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It’s time to move on from the fake rivalry with the Dallas Mavericks

Everyone loves a good storyline, but this one just isn’t it.

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

With the news that the Phoenix Suns will match up with the Luka Doncic Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day this season, there is once again buzz about the bad blood and rivalry between these two franchises.

And hey, I get it. This matchup pits Doncic, one of the NBA’s brightest young stars, against a draft classmate in the Suns’ Deandre Ayton. The Mavericks eliminated the Suns in the playoffs two seasons ago, and there was some smugness in their demeanor.

And aside from Ayton and Doncic, there’s Doncic and Booker. There’s endless room for debate about the relative merits of these two all-NBA players. Throw in former teammates Kevin Durant of the Suns and Kyrie Irving of the Mavericks, and seems like a good script for an NBA melodrama.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

But quite frankly, it’s just a lame distraction for a team focused on winning an NBA championship. The Mavericks, for all of their flash, just aren’t that great. Vegas currently has their over/under for regular season wins pegged at 46.5...and that seems about right to me.

Last year’s Mavs squad was under .500 and had one of the worst defenses in the league. They’ve made some ok moves during this offseason, perhaps chief among them bringing in Grant Williams from the Boston Celtics. He’s a physical forward with a nice stroke, and he should help them. But not enough to make them a real elite team like the Suns hope to be.

Luka Doncic is going to put up his video game numbers on a nightly basis. Suns fans have to learn to live with the fact that he will routinely post a slash line like 26/11/10, and the media will in fact fawn over it and compare him to the greatest point guards who ever lived and debate where he stands in the hierarchy of NBA legends.

And likewise, Suns fans have to live with the fact that outside of the Valley, almost nobody would still choose to draft Ayton ahead of Doncic. It’s just not really a debate anyone is interested in having anymore, since one guy is a perennial lock for an all-NBA selection and the other has yet to be an all-star.

But that’s fine. None of that matters. The Suns are all in on a championship, here. Their most obvious rival isn’t Luka or Dallas, nor Lebron and the Lakers. It’s the Denver Nuggets. Is there a lot of bad blood with Denver? Not really. Sure the Suns lost to them in the playoffs last season, but there’s not a lot of negative history or drama there. It’s kinda boring. Not that marketable.

But it’s the Denver Nuggets, the reigning NBA champs, who have what the Suns want. That’s the only rivalry I care about this season.

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