The Phoenix Suns earned the second seed in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, drawing the seventh-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in round one. The Suns got the better of the defending NBA champions in six games, moving into the second round. The question is whether the Suns can continue their winning ways all the way to an NBA championship.
Current Playoff Situation
Despite being seeded second in the West, the Phoenix Suns weren’t viewed by everyone as serious title contenders heading into the playoffs. But the Suns have already done a lot to change the perception surrounding them. Their defense combined with some lights-out 3-point shooting was enough to blow out the Lakers in the final two games of the series to advance.
For Phoenix, the combination of Chris Paul’s veteran leadership and breakout performances of young stars DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker was more than enough. Booker scored 47 points in the deciding game, while Ayton shot 79% from the field in the first-round series. But the Suns know that championships are not won in the first round.
“It certainly is cool to beat the defending champs, for sure,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams said. “But you can only hold onto that for so long, and now you have to move towards another worthy opponent.”
The health of the Phoenix Suns was the difference in their first-round series against the Lakers. While Los Angeles dealt with key injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James for the bulk of the season, only a couple of big-position players missed playoff action for the Suns. Abdel Nader and Ty-Shon Alexander weren’t available for the Suns, but all of their key contributors were able to take the floor and make an impact.
Of course, Paul’s shoulder will be something to watch going forward in the next series against the Denver Nuggets, even though he has been playing through it. Paul hasn’t been at 100% but has been healthy enough to play and give the Suns some solid minutes. As long as Paul is able to keep playing, the Suns shouldn’t have any injury concerns.
Path to the Finals and Odds
For the Suns, 12 wins remain for them to claim an NBA championship. Their path to the title will feature a second-round matchup against the Nuggets next. After that, the Western Conference Finals will pit them against either the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers or Dallas Mavericks if they make it there.
After beating the Lakers in the first round, the Suns’ sportsbook odds to win the NBA Finals have come down significantly. Phoenix started the postseason at around 20/1 odds to win the title but is now down to 8/1 odds to win it all. With the other teams in the West dealing with injury issues of their own, the Suns could come out of the West and win the championship.