The 2023/24 NBA season may have only just started, but things have been rather inconsistent for the Phoenix Suns so far.
The team is currently 2-3 on the year and already find themselves 2.5 games back on the Western Conference leaders, the Dallas Mavericks, after five games. Of course, there is nothing to be worried about at this stage, and it would seem many are not.
The bookmakers clearly still believe in the Suns, as according to the sport betting odds available right now, the team are the fourth favorites to win the NBA Championship. They have been given odds of +600, with the Boston Celtics (+375), the Milwaukee Bucks (+400), and the Denver Nuggets (+450) the only organizations to be above them in the odds.
However, are those odds a fair reflection of the team’s chances to win the biggest prize this year and for the first time in the club’s history?
The team has undergone radical changes recently, with the new owners of the team – brothers Mat Ishbia and Justin Ishbia – looking to make an immediate start on their quest to bring glory to the franchise.
The first major thing that they did in the offseason was to bring in a coach who knows how to win the big one, with Frank Vogel arriving after firing Monty Williams. He won the NBA Championship in the 2019/20 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, while his coaching record prior to joining the Suns reads with a healthy .526 win percentage. This change could bode well for the organization, especially as star players are joining up with the team.
This season will be the first full campaign in which Kevin Durant will be able to assert himself in Phoenix and potentially help power the team to the Finals. He is a 13-time NBA All-Star and 2-time NBA Finals MVP and is widely considered to be one of the modern greats.
Alongside him, the Suns managed to acquire shooting guard Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, with the 3-time All-Star adding even more firepower. They did lose Chris Paul in the trade, but if they win, there will not be too many lamenting it. Devin Booker is also on the team, and he can be very effective with the basketball as we know.
Despite the star quality available and the current odds suggesting they have a chance, it is important to remember the history that surrounds the team.
The organization is yet to win an NBA Championship, and with no experience in doing so, it could be argued that there isn’t any winning culture around the team. While coaches and players have been brought in that have had that success, the Suns have repeatedly fallen short, especially in times when they were expected to win.
They have the players to achieve success, but there has to be concern about fitness and health. They have already seen how injury-prone some can be, with Beal having had to sit out a few of the year’s early games with an issue. Durant and Booker are also very susceptible to injuries throughout the year, too.
On paper, there is no denying that the Phoenix Suns have a very good chance of putting together a run that could see them end up as NBA Champions. However, with basketball played on a hardwood court and not paper, truly anything can happen.