Suns Notes: Paul, Jones, Sarver, Ayton

Suns guard Chris Paul suffered a right shoulder contusion during the team’s Game 1 victory over the Lakers on Sunday, but he was able to return to the game and later expressed optimism about his status going forward.

Speaking to reporters after the game (video link via The Arizona Republic), Paul downplayed the injury, declaring that he’ll “be all right.” Asked about whether he thinks he’ll be available to play in Game 2, the veteran point guard replied, “Absolutely.”

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • In a feature for Sports Illustrated, Rohan Nadkarni takes a closer look at how Suns general manager James Jones turned a perennial lottery team into a legit contender just two years after assuming control of the team’s front office. “You know, we talk about ceilings a lot, but the first goal was to raise the floor,” Jones said of his approach to building the roster. “I wanted us to stay grounded. It was important not to get far ahead of ourselves and have our guys thinking so far in advance. You take one step at a time, and every time you take a step you raise the floor.”
  • Speaking to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, Suns owner Robert Sarver admitted that this year’s team exceeded his expectations. Sarver said the team entered the season hoping to vie for a top-four seed in the West, which he viewed “a challenging goal, but obtainable.” Phoenix finished with the NBA’s second-best record.
  • Former No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton tells Shams Charania of The Athletic that he wants “to be certified as the best young two-way center who’s ever played the game.” However, with the Suns pushing for a title this season, Ayton – who averaged a career-low 14.4 PPG in 2020/21 – has been happy to take a step back on offense and play the role the team has asked of him. “Me playing like this, changing my play style and sacrificing certain things that I’m known for, that’s fine. Once it’s with winning, I’m perfectly fine,” Ayton said. “Everybody can eat, everybody is OK. I’m perfectly fine with it. I’m just a competitor, man, I love to compete and play with my teammates and love to be coached. Knowing what I do and what I sacrifice leads to wins, I’m happy.”
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