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Pretenders and Contenders in the NBA

Updated: May 5, 2021

Hello Smash Fans and welcome back. In this week’s article, I wanted to focus on the NBA and talk about if believe certain teams are good enough to be considered contenders or if they will fold come playoff time. Without further ado, let’s began.

The Denver Nuggets

This was a really hard question to answer up until a week ago, but because of the injury to Jamal Murray, this answer is no. Now don’t get me wrong, Denver is still not a team you want to face in the playoffs. Any time you have a borderline top 5 player in the league as well as two other players who can go off on any given night, you will be a hard out. However, the loss of Jamal Murray is monumental for the playoffs because if he was able to be constantly half of what he was in the bubble, Playoff Murray would become a reality. The Nuggets lost a key piece of their puzzle. A person who could go off for 40 on any game in the playoffs. He really is the perfect Robin to Jokic’s Batman. There is just simply no way the Nuggets can replace that production by the end of the season.

The Utah Jazz

The Jazz have been red hot for the entire season. They have only lost 15 games shooting 39 percent from 3 on over 40 attempts. Utah even has the frontrunner for both defensive player of the year and sixth man of the year. Furthermore, they have 3 current all-stars on the roster, yet I would not consider them a contender. Now this team is a lot more talented than the 2015 Hawks. There is an argument to be made that the fifth-best player on the Jazz is better than the best player on that year’s hawks team. With this being said, this team still doesn’t have a player with the “it” factor. Donovan Mitchell may be the best player in the league that just doesn’t have “it,” and I believe that is what will hold them back from being true contenders. The Jazz will give any team run for their money, but their lack of superstar power will be their downfall.

The Phoenix Suns

The Suns have been really good this year as you all know. They currently only have one more loss than the Jazz and seem to only be getting better. However, depending on who you ask they are as low as the 6th best team in the west. I am not one of those people. I believe that the Phoenix Suns are contenders for many reasons. First off, the way that the Suns play tens to translate well in the playoffs. Additionally, they have a player who has that “it” factor in Chris Paul and a player that seems to only shine brighter under pressure in Devin Booker. Then you add that to the fact that Deandre Ayton has been constantly improving throughout the year, and you get one of the best top threes in the league. Furthermore, the supporting cast of the Phoenix Suns is one of the best in the league with Miles Bridges and Dario Saric blossoming this season. Finally, the Suns match up well with all the teams in contention. If the Suns face the Lakers, they can put Bridges on LeBron and Ayton on Anthony Davis. If they are facing the Clippers, they have Miles Bridges and Jae Crowder to throw at PG13 and the Claw. If Suns face the Nets in the finals, they can stick CP3 on Kyrie and they can stick Crowder as well as Bridges on KD and Harden. With all this in mind, I truly do believe they are the 3rd best team in the west and have a legit chance of making the finals.

Thank you Smash Fans for sticking with me until the end. If you want to talk about this topic or any other topic sports-related, please email me or text me using the information on the contact page. If you want to support me even more, please consider following my Spotify as well as subscribing to my youtube channel and blog for weekly podcasts and articles. Until next time, PD Smash signing off.

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