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We Celebrate All Things CP3 (And Are Crushed Over Giannis) | The Open Floor Podcast: SI's NBA Show

Chris Paul to the finals. Will Kawhi stay with the LAC? Plus who needs to get to the finals before it's too late?

In today's episode, Michael and Chris celebrate Chris Paul's greatness from multiple angles, wonder if Kawhi Leonard will stay in Los Angeles, think about the significance of a potential Hawks-Suns matchup, and, in the spirit of Paul finally making the Finals, list a few players they most want to see in the championship before their careers are over.

Jun 30, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) lifts the Western Conference champions trophy following the series victory against the Los Angeles Clippers in game six of the Western Conference Finals for the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The following transcript is an excerpt from the Open Floor podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.

Michael Pina: Chris Paul has had one of the 25 best careers in NBA history. He is one of the three best point guards who's ever lived. Before last night, he has never qualified for the NBA finals. And to see him reach that goal now at 36 years old, as the best player on the floor, was unbelievable, to the point where I just want to stop before we get into today's show, and process how impressive it was for a minute. After everything Chris Paul has been through, this was just one of the most glorious stories I feel like we'll ever see honestly, covering this league. So to try and capture the length of time it's been since he first started climbing to where he finally arrived last night. I'm going to speed-read you the top ten picks in the 2005 NBA draft. Are you ready Chris? 

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Chris Herring: Sure. 

Michael Pina: OK, they were in order, Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams, Deron Williams, CP, Raymond Felton, Martell Webster, Charlie Villanueva, Channing Frye, Ike Diogu, and last but not least, Andrew Bynum. So the point I'm trying to make here is that Chris Paul is extremely special. None of those other names are really, you know ... Shout out to some of them, they're all wonderful people, but none of them are relevant NBA players anymore. And I don't think any of them are even active. So, Chris, what were you thinking as you watched CP take over against the Clippers last night at Staples Center, of all places? 

Chris Herring: Well, I actually tweeted about this last night, I was thinking about this moment a couple of days ago when it became clear they were going to go up 3-1, and I tweeted it. I said, I know obviously, Phoenix would love to close this out in five when they go back home. You know Chris Paul of all people, doesn't want to mess around with a 3-1 lead and then you lose game five, OK, and then, 'oh shoot,' you drop game six as well. But what I basically said in that tweet is it would be really cool if for whatever reason, if they don't get it done in Phoenix at home in front of the Suns crowd – which obviously deserves a winner after this long. If they get it done in L.A. and Chris Paul has a role in it. And I basically tweeted that during game four, then they lost game five. And, you know, part of me was thinking, man, he might have a chance to kind of do this in L.A. And I tweeted this last night as well. Never imagined it would be 41 and eight with no turnovers. 31 in the second half, never thought that. But I did think it would be cool if he could get a win on what was his home floor for so many years – where he couldn't quite get it done. So it was incredible. What went through my mind last night was how many times he's gotten so close and all the reasons he didn't get close, some of which were completely out of his control. Even this year, the times that it seemed like he might get close, where he was playing out of his mind, and Phoenix was playing out of their minds and then his shoulder gets hurt, and then gets past that, starts playing well again, then he gets COVID after reportedly being vaccinated. It's like, what are the odds of any of this stuff? So then to play the way he played last night after struggling in the series quite a bit once he was back, just immensely cool. You know, I get that he is controversial to some people, that he's annoying to some people, but the numbers have always been there, the advanced numbers have always been there, and the impact that he has on teams. if we're going to keep it 100, all the players that link up with other stars thinking that it'll work just because they're stars, Chris Paul might have the best track record for picking which stars in which teams to link up with. And making winners out of them, or at least elevating them to a new level where they're a contender. I don't think many people looked at Phoenix this year and thought that they would be one based on just his addition, so shout out to him for that. But just very cool to me. I like seeing great players get to experience the biggest stage. I just think it's kind of a crowning achievement. Obviously, him winning it would be a bigger one. But getting to this point, regardless of what happens at this point, just happy for him. And I know this wasn't your question, but happy for Monty Williams, really happy for Monty Williams on a level where – you know, I don't give a damn about fandom or being a fan. I'm not really one of any team in particular. But Monty Williams I'm a fan of. If for no other reason, he deserves this. And it's really cool to see it come full circle for him and for Chris Paul at the same time, given that they've been together in the past. 

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