Phoenix Suns has always been a franchise that has had very good players throughout its history, some even with MVPs, such as Charles Barkley or Steve Nash, who has two. However, the team from Arizona has never been able to reach the greatest achievement that a franchise can get, the NBA ring.

The Suns came very close to achieving it, as they have reached the NBA Finals three times. In 1976, they lost 4-2 against Jo Jo White’s Boston Celtics; in 1993, they lost 2-4 against Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls; and in 2021, they lost 2-4 against Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks.

All this may change this season, because the Phoenix Suns are one of the great favorites to win the championship this year. This is due to the fact that in the last regular season transfer market, they acquired Kevin Durant for their team. The Suns’ bet is clear, to fight for the ring immediately.

This can be reflected in the transfer, since in exchange for having received one of the best players in the league, they have lost young players with a great future such as Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges (as well as many draft picks).

Despite this, the Suns are left with one of the best starting five line-ups in the league (if not the best), consisting of: Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Torrey Craig and Deandre Ayton.

First round passed:

In this first round the Suns have beaten the Clippers in five games. While it is true that this result is somewhat misleading, since Los Angeles suffered the absence of their star Kawhi Leonard in the last three games of the series, in addition to the absence of Paul George.

Although the Suns are not the steamroller they were thought to be in the playoffs, the truth is that right now they are the main candidates to win the ring. This is motivated in large part by the poor performance of the other candidates: the Bucks have been knocked out 1-4 to the Miami Heat led by ‘Playoff Jimmy’, the Warriors offer more doubts than confidence and Tatum at the Celtics is not at a great level.

Booker and Durant stellars:

One of the main reasons the Suns have rolled over the Clippers with some ease has been the high level offered by their two superstars. Without a doubt, they have been the pillars that have sustained the team in important moments. Booker has averaged 37.2 points, 6.4 assists, 5 rebounds and 2.6 steals in the first round of the playoffs. For his part, Durant averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists.

Undoubtedly, the young shooting guard from Michigan is being one of the best players of these playoffs. He has been the most outstanding of this series. He has signed in this playoffs two games of more than 45 points. In the last one to close the series, he had a double-double with 47 points and 10 assists, scoring 25 points in the third quarter (in that quarter the Clippers scored 24 points).

Durant has also been at a great level, but we are so used to such beastly numbers that we don’t think it’s a big deal.

Lights and shadows in these Suns:

If we talk about the great game that the Suns have been displaying in recent years, we must talk about Monty Williams. The coach, who has been in charge since May 2019, has already managed to get the team into an NBA Finals.

This year he has added Kevin Durant to a core of players that was already working very well. But not everything is positive. Monty Williams is a coach who abuses his starting five a lot. This is something that can take its toll on his players as the rounds go by and fatigue accumulates.

Another negative aspect derived from the previous one is that the Suns are the team in these playoffs that scores less points from the bench. This has comes from the Durant trade, for which they lost many important pieces. Although, it is true that their best substitute in the scoring role, Cameron Payne, has been injured in this first series.

The Suns already know who will be their opponent in the next round: the Denver Nuggets of Nikola Jokic, who beat the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games. This matchup will be quite interesting to see how both teams will perform on a bigger stage. We will see how this playoff progresses and if this will be the year in which the Suns win their first ring.

Main image: @Suns.

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