With Steph Curry and LeBron James out of the NBA postseason, a new generation of players has taken center stage on the league’s biggest stage and the player with the brightest spotlight at the moment is Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.
In his first career playoff run, Booker has averaged 28.3 points per game, 7.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game. Additionally, he’s led the Suns to nine consecutive wins in the playoffs, two of which came in the Western Conference Finals without Chris Paul. He’s been terrific.
It should come as no surprise, then, that he was voted as the most as the most exciting player left in the playoffs in this week’s SB Nation Reacts survey. Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young took the second largest portion of the vote with 26%.
It also shouldn’t be a shock that the same fans voted for the Phoenix Suns as the team that’s most likely to win the Western Conference. The vote came in before Phoenix won Game 2 against the LA Clippers.
In the Eastern Conference, fans think that two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks will punch their ticket to the NBA Finals. The Bucks and Hawks have yet to play the first game of their series, but the Bucks went 2-1 against the Hawks in their regular season series.
What is a little startling is that over half of the fans that participated in this week’s survey think that the Phoenix Suns are going to win the NBA Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks are a distant second at less than 35%.
It’s no secret that the Bucks have failed to meet expectations in the playoffs for the last two years, and it can be argued that they’ve been underwhelming this year too, but they matchup well against the Suns and they have arguably the best player left in the playoffs. It’s possible that Suns win it all, but the Bucks shouldn’t be discounted either.
What’s up with Ben?
It’s been a rough week for Ben Simmons. After failing to rise to the occasion in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, a large number of Philadelphia 76ers fans want him gone as soon as possible. However, a majority of the fans that participated in our survey believe that’s an overreaction.
That being said, our survey also showed that fans don’t think Simmons is a star.
Whether or not that’s true is debatable, but there’s no denying that Simmons needs to expand his offensive game to be a more impactful player. Since being drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, Simmons has attempted just 34 3-pointers and he’s only made three of them. He’s also shot a lowly 59.7% from the charity stripe.
Simmons isn’t a complete negative on offense because of his playmaking ability and his athleticism, but right now, he’s more of a defensive star than an offensive star and that kind of player is hard to build around (see: Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz).
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