Phoenix Suns Draw West’s Top Seed as NBA Playoffs Begin

Written By Brandon Hurley on April 12, 2022
Phoenix Mercury Playoffs WNBA Second Round

Sit back and enjoy. The 2022 NBA playoffs have arrived and with it come the red-hot Phoenix Suns in search of their first title in franchise history.

The Suns, a year after making their first finals appearance in three decades, steam-rolled their way through the league, snagging the Western Conference’s top seed.

Last season, there was no legal sports betting in Arizona. Now, AZ Sportsbooks have Phoenix pegged as the betting favorites to win it all.

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And now, this year’s playoff teams:

The Contenders

No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns

2021-22 Record: 64-18

Odds to win the NBA title:

The Phoenix Suns were in another galaxy this season, tallying the league’s best record a year after reaching the NBA Finals. The league’s leading passer, Chris Paul (10.8 apg) and the eighth-best scorer, Devin Booker (26.8 ppg), lead a team hungry for its first-ever title. The experienced club knows what it takes to get to the Finals. Can they take it one step forward? The Western Conference’s top seed and a matchup against a play-in squad sure will be a big help. Phoenix is also the heavy favorite to win the West at .

No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies

2021-22 Record: 56-26

Odds to win the title:

The Grizzlies’ breakout campaign earned the second seed and the second-best record in the NBA. Ja Morant and company boast the league’s second-rated offense (115.6 ppg) thanks to one the youngest and most exciting lineups in the playoffs. The likes of Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks are poised to make a statement. Moreover, Memphis is making its first appearance in the postseason since 2017 as this year’s No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. In fact, they are seeking their first playoff series win since the 2014-15 season.

The Old Guard making moves

No. 3 Golden State Warriors
2021-22 Record: 53-29
Odds to win the title:

The Bay Area squad once looked like the best team in the NBA and are quite possibly hitting full strength at the perfect time. Impressively, Steph Curry broke the all-time three point record this season, though he missed the final 12 games of the regular season due to injury. Therefore, Golden State should be at full strength in the playoffs for the first time since the 2018-19 season. They’ll square off against sixth-seeded Denver and last year’s reigning MVP, Nikola Jokic.

Those who can make some noise

No. 4 Dallas Mavericks
2021-22 Record: 52-30
Odds to win the title:

Quietly, The Mavs secured the fourth seed in the West despite one of the league’s lowest scoring offenses at 108 points per game (24th out of 30). Fortunately, Dallas’ defense is elite, holding opponents to 104.7 points per game, second least in the league. Superstar triple-double machine Luka Doncic is listed day-to-day with a calf injury, but is poised to lead an unheralded swath of athletes deep into the playoffs. They’ll take on fifth-seeded Utah in the first round.

No. 5 Utah Jazz
2021-22 Record: 49-33
Odds to win the title:

The Utah Jazz seek redemption after failing in the second round as the West’s top seed last year. The Jazz boast the league’s top rated offense at 116.7, while their defense isn’t too shabby either, rated ninth (110.5) thanks to Rudy Gobert’s 2.1 blocks per game. The Jazz drew a fortunate match up, taking on the fourth-seeded Dallas Mavs. They boast the second-lowest scoring offense in the league.

No. 6 Denver Nuggets
2021-22 Record: 48-34
Odds to win the title:

The Nuggets were plagued by injuries all season long but still managed to work their way into the playoffs rather comfortably. Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic tallied another impressive season, sporting splits of 27.1 ppg, 13.8 rebounds per game and 7.9 assists per contest. Unfortunately, the Nuggets are still without all-world point guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr., both nursing serious injuries. They’ll take on the third-seeded Golden State Warriors.

Win and you’re in (The Play-in)

No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves
2021-22 Record: 46-36
Odds to win the title:

The T-Wolves are making their long-awaited return to the playoffs after a four-year hiatus. Minnesota is making just its second postseason appearance since 2004, their last win. The Wolves are powered by the electric trio of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and the high-flying exploits of Anthony Edwards. The youthful squad will lean on the NBA’s top-scoring offense (115.9 points per game) led by first-year head coach Chris Finch. They’ll take on the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in their first-ever play-in game appearance.

No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers
2021-2022 Record: 42-40
Odds to win the title:

The Clippers managed to make the play-in round despite navigating much of the season without superstars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. George returned recently to provide a spark as the playoffs begin.

No. 9 New Orleans Pelicans
2021-2022 Record: 36-46
Odds to win the title:

Miraculously, the Pelicans recovered from a dismal 1-12 start to sneak into the play-in round. The league’s 19th-rated offense and 20th-rated defense will take on the 10th-seeded San Antonio Spurs. C.J. McCollum, New Orleans’ mid-season trade acquisition, leads the team in scoring at 24.3 points per game to go with 5.8 assists per game.

No. 10 San Antonio Spurs
2021-2022 Record: 34-48
Odds to win the title:

The Spurs boast the league’s eighth highest-scoring offense (113.2 points per game). They are led by one of the game’s most exciting point guards in Dejounte Murray. The 25-year old averages 21.1 points per game in addition to an impressive 9.2 assists per contest and 8.3 rebounds per game. They’ll take on the Pelicans in hopes of reaching the playoffs once again.

Potential for an upset

The obvious lower seed to make significant noise is Steph Curry and the Warriors. Their health and several years of championship experience could go a long way.

Players to watch

There will be plenty of star power on the West side of the NBA Playoff bracket. From veterans to up-and-comers, these next few months should definitely be exciting. Here’s who to keep an eye on:

Devin Booker, Phoenix
Ja Morant, Memphis
Steph Curry, Golden State
Luka Doncic, Dallas
Donavan Mitchell, Utah
Nikola Jokic, Denver
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
Paul George, LAC
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans
Dejounte Murray, San Antonio

What to expect

The Phoenix Suns have a legitimate shot at securing their first-ever title. Last year’s Finals experience and a relatively easy run through this past regular season provide the best opportunity yet.
A potential meeting with the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals would be rather spicy. The old versus the new. A passing of the torch, perhaps. Golden State surely is nothing Phoenix isn’t prepared for.

Suns fans, you’ll be enjoying a parade in June, celebrating a tense victory over the Boston Celtics in this year’s Finals.

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