The Phoenix Suns may draw the short stick when it comes a potential first-round matchup.
Even if this is the best season the Phoenix Suns have had in a decade, they are on the precipice of a potentially horrendous first-round matchup come playoff time.
With the 2020-21 NBA regular season entering its final week, the Suns find themselves two games back of the Utah Jazz for the best record in the Western Conference. Even if they have clinched their first postseason berth since shooting guard Devin Booker could even shave, if the Suns end up with the No. 2 seed, they are about to be so screwed by their first-round matchup.
The Suns would likely face the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 play-in tournament game between a pair of Pacific Division rivals in the Los Angeles Lakers or the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. That is less than ideal.
Phoenix Suns could get brutal first-round draw as the West’s No. 2 overall seed
The winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 8 play-in tournament game would face the No. 2 seed in a first-round, best-of-seven series. The loser would take on the winner in the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game for the right to be the No. 8 seed. It is excepted that both Golden State and Los Angeles will be the two teams to advance out of the play-in tournament in the Western Conference later on in May.
Frankly, drawing a divisional opponent in the postseason is always tough because they know what your team is about better than just about anyone in the league. Factor in the high-stakes nature of playoff games and upsets are bound to happen in this scenario. While the Lakers are the reigning NBA champions, Golden State did win the Western Conference the five seasons prior to this.
Though Phoenix has proven to be the better team throughout the regular season, the regular season is not the NBA Playoffs. While the Suns showed they can win high-stakes games down in the Orlando bubble last summer, Monty Williams and his team would probably prefer to face an easier first-round opponent in a team like the Memphis Grizzlies or the San Antonio Spurs.
If the Suns do end up with the No. 2 seed, they will likely face the Lakers or Warriors in round one.