Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns have transformed from a 60-1 long shot into a formidable 8-1 contender in the latest betting odds for the 2021 NBA championship.
ESPN's David Purdum reported Friday the Suns (+800; bet $100 to win $800) are the oddsmakers' fourth choice to capture the title behind the Brooklyn Nets (+165), Utah Jazz (+325) and Milwaukee Bucks (+550) after they knocked the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers out of the playoffs in the first round.
The Lakers weren't at full strength in the series. Anthony Davis suffered a groin injury in Game 4 that kept him out of Game 5 and limited him to five minutes in the deciding Game 6. LeBron James wasn't making his usual MVP-level impact after a high ankle sprain suffered in March.
That said, the Suns have been undervalued in the betting market for most of the season.
Phoenix put its potential on the display in the NBA's bubble last year. It went 8-0 with wins over the likes of the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks. While it wasn't enough to make the playoffs, it was a hint of things to come.
The Suns acquired 11-time All-Star Chris Paul in an offseason trade to run the offense and provide veteran leadership. They also signed Jae Crowder in free agency to bolster a frontcourt that was thin behind Deandre Ayton.
They posted a 51-21 record during the regular season, second in the NBA behind the Jazz (52-20), and were standing toe-to-toe with the star-studded Lakers even before the injury to Davis. They'll face the Denver Nuggets in the conference semifinals.
There are no easy matchups left in the postseason, regardless of which team emerges from the Mavericks-Clippers series, so the squad that takes home the title will have earned it.
The Suns, with Booker, Paul, Ayton and a strong supporting cast, have a realistic shot to become that team, and the betting markets are adjusting in kind.