With the Phoenix Suns on the verge of elimination, one ESPN analyst believes that they are lucky to even be in the NBA Finals. On The Lowe Post's latest episode, ESPN analyst Tim Legler stated that the Phoenix Suns would not be in the NBA Finals had the Lakers, Clippers, and Nuggets not all had injuries to their superstar or co-star.
This assertion from Legler is certain to receive pushback from Suns fans, who accurately declare that a team can only play whoever is in front of them, but that is not the argument Legler is seeking to make. In fact, Legler actually compliments the Suns throughout the course of his podcast segment, stating that they have indeed emerged as a contender, and are officially on the map. While that is all true, Legler's argument is solely focused on the Phoenix Suns' true ceiling with this roster had their competition been as healthy as they were.
For the Clippers, they should certainly feel as if a healthy Kawhi Leonard pushes them past Phoenix and into the NBA Finals. Before the Game 6 blowout, the Clippers had actually outscored the Phoenix Suns throughout the course of the Western Conference Finals. Adding in the combination of Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka's injuries, there is undeniably a logical case to be made that the Suns would not have advanced past a healthy Clippers team.
While Legler's assertion will be primarily looked at through the lens of what it means for Phoenix, the Clippers should use it as a reminder that they are exceedingly close to where they want to be. With marginal roster improvements and a clean injury report, the Clippers can enter the 2021-22 NBA season confident that they have what it takes to reach that next level.