoenix Suns are awaiting the outcome of the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers series to find out their Western Conference Finals opponents.
Odds to Win NBA Western Conference
|Team||Odds at FanDuel|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+200|
Odds as of June 16th
Phoenix has the luxury of a few days off before their series with either the Jazz or Clippers. Inspired by Paul’s majestic play, the Suns swept the depleted Nuggets, while the Jazz and Clips are tied at two wins apiece. The Suns could have as much as a week off before starting the Conference Finals.
At this stage, it’s unclear how much time Paul will miss. Charania noted that the isolation period can be shorter for vaccinated individuals, but it will also depend on whether this was a result of contact tracing or a positive test.
Chris Paul has entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols, per @ShamsCharania
He’s out for an indefinite period of time pic.twitter.com/XFNtOMQAH8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 16, 2021
It’s possible that Paul returns before the Conference Finals. Seeing the word ‘indefinitely’ will scare Suns backers, however, and with good reason. Phoenix is not the same team without Paul. As talented as the rest of this roster is, they are dependent on Paul as a shot creator, clutch scorer and leader.
Playing Without the Point God
Going into a series against the Jazz or Clippers without Paul would make the Suns heavy underdogs. It would be foolish to write them off, though, particularly after how they performed against the Lakers.
If I’m Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Jason Tatum, I’ve got BEEF. You can’t tell me they weren’t one of the top 15 players this season..
— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) June 16, 2021
Paul played every game in the first round series, but a shoulder injury made him far less effective than usual. He was being treated like Ben Simmons as a shooter, and his trademark mid-range game was ineffective. Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton stepped up for the Suns, with Booker putting in a masterful Game 6 performance to see off the defending champion Lakers.
While he was far from his All-NBA best, Paul was still impactful as a playmaker and leader. This, of course, will not be the case if he misses games through health and safety protocol. The inexperience of this Suns team could show without Paul.
Devin Booker said Deandre Ayton will come over to him on the bench to talk about how live the crowd is and reference how it was before, and then Book jokingly says he saw how it was before DA's time in Phoenix too.
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) June 10, 2021
With home court advantage over the Clippers, Phoenix would fancy their chances at snatching one of the first two even without Paul. If they’re on the road in Utah, going 0-2 is far from a disaster. Should Paul miss more than two games, though, it becomes difficult to see how the Suns make it to the Finals.
Still Value Here on PHX
With such little clear news about Paul, it’s probably worth holding off until there’s a better idea of how long he will be out. The extra rest is in Phoenix’s favor regardless of Paul’s isolation, however, and it remains possible that this is nothing more than a scare.
Chris Paul trying to sneak into the Western Conference Finals: pic.twitter.com/6eIvJHCSUI
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 16, 2021
The odds haven’t lengthened drastically. This could yet be the best time to back them to win the West. With Los Angeles and Utah potentially playing three more grueling games, the Suns are going to have a considerable advantage early in the Conference Finals.
In a postseason so heavily impacted by injuries, neutrals will hope the health and safety protocols don’t deprive us of the Point God in the Conference Finals.