Why the Phoenix Suns Will Win the 2022 NBA Title –

Jul 6, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) with forward Jae Crowder (99) center Deandre Ayton (22) forward Mikal Bridges (25) and guard Devin Booker (1) against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half in game one of the 2021NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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NBA title teams have a certain makeup and this year’s Phoenix Suns fit the mold. They set a franchise record this season with 64 wins, which is remarkable for a number of reasons. One is they were simply on cruise control since the All-Star break. No team really threatened the Suns dominance of the NBA this season.  Some of the reasons why Phoenix was able to win 64 games are the same reasons why the Suns will win the 2022 NBA title.


Strong at Both Ends

For most of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Suns ranked in the top-5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. At regular season’s end, Phoenix ranked No. 3 in both categories. Teams that are top-5 in one category and okay on the other end typically make the playoffs. Teams that rank in the top-5 in both categories are teams that make runs for the NBA championship.

Because the Suns were so good at both ends they became one of just 25 teams in NBA history to win at least 64 games in a single season. Of those 25 teams, 15 of them won an NBA title. Two of the 25 lost out on a title to another team that won 64 or more during the regular season. When you’re good on both ends of the floor, you win games. When you win games in the postseason, you contend for championships.


Overcoming Adversity

Phoenix didn’t have any major catastrophic injuries, but they did have some key players out for significant amounts of time. It really didn’t matter. Consider the following. Cam Payne missed 22 games. So did Deandre Ayton. Chris Paul was out for 17 games, Cameron Johnson missed 16, Jae Crowder 13, and Devin Booker 12. Those are six of the top seven Suns rotational players. 

Look at a team like the Clippers. They didn’t have Kawhi Leonard for the entire season. Paul George missed a significant amount of time. They barely made the play-in tournament and got beat by New Orleans when George tested positive for COVID-19  just before the final play-in game. 

The Suns basically shrugged off not having one of their studs and just kept winning. Consider their records with Booker, Paul, or Ayton. Phoenix went 8-4 in the 12 games without Booker, 11-4 without Paul, and 18-4 without Ayton. When missing at least one of the Suns best three, Phoenix went 33-9 this season. 

How about with Paul and Booker both off the floor. No problem. The Suns still have a net rating of +3.4 in the 751 minutes that both Paul and Booker were both off the floor. When at least one of them is on the floor, that net rating jumps to +9.7.

The bottom line is Phoenix is deep…very deep…and that goes a long way when trying to win an NBA title. 


Clutch Time

The best of the best always seem to thrive when games are on the line. Phoenix is no different. In 92 clutch minutes this season, Phoenix has outscored its opponents 308 to 206. Clutch minutes are those in the final five of a game with the scoring margin five points or fewer. The Suns score a ridiculous 1.54 points per clutch possession and have a +51 – yes, that number is correct – net rating in clutch minutes. With Booker but no Paul, the net rating in clutch time is still +38.5. With both of them, it goes up to +61.4.

Phoenix has all of the qualities of a champion. The funny thing is that if they stay healthy the Suns may be even better during the postseason than they were in the regular season.