Kevin Garnett says Kevin Durant could extend Chris Paul’s effectiveness in Phoenix

The Phoenix Suns were reportedly in talks to trade for 15-time All-Star and 2004 NBA MVP Kevin Garnett in 2007, a deal that would have certainly helped the team's defense and perhaps could have provided the boost it needed to win a championship around that time.

That did not happen, and Garnett went on to win a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008 after he was traded to that team. The Suns were unable to win a championship during the 2000s with two-time MVP Steve Nash and Co., and the team faded into a disastrous stretch for most of the 2010s.

Thankfully for the Suns, times are different. They are favored to win the Western Conference for the second time in three years thanks to their trade for superstar forward Kevin Durant, who is 8-0 when he has been in Phoenix's lineup.

It is easy to see how Durant, one of the NBA's most adaptable players, has benefited Phoenix. In a conversation with former Sun and 15-year NBA veteran Matt Barnes in his ‘KG: Certified' podcast, Garnett said Durant's addition could extend Suns starting point guard Chris Paul's effectiveness with less of a need for him to produce offensively.

“A player like KD changes you instantly,” Garnett said. “…we forget Chris Paul is on this team, right? We forget (center) Deandre Ayton. These are two other guys 30, 40 (points) in the league. And you know who KD helped out of all of this? He helped Chris Paul. I think this could actually extend Chris Paul's stay at Phoenix.”

Paul, who will turn 38 years old in May, has to receive plenty of credit for the accomplishments the Suns have had in the last three seasons. His trade to the team before the 2020-21 campaign transformed their expectations, which they perhaps exceeded with a run to the 2021 NBA Finals.

Last season, the Suns had a franchise-best 64 wins. Paul, a known playmaker with a very high basketball IQ, was a big part of that.

However, injuries have not been kind to Paul in his career, especially in the postseason. He suffered a right shoulder contusion in Game 1 of the Suns' first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021 and later had torn ligaments in his hand in the playoff run. He did not look healthy in the final games of the 2021 Finals and had tape wrapped around his off-hand and looked reluctant to dribble with it.

According to reports, Paul dealt with a left quad injury last postseason, which was after he was out for 15 games later in the regular season due to a fractured thumb.

Paul does not have to do as much offensively this season, however. He has the lowest usage rate of his career according to Statmuse, which could reserve his energy more.

Paul is shooting 52.3 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers this season, a weapon that could benefit the Suns with Durant and guard Devin Booker as primary shotmakers.

Even though Paul is older, he is still a very effective player. He averaged 21.0 points on 60.5 percent shooting (56.5 percent from 3-point range) in his last three regular-season games played.

Paul totaled seven 3-pointers in the Suns' win over the Denver Nuggets Thursday, which was his most for a regular-season game in his 18-year career.

Paul has two more seasons after this on a four-year, $120 million contract signed with the team after the 2021 postseason. He is older but can still be effective. According to Garnett, the Suns need to thank Durant for that.

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