by ASA, Inc.
ASA’s NBA Futures – NBA Champions – Phoenix Suns +450
The Celtics are the favorites to win it all in 22-23 at +280 at most Books. Boston is deep, defends and can score with any team in the league. The Celtics balance is illustrated by their 3rd overall offensive efficiency rating at 1.180-points per possession and their 5th ranked defensive efficiency ranking at 1.118PPP allowed. If you’ve paid attention to previous NBA articles written by us, you know the team that wins it all in the NBA consistently ranks top 11 at the end of the season in both offensive and defensive efficiency. While we like this Celtics roster and chances to come out of the East there is one team we like in the Western Conference.
The move by the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline to bring in Kevin Durant was huge and will be the difference maker in getting this team over the hump. The Suns are currently 16th in OEFF at 1.142PPP but they haven’t had Devin Booker for 27 total games, and now add Durant. Devin Booker is averaging 26.6PPG, 4.5RPG and 5.5APG for the season. KD has played in 39 games this season and has produced 29.7PPG, 6.7RPG and 5.3APG.
We expect this team to revert back to the offensive efficiency numbers it produced a year ago of 1.149PPP which was 4th best in the league. Defensively, the Suns have remained in the upper echelon of the NBA in efficiency ratings allowing just 1.128PPP which is 9th in the league.
The team to beat in the West right now is the Denver Nuggets who sit with a 41-18 SU record. Denver has played an easier schedule to date than the Suns and face a tougher schedule than Phoenix to finish the season. We feel the other team that could threaten in the Western Conference is the Memphis Grizzlies, but they’ve struggled offensively this season (18th OEFF), and we don’t see dramatic improvement moving forward. The experts that expect the Warriors, Clippers or even Lakers to come out of the West are sadly mistaken as age and injuries have taken their toll on those franchises.
Not only is Phoenix going to excel offensively down the stretch with the additions of both Booker and KD, but they’ll be also much better defensively with both players on the floor. The Suns have all the right pieces in place with veteran leadership, a Big that can score and defend, savvy guard play and two guys that can literally take over games at any moment and time. Another sneaky element the Suns added was instant offense off the bench with vet Terrance Ross who was signed after being bought out by the Magic.
This Suns team has everything in place to come out of the West and beat the Celtics, Bucks or Sixers that represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals.