The Phoenix Suns have to be feeling like Rodney Dangerfield, as they get no respect as the defending Western Conference champs around the media.
Every news outlet at the beginning of the season had every other team coming out of the West this year except the defending Champs.
Back in history, there was a time that a champion was the favored until they were knocked off that title, but the Suns have been so disrespected, they have already been replaced as the West champs and not one playoff game has been played yet.
Finishing the season with the most wins in franchise history and running the table as the best team in the NBA all season long, is still not enough evidence to show the media who reigns in the West. Instead, all that is being said is how the Golden State Warriors are back and are the heavy favorite to win it all.
So much so, that Power Forward Draymond Green has come out publicly and declared the Warriors the Champs before the All-star break.
I get it, that every player that plays any professional sport should always have the thought that their team will be the last team standing, but until they have actually accomplished that task, respect should be given to the team that still holds the title.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the defending Champs and should have the first pick as the team that will win it all, and the Suns should be a close second after coming up two games short of beating the current champs.
This year’s Phoenix Suns have been nothing short of special, and it seems that only a few recognize just how special this season’s run has truly been so far.
All of the talking heads behind sports desks all over the globe have another western conference champ crowned this year, some even have the audacity to crown young and up-and-coming teams like the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks as the road the West will come through over the Suns.
So much disrespect, insomuch that the players on the best team by far don’t even get MVP considerations until one big-name media guy gets everyone else to copy.
Give the Western Champs their respect and let us hear what should have been echoed all year long, “They are the Champs until someone comes and takes it from them”.
In other words, the road through the West will have to go through the Valley of the Sun, and that road will not be an easy road.
For all those that believe the Warriors will come out of the west, Let me help you realize how wrong you are.
The warriors do not have a paint presence and will heavily rely on the three-ball going down every night for four seven-game series, I highly doubt that is possible. Eventually, a team with a dominant big will exploit them and there is a chance they may not escape the first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets.
Nikola Jokic will have a field day against the warriors, and keep in mind, Jokic has lost in the playoffs several times and will be highly motivated to not get eliminated again. That is a tough first-round matchup for Golden State, who will be incorporating Steph Curry back into the offense which chemistry can take a while to return and is vital in a playoff run. Not to mention the Nuggets have beaten them 3-1 this season so far and the Joker has been the difference in every game.
The Grizzlies are exciting and young and will eventually succumb to the different animal the playoffs are, compared to the regular season.
Freestyle fun play can only get you through the first round, but after that, it requires a physical half-court game, and every play is magnified. Young teams usually have to go through the heartbreak of learning the hard way by losing.
This Suns team like them or not will be the hardest out in the playoffs. It will not be easy for any team to beat a team that almost has no weakness, and the only thing that can stop them is of course the dreaded injury bug.
Apart from that, the Suns can beat a team in many ways, half-court slow game, fast-break transition, and the run and gun shootout type game.
The main element of playoff basketball is team defense, and the Suns are in the top three in the league in that category as well. The hunger from coming up two games short has been the drive of this special engine, as they play every game as if it were those two games all over again.
They do not want to feel that moment again.
Also not to cause a stir, but do not think for one second that Draymond Green’s guarantee will not show up as bulletin board material in that Suns locker room, cause everything that has been disrespectful all season has driven and motivated this team to prove everyone wrong.
I said all that to simply say this, put some respect on the name of the Phoenix Suns, until a team actually takes them off the West crown they should be the heavy favorites no matter what.