Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, back, reacts after hitting a basket, next to Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., center, and referee Ben Taylor during the second half of Game 3 of an NBA second-round playoff series Friday, June 11, 2021, in Denver. Phoenix won 116-102. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
It’s fair that Phoenix Suns fans remain cautiously optimistic.
They have been conditioned for outside forces to go against their team in the long-ago years where Phoenix posed as a title contender.
In the past decade, there’s been little contending but a lot of pessimism about the franchise.
So the Suns’ berth to the Western Conference Finals secured on Sunday with a Game 4 win against the Denver Nuggets has everyone resetting expectations, maybe with caution not to get ahead of things.
But there’s lots of optimism, and Suns fans aren’t alone.
Analysts and oddsmakers are also trying to recalibrate what to make of this Suns team. By all accounts, it’s hard not to like them.
BetMGM released title odds Sunday night after Phoenix advanced to face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Utah Jazz.
The Suns sit second, behind the Brooklyn Nets, at +350.
They are ahead of the Jazz, who hold a 2-1 series lead over the Clippers in the other portion of the Western Conference bracket.
NBA Finals odds (June 13)
While BetMGM’s oddsmakers like the Suns’ shot at winning the title, predictive analytics site FiveThiryEight loves Phoenix’s shot at taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Based on the RAPTOR individual player ratings, the Suns have a 29% chance — best in the league — of winning the title and 50% shot at winning the conference finals.
Switching to ELO ratings, which “are a measure of team strength based on head-to-head results, margin of victory and quality of opponent,” the models look even better.
Phoenix making the NBA Finals has a 56% chance in ELO terms, while the Suns have a 37% chance of winning the franchise’s first title.