Now that the Phoenix Suns have overcome their mortal enemies in the San Antonio Spurs, are they capable of winning an NBA championship?
With all due respect to the Phoenix Suns contingent, Phoenix does not have the wherewithal to make this happen. Yes, they did beat up on a Spurs team that ousted the #2 seed in the Western Conference, but they haven’t exactly picked on someone their own age yet. Admittedly, the Spurs key players are all well past their prime, except for Tony Parker, who through no fault of his own wasn’t getting the 40 minutes a game he should have gotten. As for the Suns beating up on the Portland Trailblazers, that is a very young team, the likes of which no one thought was ready to win that Playoff series.
In the Western Conference Finals, the Suns will finally go against a team that’s more their age, more on their level, and much more prepared to take the Suns out of the postseason. The Los Angeles Lakers, as fluky as they can be sometimes, have the right balance of age and experience and they can play any style of basketball that the Suns are equipped to employ.
If the Suns want to run, Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown, Pau Gasol and Ron Artest can get out there and fly up and down the court as need be.
If the Suns want to slow it down, the Lakers can throw it in to their two big seven-footers, or they can give the ball to Kobe in the high post and let him initiate the offense.
Against the Spurs, the Suns were capable of playing a brand of basketball the Spurs use to be able to play but no longer have the ability to do. The Suns ran the Spurs off the court and out of games in just about every second half of the series. The Spurs used to be able to go 48 minutes of up and down ball, scoring with ease against a smaller Suns team while playing far superior defense at the other end. But this year, with a Tim Duncan that can no longer run and a hobbled Manu Ginobili, the Spurs couldn’t go full board for the full 48 minutes, and it cost them. If the Suns try that against the Lakers though, they just might be feeding into the hands of the Lakers.
But that’s just the Lakers. Even if we were to assume that the Suns could somehow get past the Conference Finals, can they beat the Orlando Magic, Boston Celtics or (gulp) the Cleveland Cavaliers? I don’t see it happening. Each of those teams is definitely better than San Antonio and would make life a living hell for the Suns interior defense, even if Robin Lopez were to return at full strength.
While the Suns are the sexy pick from this point forward, do not get your hopes up. Barring another God awful display of a laissez-faire sentiment, the Los Angeles Lakers squad should beat the Suns in 5 or 6 games. If it goes 7 games though, I’ll admit that home court advantage wouldn’t prevent me from picking the Suns to win that one particular game. After all, the Suns can and will score the basketball, and I wouldn’t want to face a tenacious Steve Nash in Game 7, because all it takes is one hot night, and it could all be over the for the defending champs. But to be honest, if this series go seven games, I would be wildly surprised.
[This article originally appeared on thesportswatchers]