Photo: Gary Vasquez/USA Today Sports
This year’s NBA Finals promised to be something different. New stars. New teams. New coaches. A championship drought will finally end at least for one team. Lack of big-market teams getting center stage. Lack of villains. So many storylines.
Yes, this is a Finals for an NBA fan. A Finals that can get them to believe that one day their team can really get there with the right luck and timing. A Finals that doesn’t have to be rigged for big-market teams only.
The Phoenix Suns will go for their first championship ever after going 0-for-2 in their NBA Finals appearance while the Milwaukee Bucks end their 50-year championship drought after last winning it in 1971. For the Suns, it’s their first Finals appearance since 1993 and for the Bucks, it’s their first Finals appearance since 1974. Instead of seeing renowned players participating in the Finals, we get to see Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and maybe Giannis Antetokounmpo (he is day-to-day with a knee injury, and he missed the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hawks).
It’s hard to hate either of those teams, which is the beauty of this year’s NBA Finals. Both teams represent sentimental favorites to win it all.
For me, I am rooting for the Suns to win it all. Chris Paul deserves to be a champion for what he represented in his 16 years of service in the NBA. 88-year-old radio play-by-play man Al McCoy deserves to call and see a Suns championship before he passes away. Former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo should get to see the franchise he built to celebrate a championship. Suns head coach Monty Williams went through such a heartbreak after losing his wife to a tragic car accident a few years ago, so he deserves some good karma on his way.
Arizona fans have always rallied around the Suns because of their history and their entertaining style of play. They deserve to see a championship. They have been as loyal as any basketball fanbase I know. It’s past time they witness their team climb to the top of the mountain.
If the Suns don’t get the job done, they may never win a championship as long as I am alive.
This is as good as it gets for them. They should win the series because they have more scorers that provide matchup problems for the Bucks. Not only do the Bucks have to worry about Paul, but they have to worry about Ayton, Booker, Cameron Payne, Mikal Bridges and Torrey Craig. The Bucks don’t have enough firepower to match up with the Suns. Sure they can get by with Holiday, Middleton and Antetokounmpo (if he even plays) by winning at least one or two games, but to expect them to beat the Suns four times is going to be tough task. Vegas picked the Suns as the favorites in this year’s NBA Finals for a reason.
The Suns understand what’s at stake. Opportunities don’t come often. No one remembers how far they go. Everyone only wants to know whether or not they win the championship. That’s what people will remember them for.
The Suns have been known as a nice team that entertains but could not finish the deal. Steve Nash’s Suns teams serve as an example. His teams always went far in the Western Conference, but they could never get through the hump of going to the NBA Finals and winning it. Charles Barkley’s Suns teams never experienced a Finals trip again after the ‘93 season. Looking at the competitive landscape out in the Western Conference, this could be a one-and-done deal for the Suns, so there has to be a sense of urgency for them.
This isn’t about them being happy to be there. They are out to finish the job now.
From watching Paul embracing the moment last week after the Suns eliminated the Los Angeles Clippers in six games, he knows this could be his last chance of being in this position. He will make sure his teammates follow his lead and not take this for granted. His teammates will do all they can to win it for him.
Just seeing Paul show genuine emotion is refreshing after seeing guys like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden show so much disdain about playing basketball. It makes it easy to root for him.
The Suns should be everybody’s sentimental favorite to win it all.
It’s about time that team got validated for all the good things they have done in their history.
If the Suns don’t win it all this year, maybe it’s never meant to be.