Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NBA. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged-in Minnesota Timberwolves fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
One thing was made abundantly clear by the latest SB Nation Reacts — the Phoenix Suns have become America’s team as the 2021 NBA playoffs roll on. More than that, Devin Booker has (finally) made his star turn in a positive direction.
In the most recent poll, 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.
With Booker leading the way, more than three-fourths of fans picked the Suns to win the Western Conference Finals (the votes came in before Phoenix won Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers).
The confidence in Phoenix doesn’t end after the Western Conference Finals — a majority of national fans, 53 percent, believe the Suns are going to win it all.
As for the two remaining Eastern Conference teams, 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 still expect.
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. As many of you know by now, following the Sixers Game 7 loss to the Hawks, Simmons took the brunt of the criticism. But, according to the polls, 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.
Overall, there’s a lot to digest here with this latest round of SB Nation voting. I personally have been all over the place in terms of who I want to see win the NBA Finals next month, but it’s almost impossible at this point to NOT have a rooting in this Suns team. Devin Booker becoming a superstar, Deandre Ayton’s emergence as a top-tier center, Monty Williams showing why he was the Coach of the Year in many people’s eyes, and Chris Paul finally, after all these years, trying to break through and secure his first title.
Despite the lack of “star power” in the Final Four (i.e. no LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, or Jaden McDaniels), these playoffs have still been extremely enjoyable from a fans perspective, and I personally cannot wait to see some of the adjustments teams like the Clippers and Bucks make to try and regain some footing in their respective series.
What say you? Who do you like coming out of the East and West? What about winning the NBA Finals? Leave your predictions below in the comment section.