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ESPN Projects Phoenix Suns to Finish First in West

In their recent 2022-23 NBA projections, no team had more wins in ESPN's western preview than the Phoenix Suns.

There's a lot to like about the Phoenix Suns. 

Their run to the 2021 NBA Finals and response by setting franchise records in the regular season last year proved to be no fluke despite still being without their first NBA title. 

Yet the Suns still have a few questions surrounding their team heading into next season. Chris Paul is getting no younger, and there's pressure to capitalize on whatever is left of a championship window in Phoenix. 

When you look around the west, some fans may not like their chances. Golden State reigns as world champions, the series loss to the Dallas Mavericks still stings, and the Los Angeles Clippers (once again) look solid on paper after adding John Wall. 

Let us not forget about teams with star players such as the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets, too. 

With so much fog heading into next season, ESPN's expert panel predicted every team's record in the western conference, and a familiar face once again leads the charge for a second straight season.

Phoenix Suns Projected to Finish First in Western Conference

Here's what Kendra Andrews wrote: 

"Despite winning the title last season and presumably starting next season with a fully healthy roster for the first time in three years, the defending champs aren't the ESPN Summer Forecast favorites to have the West's best regular season record in 2022-23," said Andrews. 

"But that's not to say there aren't great things ahead for Golden State. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will play their first complete season together in three years. Andrew Wiggins, Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole will continue to build on their careers. James Wiseman, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody will have bigger opportunities to grow. If anything, the Warriors should be on track to make another deep push in the postseason and have a successful regular season on their way there.

"However, it's the Suns who we picked to repeat as the West's No. 1 seed.

"Sure, Phoenix is coming off a surprising second-round meltdown to the Mavericks. And they didn't make any major roster additions over the summer. Frankly, they probably don't need any. They need Chris Paul to be healthy, Devin Booker to play at an MVP-caliber level and for any animosity between Deandre Ayton and the franchise to be erased.

The Suns fell in the "contenders" category of the western conference with five other teams. Here's their projected records:

1. Phoenix Suns: 56-26

2. Golden State Warriors: 55-27

3. Denver Nuggets: 53-29

4. Memphis Grizzlies: 51-31

5. LA Clippers: 50-32

6. Dallas Mavericks: 49-33

The western conference looks to be especially strong heading into the regular season, yet the Suns figure to again be near the top when the first 82 games are all said and done. 

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