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Phoenix Suns Betting Outlook
Western Conference Odds: +1900
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +3500
The Phoenix Suns were the best story of the NBA bubble that didn’t make the postseason. Phoenix went 8-0 in their games in Orlando but fell short of a Western Conference playoff spot. That finish has fueled a lot of expectations for this year’s team, and then the Suns added Chris Paul in the offseason.
The addition of Paul, along with Jae Crowder from Miami, gives the Suns some veteran leadership that could push this team to new heights. Paul is one of the better playmakers in the league, which should help super scorer Devin Booker get some easier hoops this season. It might take a little bit to get everyone in sync, but this team has some great potential to make a playoff push in 2020-21.
Monty Williams is one of the more underrated coaches in the league, but he’ll have this team humming by season’s end. Whether that will be enough to get them to the playoffs is yet to be seen, but Paul was able to take an Oklahoma City Thunder squad that most expected to be a lottery team to the postseason a year ago, so anything is possible.
Suns 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 38-34
Conference Standing: Eighth
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Chris Paul has been a winner at every stop in his NBA career and continues to be one of the headiest point guards in the league. He brings veteran savvy to both ends of the floor and is hard to stop when he is determined to get a bucket down the stretch of a close game. His leadership skills will be tested once again with a young Suns team that is in need of a boost after missing the playoffs for the last decade.
Devin Booker is one of the up-and-coming stars in the NBA and is coming off a season in which he averaged 26.6 points per game. At just 24, Booker is still developing his game, and having Paul as a mentor and teammate will certainly help his development. The two started working out together as soon as it was known they’d be teammates, and they could form one of the better backcourts in the league this season.
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Phoenix Suns Team History
The Phoenix Suns have been in the NBA since joining as an expansion franchise in 1968. During that time, the Suns have been in the NBA Finals twice but have yet to win an NBA title.
Phoenix started off slow, as most expansion franchises do, and had a chance to win the No. 1 pick in the 1969 NBA Draft. But a coin flip gave Milwaukee the No. 1 choice, which they used to select UCLA’s Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), who became the all-time leading scorer in league history.
The 1975 offseason was big for the team, as they traded for Paul Westphal from Boston and drafted Alvan Adams and Ricky Sobers. Those three helped form the core of the Suns’ first Western Conference championship squad, which lost in the 1976 NBA Finals to the Celtics.The series featured one of the most memorable Finals games in history, a triple-overtime affair that Boston ended up winning.
The late 1980s brought another strong core of players, with the team trading for guard Kevin Johnson and forward Tom Chambers and drafting Jeff Hornacek and Dan Majerle. All four would earn All-Star berths in their careers with Phoenix, though the team never could get through to the Finals.
In 1992, the Suns made a major trade to bring in Charles Barkley from Philadelphia. Westphal was hired as the team’s head coach in the same offseason, and things started to click. Barkley was named the NBA’s MVP for the 1992-93 season, and Phoenix advanced to the NBA Finals for the second time in franchise history.
The Suns would fall in six games to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, and Phoenix hasn’t won another conference title since. Phoenix was a perennial playoff team, but never a serious title contender, despite having players like Jason Kidd, Penny Hardaway and Stephon Marbury on the roster at various times.
In the 2004 offseason, Phoenix made a significant addition with the free-agent signing of guard Steve Nash, who had originally been drafted by Phoenix but traded away to Dallas after two years with the Suns. Nash’s signing, along with the drafting of Amare Stoudemire and the hiring of Mike D’Antoni as head coach, helped turn Phoenix into a title contender. The Suns had the best record in the league at 62-20, which tied the 1992-93 squad for the best mark in franchise history.
Nash won the first of two straight NBA MVP awards, and D’Antoni was named the Coach of the Year, but Phoenix was eliminated by San Antonio in the Western Conference finals. The Suns advanced to the West finals again in 2006 but again came up short.
After another trip to the West finals in 2010, the Suns have failed to make the postseason since. Phoenix has had seven head coaches in the 10 years since it last made the playoffs, with Monty Williams taking over prior to the 2019-20 season.
The Suns have had a number of individual standouts over the years, with 11 Hall of Famers having spent some of their careers with Phoenix. Barkley, Nash, Westphal and Kidd are joined by players like Grant Hill, Connie Hawkins, Dennis Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Charlie Scott.
The 2019-20 Phoenix Suns were an exciting team, if not ultimately a successful one. Phoenix started the season well, getting out to a 7-4 record before falling under .500 for good by the end of November.
Guard Devin Booker gave the Suns their first All-Star selection since the 2011-12 season when he was named a reserve for the 2020 All-Star Game. Booker finished the season as the ninth leading scorer in the league, matching his career high with 26.6 points per game.
The Suns were 26-39 when the coronavirus pandemic forced the NBA season to be paused, but they were close enough to a playoff spot to be invited to the Orlando bubble for the conclusion of the season. When it got to Florida, Phoenix was red hot, winning all eight of its games.
Booker was especially hot, scoring at least 27 points in seven of the eight games and providing a highlight with a buzzer-beating game-winner to beat the LA Clippers. Unfortunately, despite the winning streak, the Suns came up just short of making a play-in game for the postseason. But, it did provide the team with plenty of confidence heading into 2020-21.
Chris Paul, guard Oklahoma City Thunder
Jae Crowder, forward, Miami Heat
Kelly Oubre Jr., forward, Golden State Warriors
Ricky Rubio, guard, Minnesota Timberwolves
Aron Baynes, center, Toronto Raptors
Frank Kaminsky, forward, Sacramento Kings
Ty-Shon Alexander, guard, Creighton
Jalen Smith, forward, Maryland
Monty Williams has been a coach in the NBA since 2005, minus a two-year stint when he dealt with the loss of his wife in a car crash and tended to the couple’s five children. His head coaching job with Phoenix is his second stint as a head coach in the league, as he was New Orleans’ head coach from 2010 to 2015, compiling a 173-211 record.
Williams played nine years in the NBA with five different teams, spanning from the 1994-95 season to 2002-03. He was also an assistant coach with Portland, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia before accepting the Suns head coaching position.
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