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So originally I was going to talk about the teams that I feel were on the cusp of making the playoffs. But after careful consideration, I decided to focus on the Phoenix Suns. It may sound strange to some, but with a 36-15 record, they are currently sitting pretty in the Western conference.
It always amazes me when teams like this can seem to stay relevant no matter the time period. Let's take it back to when the team was created in the 60's. They had a chance to get Kareem and it falls thru. They get Connie Hawkins in 72 who is great for a few years then kind of trails off. Then randomly they make the finals also in 1976. And that sets off this kind of revolving door of relevancy for this team. They make the west finals in 1979. They make the west finals again in 1984. And AGAIN in 89 and 90. They make the NBA finals in 93. made the west finals again in 05 and 06. And of course they make it again in 2010. So for about 35 years, they have spurts of greatness.
Their ability to consistently rejuvenate themselves is astounding. And it's interesting because they aren't in a big city. It's not like the Red Sox where they lost for 86 years and people cried about how it was so long between them winning. No one is writing a book on the Suns. Sorry but it's the truth. But it's hard to imagine any team in the last 50 years that has had more "what ifs" than the Phoenix Suns. What if they would've gotten Kareem? What if they win the triple overtime game (1976) in Boston during the playoffs? What if the Artest rebound on the Kobe airball in game 4 of 2010 doesn’t happen? What if they take Luka Doncic in 2018???? Not saying Ayton is a bust because he definitely isn’t. But,those are awesome things that could’ve easily turned the tide.
The case to make the finals is they finally have an identity. It’s something that a lot of teams struggle with. They play with pace. They’re efficient. They know who they are. They have two guys that can hit really big shots when it matters with Paul and Booker. The team is pretty flexible as a whole. They’re averaging about 115 points per game and their percentages are very good. Especially with them having 80% from the line. Two things that scare me about this team would be one, they don’t have a backup center. That could be rough if they go into the last few minutes of a game and Ayton has 5 fouls. And the other would be Chris Paul’s age. He’s no spring chicken and yes he’s playing well and doing things we haven’t seen done by another guard. If you compare it to all the other point guards that get to be his age, he’s by himself.
I felt this was needed. They don’t get talked about enough. And I felt like we just needed to take some time and give credit to one of the teams that aren’t really seen as a threat. But I think they have a major shot at, if not the title, then at least making it to the western conference finals.