One thing was made abundantly clear by the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, now that the Memphis Grizzlies are out of the postseason the Phoenix Suns have become America’s team. Less sarcastically and more clearly than that, Devin Booker has made his star turn.
44 percent of NBA fans around the country said Devin Booker is the most exciting player left in the playoffs, the highest vote percentage of any player. Atlanta Hawk’s star Trae Young took the second largest portion of the vote with 26 percent. While these results came in before Trae’s amazing Game 1 performance against the Milwaukee Bucks, Devin Booker’s swagger and Kobe-esque game certainly is worthy of praise.
With Booker leading the way, more than three-fourths of fans picked the Suns to win the Western Conference Finals. The vote came in before Phoenix won Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers. While the Clippers have made comebacks in the past, a backbreaking loss like L.A. suffered in Game 2 may be too much to overcome.
The confidence in Phoenix doesn’t end after the WCF. A majority of national fans, 53 percent, believe the Suns are going to win it all. Of course the result of the Atlanta-Milwaukee series will weigh in on that, but the Suns are the highest rated seed remaining. So their place as a favorite makes sense.
The Milwaukee Bucks earned the second highest percent of the vote, with 33 percent. Before they reach the finals, Milwaukee will need to beat the Hawks, which a vast majority of fans expect (remember these results came in before last night’s game).
While the likes of Booker, Young, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have embraced their star-turn on the biggest stage, the same can’t be said for Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons. Following the Sixers Game 7 loss to the Hawks, Simmons took the brunt of the criticism. But a majority of fans think Simmons was being scapegoated.
That feeling may, in part, be due to the change of feelings around Simmons. Nearly three-fourths of fans don’t believe Simmons is a “star” in the current NBA. Perhaps it’s hard to see the talented but flawed Simmons in that light given how he shrunk away from the offensive end and how mightily he struggles as a shooter outside the paint. But he is paid like a star…so this offseason will be a massive one for Simmons.
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