All year it seems like all the NBA experts talk about are the Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns. The Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns have both had great regular seasons and seem to be the favorites to win the NBA Championship. I have to disagree though. The Dallas Mavericks I have no beef with, but the Phoenix Suns are not NBA Championship contenders.
Five or so years ago you would hear people say all the time that “defense wins championships”. Now it seems like nobody says that anymore. The NBA is full of high powered offenses, which were mostly popularized by these Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns along with the Sacramento Kings before them. Teams like the Phoenix Suns are dropping 110 and 120 points on each other every night. Now defense no longer matters, it is the offenses that are going to win the Championship right? Wrong.
These new and improved offenses like the Phoenix Suns are great for the regular season but the truth is defense still wins championships. Last year the NBA Champions were the Miami Heat, definitely not an offensive team. The Miami Heat basically had one great star and a bunch of role players. The Miami Heat won with defense, not offense. The season before that the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championship by holding opponents to fewer than 90 points per game. The season before that the Pistons gave up only 84 points per game, the season before that Spurs gave up 90 points per game.
Do yo notice a pattern? Most teams that win NBA Championships give up between 90 – 95 points per game or even less. Teams that win the NBA Championship do not give up 100 points per game. The Phoenix Suns give up 103 points per game. No team can win the NBA Championship while giving up 103 points per game.
I don’t care if the Phoenix Suns average 110 points per game, 120 points per game or 150 points per game. When it is time for the playoffs, when it is crunch time the defenses tighten up, the defenses clamp down and are even better than they were in the regular season. The offenses don’t do that. When it comes time for the playoffs to start the defenses against the Phoenix Suns will clamp down and their points per game will go down. However, the Phoenix Suns defense is not going to do the same thing because it’s not very good. When you mix those two things together the results are the Phoenix Suns giving up more points than they score.
The Dallas Mavericks are a contender. The Dallas Mavericks still have some of that flashy offense that scores 100 points per game but they made changes to improve in their defense so that they only give up 92 points per game. One of those changes included getting rid of Steve Nash, not adding him like the Phoenix Suns did.
After that the favorites have to be the San Antonio Spurs. Another season for the San Antonio Spurs, another season of holding opponents under 90 points, nobody talks about the San Antonio Spurs anymore but with that defense and Tim Duncan I’ll take them over anybody. After the Spurs the best team left is the Detroit Pistons, you can probably make an argument for the Houston Rockets too but not the Phoenix Suns. The Phoenix Suns will not win the NBA Championship.