On the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast , Bill Simmons and his guest ESPN Senior NBA writer, Zach Lowe did a draft to determine their NBA league pass rankings for January.
Simmons and Lowe went back and forth picking the NBA teams that they like to watch the most. There are a few different categories that go into the criteria.
The quality of the team is a big factor, along with the local broadcast team, court design, and jerseys. So, how did the draft play out?
The League Pass Draft
Zach Lowe had the first pick of the draft and selected the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder have one of the best players in the league in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They have the second best record in the western conference at 23-10.
It is hard to argue against the Thunder as the first pick in the league pass draft. Simmons picked the Boston Celtics with his first pick. Another pick that is very hard to argue against.
The Celtics have the best record in the NBA at 26-7. They are also very interesting because of the mix of lineups they can use. Boston may be the most versatile team in the NBA.
Lowe picked the Denver Nuggets with his second pick. The Nuggets are the defending NBA champions with arguably the best player in the NBA in Nikola Jokic. Another draft pick that is hard to argue against.
Now, Simmons was set to make his second pick. He picked the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota currently has the best record in the western conference at 24-9. Their star guard Anthony Edwards is very entertaining with his ability to make tough shots and/or dunk on someone at any given moment.
Lowe was up with his third pick and the fifth overall pick of the draft. Bill Simmons tried to guess Lowe’s pick and incorrectly guessed the Indiana Pacers.
Are the Suns trustworthy?
“No, I’m not (picking the Pacers),” said Lowe, “It’s time now, to direct our full attention to the Phoenix Suns.” He went on to explain how we finally get to see this team at full strength.
Simmons responded by sarcastically saying, “You know they are serious, because they finally improved to over .500 at home, 10-9, congrats to them.”
“The problem for them is, there’s two problems, one is, I just don’t trust (Bradley) Beal and (Kevin) Durant to stay healthy for the next six months,” said Simmons, “you don’t wanna be in the play-in, you don’t wanna be the lower seed every time in a playoff series. They have to get going now.”
Phoenix is currently ninth in the western conference with a record of 18-16. To avoid the play-in, the Suns would have to get up to the six seed, which is currently held by the New Orleans Pelicans with a record of 21-14. Phoenix is 2.5 games behind them.
For the Suns to get home court advantage in the first round, they would need to climb up to the fourth seed in the standings. The Los Angeles Clippers are currently fourth with a record of 21-12.
The Suns are three games back of the Clippers in the standings. If, and that is a big if, if the Suns can stay healthy, they will have the chance to move up the standings. They are not too far back to climb into a comfortable position before the playoffs start.
Health cannot be predicted but it is a valid concern when looking at the history of Beal and Durant, especially with Beal missing so much time to start the season.
Hopefully, they can stay healthy because with a healthy Beal, Durant, and Devin Booker, the Suns can compete with and beat any team in the NBA.