Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul is savoring his team's trip to the Western Conference Finals.
The future Hall of Famer dropped a game-high 37 points in a 125-118 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday. He told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes on the TNT broadcast some of his critics were "writing me off" years ago.
While Paul didn't specify the time frame in which he was referencing, the 2019 offseason would be one obvious guess.
The 36-year-old had averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists while shooting a career-worst 41.9 percent from the floor. He had also been unable to help the Houston Rockets avoid a second-round exit at the hands of the 2019 playoffs.
Coupled with his four-year, $159.7 million contract, Paul was a bit of a distressed asset. The Rockets attached two first-round picks to their trade package along with the 11-time All-Star in order to land Russell Westbrook.
For all intents and purposes, it looked like Paul's run as a key piece of a championship contender was coming to an end. Then came his resurgent 2019-20 campaign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, which put him in line for a move to a Suns franchise looking to take the next step.
A little bit like how the Cleveland Cavaliers' championship in 2016 led to a new level of appreciation toward LeBron James, the same thing is happening with Paul.
The veteran playmaker has long cemented his status as one of the best point guards of his generation, but postseason success has largely proved elusive. His hamstring injury in 2018 as the Rockets were on the verge of reaching the NBA Finals epitomized his overall luck during the playoffs.
Even if Phoenix doesn't go on to win a title, it will do little to alter how Paul is viewed after this year. Sure, the Suns had a promising young roster, but he was the final piece to help turn that potential into something more meaningful.