The Phoenix Suns entered the playoffs for the first time in a decade and immediately made noise, knocking off the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Chris Paul battled through a shoulder injury to provide a strong leadership presence but the true stars were youngsters Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, Booker averaged 29.7 points per game in the series, capping things off with a 47-point outburst in Game 6. Ayton shot almost 80 percent from the field in the series.
The Suns have been steadily building a young core with draft picks, which finally paid off in 2020-21. Booker, Ayton, Cameron Johnson and Mikal Bridges were all lottery picks and have developed into contributors. Paul and Jae Crowder were added to provide experience. Phoenix also got surprise contributions from Cameron Payne and Dario Saric. All these elements combined to form a 51-win team ready to make a run in a suddenly open West field.
Suns odds to win NBA championship, 6/4: +900
The Suns were potentially being undervalued entering the playoffs. History says a team with Phoenix’s profile usually wins a playoff series and LA’s injuries aided that effort. With the Lakers out of the picture, the conference favorite is off the board and that means Phoenix has as good a shot as anyone to make the Finals. There’s still value here at +900.
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