The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Who Do the Suns Want In Round 1?

It wasn't quite the 10 year wait we had before with the Suns but finally the wait is over: the Phoenix Suns Western Conference title defense and pursuit of finishing the job from a year ago is here.

After cruising to the NBA playoffs by setting a franchise record for regular season wins and, likely for the first time in Phoenix sports history, entering the playoffs as the presumptive NBA title favorite we finally get to see the Phoenix Suns back in playoff mode.

The wait must continue however for who their playoff journey begins against. Last year the climbed Mount Lebron and it propelled them to Western Conference glory; this year they have a completely different energy entering the postseason but hope the results are the same as last year until the Finals.

So who should the Suns most want to see in Round 1? Let's figure this out.

The Clippers are a hard pass. With Paul George, the Clippers are more like a 4-6 seed. With Kawhi Leonard, that's a potential top 3 seed. The Suns won too many games to worry about the Clippers in round 1. The Suns would very likely beat the Clippers but it could exact the kind of toll they are looking to avoid in the first of a four round postseason.

I'd like to pass on the Timberwolves too. There's no doubt the Suns win that series against Minnesota in five games max. Maybe the young pup T'wolves sneak out a Game 4 win down 3-0 but that's about it. Avoiding Minnesota isn't about fear or respect, its about Patrick Beverely. Last seen cowardly shoving Chris Paul in the back after his then-Clippers team was eliminated in the 2021 Western Conference Finals, there's no bottom to how low PatBev may go this time to try and irritate the Suns stars. A misplaced cheap shot, an errant elbow or just a flat out dirty play all resulting in a Suns key player injury would all be on the table with PatBev on the other side. I'll pass and forgo the satisfaction of watching the Suns put the Timberwolves in their place.

The New Orleans Pelicans are tasty. CJ McCollum re-ignited the franchise after Zion Williamson blew out the pilot light. The Pelicans are not a threat in any way but also offer nothing in terms of a challenge or entertainment. It would very likely be a four game sweep and perhaps too easy of a warm up.

That leaves us with the San Antonio Spurs. Sure, they're an easy choice as the worst team to qualify for the postseason after struggling to win 34 whole games on the year but its less about what they are now and more about what they represent to the Suns. Rumblings are growing louder that this might be it for Spurs legendary head coach Gregg Popovich. How satisfying would it be to exact some small revenge on the man largely responsible for the team that crushed the spirits of previous Suns teams in truly painful ways? What if his last NBA memory was being run out of the gym by a Suns team so superior in every way that the series would struggle to make it to four games without being mercy ruled? Beating this version of the Spurs would not make things even between the two franchises or exorcise the demons of Robert Horry but it would get the blood pumping and the juices flowing for round 2 which is exactly what the Suns need.

Bring on the Spurs. Let the Revenge Tour 2022 begin.

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