Phoenix Suns Disrespected by ESPN Predictions for 2021-22 NBA Season

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Looking to forecast the 2021-22 NBA season, ESPN recently put out a report predicting win totals for each team, of course including the Phoenix Suns. But anyone from The Valley might want to avoid looking at them unless they want their afternoons ruined.

Phoenix ran all the way to NBA Finals last year, already proving themselves as a talented team heading into the upcoming season. But more importantly, the Suns also managed to improve their roster this summer, not only bringing back Chris Paul and Cameron Payne, but also adding JaVale McGee and Landry Shamet. At the same time, they only lost Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig.

Additionally, the Suns likely see even better performances from their already productive pieces in Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Deandre Ayton this coming year—who all remain relatively young and with ample room to grow.

But ESPN’s writers seem unbeknownst to all that, short sticking Phoenix’s players and their overall team with this latest mock. Even with the Suns set to play an additional 20 games next year, ESPN predicts them to finish with the same exact win total from last season, leaving them with a 51-31 record.

That record put Phoenix as the Western Conference’s third best team, and also granting them the third highest odds to win the West and return to the Finals. The teams listed ahead them? The Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz.

After proving so many doubters wrong last year, this projection comes as a straight smack in the face for the Suns. Given their offseason additions, an argument can certainly be made for putting the Lakers ahead Phoenix, but to do so with the Jazz feels blasphemous.

On the other hand though, this all might eventually prove fruitful once the regular season tips off. Extra motivation always helps, and more or less calling Phoenix’s run last year a fluke gives way to exactly that.

The same goes for individual players like Paul, who flirted with MVP considerations last year, but remained vacant from the report’s most likely listed winners for the award. Despite putting together fantastic campaigns off the bench last season, the list for probable Sixth Man of the Year Award winners neglected to include Cameron Payne and Cameron Johnson as well.

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So once again, the Suns find themselves going vastly underrated by the public, tasked with educating the everyone about their team prowess. Their first chance to do so is closer than you think, with Phoenix beginning their season against the Denver Nuggets roughly one month from now.