The Phoenix Suns are one win away from reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993. They have a young superstar in Devin Booker, a veteran leader in Chris Paul, and a talented supporting cast led by Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.
They have a coach of the year candidate in Monty Williams, who has instilled a culture of accountability and resilience in his team. They have overcome injuries, adversity, and skepticism to become one of the best teams in the league.
But despite all their achievements, there is something missing from their story. Something that makes their quest for an instant NBA championship feel hollow and unearned. Something that has nothing to do with their talent, effort, or execution. Something that has everything to do with luck.
The Suns have benefited from an unprecedented amount of good fortune in their playoff run. They have faced opponents who have been ravaged by injuries to their best players, giving them a clear advantage in every series.
In the first round, they faced the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, who lost Anthony Davis to a groin injury in Game 4 and never recovered. In the second round, they faced the Denver Nuggets, who were missing Jamal Murray, their second-best player and clutch scorer, due to a torn ACL.
In the conference finals, they are facing the Los Angeles Clippers, who are without Kawhi Leonard, their best player and two-time Finals MVP, due to a knee injury.
The Suns have not only avoided injuries to their own stars, but they have also capitalized on the misfortune of their rivals. They have won every game in which their opponent’s star player was either absent or limited by injury.
They have not faced a single team at full strength or close to it. They have not had to overcome any real challenge or adversity from their opponents. They have had a relatively easy path to the Finals.
This is not to say that the Suns are not a good team or that they do not deserve credit for their success. They are and they do. They have played with poise, confidence, and cohesion.
They have executed their game plan and exploited their opponents’ weaknesses. They have shown grit and determination in close games and blowouts alike. They have earned every win and every accolade.
But they have also been extremely lucky. And luck is not something that inspires respect or admiration from fans or peers. Luck is not something that builds legacy or history. Luck is not something that makes a championship feel satisfying or meaningful.
The Suns may win the title this year, but they will always have an asterisk next to their name. They will always be remembered as the team that took advantage of a weakened field and a shortened season.
They will always be compared to other champions who faced tougher competition and overcame greater obstacles. They will always be questioned if they could have done it under normal circumstances.
The Suns may be happy with their outcome, but they should not be proud of their journey. Their quest for an instant NBA championship feels hollow because it is.
Final Thoughts: The Phoenix Suns’ Quest for an Instant NBA Championship Feels Hollow
The Phoenix Suns have undoubtedly had a remarkable season, making it to the NBA Finals for the first time in 28 years. They have a talented roster, a coach of the year candidate, and have displayed resilience and determination throughout the playoffs.
However, their success has been aided by a significant amount of luck, and their path to the Finals has been relatively easy due to their opponents’ injuries.
While the Suns cannot be faulted for taking advantage of the opportunities presented to them, their success feels somewhat hollow. Winning a championship should involve overcoming challenges, facing adversity, and proving oneself against the best competition. Unfortunately, the Suns have not had to do any of these things to reach the Finals.
Of course, luck plays a role in every team’s success, and injuries are an unfortunate part of sports. However, the Suns’ unprecedented good fortune has been so significant that it detracts from their achievements.
Winning a championship is about more than just the end result; it’s about the journey and the obstacles overcome along the way. The Suns have not had to overcome many obstacles, making their quest for a championship feel unearned.
In conclusion, while the Phoenix Suns may win the NBA championship this year, their success will be marred by the significant amount of luck that has aided them. While they undoubtedly have a talented team and deserve credit for their achievements, their path to the Finals has been relatively easy, and their journey feels hollow as a result.