The 2023 NBA Playoffs are shaping up to be absolutely critical for the Phoenix Suns. They lost in the NBA Finals in 2021, then got absolutely humiliated in 2022. They pulled off a blockbuster by bringing in Kevin Durant at the trade deadline, indicating that they are all-in on pushing for a championship. If they come up short again, then there’s reason to doubt this core can truly win a championship.

Best not to think about that yet, though. Phoenix still has a very talented roster, with Durant and Devin Booker being among the best players in the league. Those two have struggled with injuries, though, and the Durant trade cost the Suns most of their depth. Nonetheless, they are one of the scariest teams in the league bar none when healthy.

The regular season is winding down, with only 10 games remaining for the Suns. They haven’t clinched a playoff spot yet, but it would be an absolute shock to see them not make it. While the end of the season will determine their fate for sure, it should be fine to pencil them into the bracket.

So, what would Phoenix’s ideal playoff scenario look like? Without further ado, let’s take a closer look and try to answer that question ourselves.

Suns’ dream seeding scenario, matchup for 2023 NBA Playoffs

At 38-34, Phoenix currently sits at fourth in the Western Conference standings. However, unlike previous years where teams had wildly varying records, the Western Conference this year is extremely tight. The fourth seed seems like a good spot to be in, but the Suns are only three games ahead of the 12th-place New Orleans Pelicans, who aren’t even in the Play-In Tournament right now. For this reason, it is crucial that they keep their foot on the gas at the end of the season.

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In all likelihood, the Suns won’t be able to rise up higher in the standings. They have just a 1% chance to get the third seed, less than a 1% chance to get the second seed, and no mathematical chance to get the first seed. With this in mind, their focus should be on defending the fourth seed so they can have home-court advantage in the first round. Fortunately, they have a 47% chance to finish in that spot, by far the highest of any team.

So, we’ve got the seed nailed down, but who would be the Suns’ ideal first-round opponent? This may come as surprise, but the Golden State Warriors might just be the best-case scenario.

Of all of the Suns’ possible opponents, they’ve actually fared the best against the Warriors this season. Phoenix has won three of four meetings this season with Golden State, the only team it has beaten three times. That includes a win at Oracle Arena, one of only seven home losses for Golden State in 2022-23.

The Suns’ have a 17% chance to face the Warriors in the first round, with a 13% chance to be the home team and a 4% chance to be the road team. That’s the second highest chance of any team, only behind the 25% chance (16% home, 9% road) to face the Los Angeles Clippers. While the Suns have also fared well against the Clippers, winning two of three meetings this season, they’ve done a bit better against the Warriors.

Plus, let’s be honest here, there’s just way too much entertainment value in this matchup to not suggest it. Who wouldn’t want to see the last two Western Conference champions face off in the first round. Not to mention the storyline of Durant facing off against his former team. If this matchup does happen, it would undoubtedly be the most intriguing one of the entire first round.

This matchup won’t be a cakewalk for the Suns, none of them will be, but they should still have an edge. They’ve proven that they can handle the Warriors, and that shouldn’t change come playoff time. Add in the sheer intrigue of this matchup, and you have a potential classic in the making.