How will the Phoenix Suns do in 2024? They're off to a disappointing 19-17 start so far this season but can turn things around quickly if some key players can get healthy. Even with the slow start, no team will be excited about defending Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, and Devin Booker.
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There’s been no shortage of fireworks in the Western Conference thus far. Between Jokic’s heroics to lead his Nuggets past the streaking Draymond-less Warriors, to Anthony Edwards and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander becoming instant MVP candidates, it looks like the Pacific Division might be an afterthought this postseason.
However, a team two wins away from lifting their first title just two years ago is now in the middle of the pack with a few superstars, a new coach, and a limited bench.
While we could go into great detail on how the Phoenix Suns ended up in this position, let’s look into the future to examine their current win total, odds to make the postseason, and finally their chances at lifting that elusive 1st title.
With 46 games left in the season for Phoenix, they currently have the 2nd most difficult schedule according to Tankathon. Trailing the Blazers, Frank Vogel and the Suns’ ROS opponents that include Boston, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Oklahoma City, and Denver all twice, have a 53.5% win percentage.
Sitting at 19-17 on the year there doesn’t seem to be much hope this team could make this mark barring a major deadline move for additional role pieces. Phoenix’s DraftKings line of 34 wins to just 12 losses the rest of the season is too steep for us to budge while other books place the win total at 43.5, meaning a 25-21 record the rest of the way.
This bet is more manageable, especially given the team’s rest-of-season gauntlet schedule. Devin Booker remains the X-factor for this win total to come to fruition with Phoenix 3-6 without the MVP candidate and 16-11 with him.
While Kevin Durant has a similar impact on this team, especially on the offensive end, the key to going on a winning streak will be the impact of Bradley Beal on both ends. Phoenix is 6-6 with Beal on the floor and maintained a 7-game win streak without him in late November.
We choose not to jump at Phoenix’s win total, due to the uncertainty around how they will restructure their bench unit as the deadline approaches.
A team with Devin Booker and Kevin Durant will not miss the playoffs. While Durant’s defensive prowess and end-of-game clutch scoring have dipped, Point Booker should pick up the slack and become the premier end-of-game ball handler from now on, which will give the Suns more clutch wins as we head into the 2nd portion of the season.
Durant is shooting 34% from the field and 21% from downtown in clutch time with the team 9-12 in clutch games. While the path might be one of the more difficult ones for Phoenix to get into their 4th straight postseason, their two superstars combined with the emergence of role players such as Jordan Goodwin, Josh Okogie, and Grayson Allen sporadically throughout the first half of this season should give us the confidence to lock them into a Western Conference playoff spot.
This is the most intriguing bet on the Suns’ slate. As mentioned earlier, the Pacific Division has been more of a never-ending soap opera rather than winning basketball for most of this season. While the Clippers have hit the gas pedal as of late, Phoenix, Golden State, and the Lakers have all hit roadblocks while opponents are starting to figure out how to score in bunches against Sacramento.
The bad news? Phoenix sits 3.5 games behind the Clippers atop the division lead and are 3-6 against the Pacific thus far. The good news? They have lost their six games by an average of just 7 PPG and have won 5 of their last 7 games as Beal slowly is making his way back into the starting lineup.
With the Warriors and Lakers changing things up at the deadline, the Kings vulnerable on defense, and the Clippers’ situation bound to get ugly at some point during the later half of the season, Phoenix might be in line for the 3rd time in four seasons if the role players can continue to consistently contribute on both ends.
At +700 odds today, we would play this before it’s too late, especially down just 3.5 games with Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Kevin Durant finally getting healthy.
With Denver, Minnesota, and Oklahoma City playing a level of basketball we have not seen Phoenix touch since their NBA Finals run a few years ago, it’s hard to picture a top-heavy team with a limited second and third unit competing against these three contenders in the West in a 7-game series.
While these title odds are generous for a team that is sitting just above .500 on the year, you can never count out the offensive potential Beal, Booker, and Durant hold in the postseason which is why this team can never be counted out as a title contender. With that being said, a title contender emerges because of the impact of role players.
For example, Denver’s Christian Braun, Bruce Brown, and Reggie Jackson were ready for the moment because of key regular season minutes due to Jamal Murray playing in 65 of the 82 regular season games. With Bradley Beal missing key time this season, the ideal situation is that Grayson Allen, Josh Okogie, and others take the key minutes they have stepped into this season and contribute in limited playing time in the postseason.
With this being said, we would stray away from a Suns title bet due to the Nuggets, Wolves, and Thunder’s offensive potency and ability to get positive contributions from their role players. We choose to hold off on to this bet for now, due to the gauntlet path to a title in the Western Conference.
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