I’m officially on Worry Watch ™.
You’d think beating the Lakers would inspire the opposite kind of emotion and instead of Worry Watch that I’d be on Finals Watch.
And yes, I do think the Suns should be considered the presumptive favorite in the West because I believe the Suns are the best team in the West but I’m still worried.
For starters, there’s no denying the emotional hangover that happened in the days after the Suns vanquished the Lakers. Friday morning felt like one of those videos of a marathon runner reduced to crawling the final grueling stretch to cross the finish line.
Now it's Monday and you have to start a new marathon all over again?
The Lakers series was defined by concern over the physical well being of the Suns, the Nuggets series begins with concerns about their emotional well being.
Now, I don’t expect Chris Paul, Jae Crowder or Devin Booker to feel anything but the urgency to win but I do have some worry about the rest of the roster.
Mikal Bridges, Deandre Ayton and Cam Johnson might consider this playoff run at the beginning of their career the first of many instead of the best opportunity they may ever have. There’s a huge difference.
Then there’s the fact that the Nuggets have every reason to play the “Noboby Believes In Us Card!” to trump the Suns version.
This Denver team played in the Western Conference Finals a year ago, is making their third straight run to the semi-finals, lost Jamal Murray and have gone 16-9 without him and currently deploy the presumptive NBA MVP in Nikola Jokic.
And yet they are as big of an underdog as the sports books currently list for the second round.
How about the fact that the Nuggets will have the best player on the court during the series? As scintillating as Devin Booker was at times in the Lakers series, Jokic was 33/11/5 with 43% shooting from three point land on nearly six attempts per game.
There is no plan to stop Jokic. The key for defending Jokic is keeping Deandre Ayton out of foul trouble so he can at least stay on the floor and make Jokic work defensively.
This Nuggets team feels a bit like some early Lebron-led Cavs teams. Jokic will get his, you just can’t let anyone else get theirs.
The Sun can win this series. The Suns should win this series. But they’ll also be experiencing another first: the favorites to win in the postseason.
I've got the Suns winning in seven but I'll start the series on Worry Watch and hope the forecast clears up.