In his 17th NBA season, Chris Paul is still a central figure for the Phoenix Suns on this year’s postseason run.
But ahead of tonight’s Game 5 matchup against the Dallas Mavericks, NBA on TNT analyst Charles Barkley said he thinks some other Phoenix stars need to assert themselves as leading figures for the Suns.
Barkley called on Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton to “step up.”
“It shouldn’t be up to a 38-year-old guy to carry two All-Stars,” he said. “We talked about Devin Booker being in the MVP conversation. He’s a great player. It’s time for him to take over the team. Deandre Ayton played great in the first round of the playoffs. It’s time for him to step up.
“It’s time for Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton to step up.”
Booker leads all Phoenix scorers with 25.0 points per game so far on this postseason run. He’s averaging 26.5 points per game through the first four games of the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
After averaging 20.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game in the Suns’ first-round series against the Pelicans, Ayton has averaged 16.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in Round 2.
Paul, who’s averaging 19.8 points and 9.0 assists in the postseason, fouled out after just 23 minutes and five points in Game 4.
The Suns and Mavs are locked up at 2-2. Game 5 will tipoff tonight at 10 p.m. ET.