The Phoenix Suns meet the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals with the West’s No. 2 seed looking to win the franchise’s first title. The Suns have gotten here with a healthy mix of young stars and veterans on the roster, led by a dynamic backcourt pairing of Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Deandre Ayton has emerged as a star in the post for Phoenix, who went 12-4 during the playoffs to reach the Finals.
The Suns are favorites to win the championship according to DraftKings Sportsbook at -185. Here’s what they’ll need to do to lift the trophy.
Key 1: Keep getting Devin Booker good shots
Booker has been the driving force behind Phoenix’s run to the Finals. He’s been the breakout star of the postseason, averaging 27.0 points, 4.8 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game. Booker has had multiple signature performances as well, with a 47-point outburst to eliminate the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers and a 40-point triple-double to open the Western conference finals against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In Phoenix’s wins, Booker is averaging 28.0 points on 47.6 percent shooting. In its four losses, he’s putting up 24.0 points on 40.2 percent shooting. Some of his numbers in those games have been aided by strong free throw shooting, but Booker has generally performed well. The Suns need to ensure he keeps getting good looks against a Bucks squad featuring strong defensive players across the floor.
Key 2: Continue to take care of the basketball
The Suns have a 2.13 assist/turnover ratio in the postseason, which is the second-best mark in the field. It’s well ahead of Milwaukee’s 1.72 ratio. Paul is largely responsible for this, keeping the offense in rhythm and making sure everyone is where they need to be.
Phoenix had a league-best 2.15 assist/turnover ratio during the regular season and has maintained that throughout the playoffs. The Bucks are forcing 13.2 turnovers per game during the postseason, good for the third-best mark in the field. If the Suns can avoid turning the ball over and keep their offense flowing, they’ll have the advantage over the Bucks.
Key 3: Get Mikal Bridges involved
Bridges has been fairly pedestrian during the playoffs, averaging 10.8 points per game and shooting 35.1 percent from behind the arc. He’s the fourth offensive option behind Booker, Paul and Ayton but needs to be more involved to keep Milwaukee’s defense honest. His three-point shot definitely needs to be a factor in the Finals.
During the regular season, Bridges shot 48.8 percent from behind the arc in Phoenix’s wins. In its losses, he only hit 30.6 percent of his triples. He’s a low usage player in either situation, but that is a huge difference over the course of a series. If the Suns can’t get Bridges involved as a shooter, they’ll have a tougher time finding openings for Booker and Ayton. In what is expected to be a close series, Bridges can be a crucial piece for Phoenix.