Phoenix Suns point guard and NBPA president Chris Paul is getting set to take part in his first NBA Finals as the Suns tip off Game 1 tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks, but Paul took time to address the critics of the compact schedule that has been a hot topic throughout one of the most unique and challenging seasons in league history.
The NBA embarked on a shortened season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 72-game compact schedule that many are pointing to as the reason for so many injuries to a number of superstar players during the playoffs.
“Man, one thing about our league and its players is everything is always a conversation,” Paul said on Monday, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “There’s a ton of guys on the executive committee who are working hard on things right now, as we speak — day in and day out, traveling. I wish you guys knew all the things that are going on. So, decisions that are made as far as playing or not playing, players are always involved in it.
“Injuries are always unfortunate. You hate to have them. But just like when we went to the bubble, everything was discussed as far as the players and the full body of players. Everything that’s good for this guy and that guy might not be the same for that guy, but everything has always been a conversation, and it’s going to continue to be that way. So, if people don’t like it, then you know everybody has the same opportunity to be a part of all these conversations.”
The Bucks will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo for Game 1, and maybe more, due to a hyperextended left knee.
“The pressure they put on the paint has been pretty consistent, even with Giannis [out], but you see a different way of doing it now with Jrue [Holiday] attacking and [Brook] Lopez diving,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “That’s been something that we have to respect. You have to respect them anyway with Giannis getting into the paint — in transition, in isolation, when he dives in the pick-and-roll, especially with [Khris] Middleton. So, without Giannis, there seems to be a different way of attacking the paint. And then all of their guys that crash the boards.
“So, they haven’t stopped playing the way they want to play. The pressure on the paint has been pretty consistent in the playoffs.”