The NBA is set to return at the end of the month, as 22 of the league’s 30 teams will converge on Orlando to complete the season at Disney World.
Over the next few weeks, hypothetical scenarios will be released to look at how each of the 22 teams can and will win the NBA title. That starts with the teams with the worst odds.
Next on the list? The Phoenix Suns. They are the last of the 13 Western Conference teams to be invited to Orlando for the conclusion of the 2020 season, and they may have the toughest road of them all.
The Suns sit six games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed, and they would need to be within four games at the end of the eight ‘seeding’ games to force a play-in tournament.
The biggest problem standing in the Suns’ way is the fact that there are four teams between them and the Grizzlies, but in this pipe dream of a scenario, they get it done.
The near-impossible journey for Phoenix starts with a 7-1 run to finish the regular season and a forced play-in game with the young Sacramento Kings. The Kings jumped to the eighth seed after the Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and Portland Trail Blazers struggle to win games coming out of the hiatus.
Phoenix is able to win the play-in tournament due to strong all-around play from a team that is finally at full strength. The offseason addition of Ricky Rubio pays dividends as he drops 27 points and eight assists in the second play-in game.
Once in the playoffs, the road gets even tougher for the Suns. The Los Angeles Lakers await in the first round.
Phoenix uses a little bit of luck and some strong play from Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton to push the series to seven games. Kelly Oubre Jr. knocks in the dagger with less than a minute to go as the Suns outlast a 45-point performance from LeBron James to advance.
In the second round, Phoenix faces off with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder advanced to the second round after defeating the Houston Rockets in five games in round one. This matchup is a strong one for the Suns because of their strong guard play and ability to run the floor. Booker and Ayton are a strong 1-2 punch to knock out the Thunder in six games.
The Western Conference Finals pits the eighth-seeded Suns against the seventh-seeded Mavericks, who are on a special run of their own. Phoenix is able to survive a herculean effort from Luka Doncic in the series with a heroic effort by their own star, Devin Booker. Booker averages 38 points per game in the series as the Suns advance to the NBA Finals.
The final leg of the journey for Phoenix is arguably the toughest one. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks await them in the NBA Finals after dominating the Eastern Conference on their way to the Finals.
The Bucks easily win the first game, but the Suns fight back, taking Game 2, 118-112. With the series tied at a game apiece, the world is starting to realize that Phoenix may actually have a legitimate chance at winning a title. Games 3 and 4 are both close, but Phoenix pulls out two more close wins to take a 3-1 lead.
Antetokounmpo isn’t going to let the Bucks go down without a fight, though. The Bucks win back-to-back games and force a Game 7.
Game 7 is an instant classic, as the Suns come back from a double-digit deficit late in the fourth quarter to knock off the Bucks and capture the unlikeliest of NBA titles.