The bottom of the NBA’s Western Conference continues to look like a race of elderly snails, which has allowed the Suns to ride a hot start to continued contention as well as teams like the Portland Trail Blazers to slowly rise just by playing mediocre basketball.
It’s ugly right now.
Still, as we sift through this week’s NBA FanPulse results, bear in mind track record. The Kings were the darlings of the league last year. Everyone expected they would keep getting better and finish the year on the right side of .500, pushing for the playoffs again. Then there’s the Trail Blazers, who were in the conference finals last year and have clearly earned the benefit of the doubt over the years.
That a fan of a different NBA team might look at this race and predict the Kings or Trail Blazers to ultimately finish ahead of the Suns is understandable.
There really isn’t much to quibble with in terms of the Suns. Memphis is barely on the fringes of this discussion (though I actually like their team more than San Antonio’s) and Minnesota has lost seven straight. The Suns are firmly ahead of all three of those squads.
But where is Oklahoma City? Put some respect on the Thunder’s name. They are currently the No. 7 seed in the West and playing great defense. With so many veterans, they’re the team out of this group I’d least like to see on any given night. Many assume they’ll start unloading those guys by February but unless the whole team gets shipped out a la Memphis last year, Oklahoma City will be in the picture.
For the sake of perspective, here’s how Suns’ fans feel about the whole thing:
Just less than three-quarters of you guys still feel good about a Suns’ playoff appearance. With two spots up for grabs thanks to Portland and San Antonio falling out, that’s where I am too. Assuming relatively decent health for the starters, the Suns should make the playoffs. They also have a few trades to make.
After losing 12 of 16, it’s a miracle the Suns didn’t fall out of the race already. The 2013-14 team would kill themselves for a Western Conference this bad.