Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns continue to torch the NBA after they took down a title favorite in the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night to the tune of a 113-107 victory. Phoenix’s winning streak now extends to 16 games, which is just one more victory off their longest winning streak in franchise history.
The Suns are slowly shedding off the narrative that their run to the NBA Finals last season was a fluke. Phoenix heard all the chatter throughout the summer and the fire they’ve been playing throughout this streak suggests they’re out to prove their naysayers wrong.
SWEET 16! pic.twitter.com/1lGoQIS9ee
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) November 28, 2021
Nonetheless, despite their early success this season, many still don’t seem to buy that the Suns are legitimate championship contenders. If a team like the Nets or the Los Angeles Lakers is plowing through their opponents like Phoenix is doing, everybody would be all over them as locks to win it all. But alas, such is the life of a smaller market team that has been largely mediocre over the previous decade.
Doubters are still coming up with excuses not to believe that Phoenix is legit. With that said, here are three reasons why Booker and the Suns are still being overlooked as title favorites amid their blistering 16-game winning streak.
3 reasons Devin Booker and Suns are being slept on
1. Many are still adamant that they were lucky throughout the Finals run
There are still some people out there who believe that Phoenix still would not have made the Finals had they faced healthy teams on the way. They dethroned a hobbled Lakers squad, swept a solo-act Nikola Jokic-led Denver Nuggets team missing its second leading scorer, and defeated a Los Angeles Clippers team without Kawhi Leonard. And when they finally faced a fully healthy team in the Milwaukee Bucks, they folded and dropped four games in a row to end their season.
This notion is still in the back of the minds of the naysayers. And this is one of the main arguments as to why people don’t think Phoenix is already a legitimate threat to win the Larry O’Brien trophy next June.
Whatever the Suns do this season likely won’t change the minds of some stubborn doubters. A title win may be the only way to shove it into their faces.
2. Much attention is on the resurgence of the Warriors
As hot as the Suns have been, there is still one team arguably much hotter than them right now, and that is the Golden State Warriors. That’s probably one of the reasons why not much attention is going Phoenix’s way. Despite being 16-3 on the season, the Suns still don’t have the best record in the league. Stephen Curry and Co. hold that distinction with an impressive 17-2 mark.
And it’s not like Golden State is squeezing by some teams like the Suns have in some of their games throughout this streak. The Dubs have been dominating their opponents, doing it on both ends of the floor with the best defense in the league and the no. 2 offense in the NBA. Moreover, they are doing this even without All-Star guard Klay Thompson and 2020 no. 2 overall pick James Wiseman.
Defend #WarriorsGround ✔️ pic.twitter.com/WQM7UXAX6J
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 27, 2021
Fans and the media are all talking about how the Warriors are back and how they could have a real shot at winning the championship this year. The triumvirate of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are as proven as they come. That’s why more confidence is now on the Dubs instead of last year’s Western Conference champs to emerge out of the West this season.
3. Strength of schedule argument
Similar to the easy path to the Finals argument, doubters are also pointing to Phoenix’s schedule as to why they are off to a blistering start this season. Per ESPN, the Suns have the 27th easiest schedule across the Association.
“The Suns haven’t really beaten any of the legitimate teams yet.” “Like wins over the Rockets, Pelicans, and Kings are supposed to impress me.” “Phoenix just barely got past Minnesota?” “They can’t blow out a Luka-less Mavs?” These are just some sample excuses from doubters with regards to the teams that the Suns beat throughout this run.
Well, Phoenix did beat Brooklyn, a supposed title favorite. But the haters will probably come up with another excuse, like how Kyrie Irving isn’t playing or James Harden hasn’t looked like himself this season. Regardless, the Suns are taking care of business and beating the teams that are in front of them.
Phoenix will face Golden State twice this upcoming week. Perhaps a win over the scorching Warriors could finally erase all doubt that this team is a real threat in the Western Conference.