The Phoenix Suns just keep steamrolling every opponent in front of them, as they own the best record in the NBA by a country mile.
Because of the success of the defending Western Conference champions, NBA odds overwhelmingly favor them to get the job done this season and win the NBA championship.
A lot of that has to do with the play of Devin Booker, who in many people’s eyes should be the MVP despite Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid being heavily favored to take home that award.
Booker has established himself as one of the best scorers in the league with his ability to take defenders off the dribble, shoot the three and hunt for his shots in the mid-range and finish at the rim.
Because of that versatile skill set, he became the fourth-youngest player to put up 11,000 points in a game, as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant are the only three players to have achieved that feat at a younger age than Booker.
Booker has stepped up his game big time with the absence of Chris Paul, as he’s averaging 29.9 points on over 53 percent shooting to go along with 7.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.9 steals per game in his 12 games since the All-Star break.
Chris Paul Returns
But with CP3 making his return on Thursday night, the Suns got the jolt they desperately needed down the stretch of the season, as there’s still plenty of time for this group to work out the few flaws this roster has while preparing for the most grueling games of the season.
Booker and CP3 are easily the main reason why the Suns have been as successful as they have been this season, but there’s a whole cast of characters that have helped the Suns get to where they’re at right now.
Deandre Ayton is playing the best basketball of his career, as he’s averaging over 17 points per game on nearly 65 percent shooting. Ayton is unstoppable when he gets his ideal positioning in the post, as he can turn to his wide array of hook shots while backing down his defenders. He also works extremely well off the pick-and-roll with Booker and Paul and makes his finishes around the rim look effortless when given feeds from his superstar backcourt.
Mikal Bridges has also emerged as a key piece in the valley, as he’s a huge beneficiary of wide-open looks from three or at the rim created by the gravity of Booker and Paul and provides a huge boost on the defensive side of the ball with his ability to stay in front of his opponents.
The Suns are second in the league in offensive rating and third in defensive rating, which speaks to the versatility of this roster. That is the perfect recipe for a team that is looking to win a championship.
Who Could Win the West?
The West is pretty much theirs to lose at this point in the season. The Golden State Warriors are not anywhere close to the team they were to begin the season, and while the Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, and Minnesota Timberwolves could give this team a scare, the Suns will likely have enough to fend off any one of those teams.
If the Suns were to get to the Finals, their two likeliest opponents would be the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.
The Nets will be tough to stop now that they got a full-time Kyrie Irving to go alongside Kevin Durant, who is probably the best player in the game today. The Nets’ defense has been a sore spot, however, so Phoenix could easily take advantage of that, especially when they go to Ayton inside.
The Bucks just defeated them in the Finals last season due to a historic Finals performance by Giannis Antetokounmpo. If last year was any indication, they had no answer for the Greek Freak.
Having said all of that, a motivated CP3 could push all the right buttons of his group so that he can finally earn his first ring.