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SB Nation responds: Ben Simmons’ dilemma

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welcome to SB Nation reacts, a survey of NBA fans. Every week, we send questions to the most connected Memphis Grizzly fans and fans across the country. register here to join Reacts.

One thing was made very clear in the last SB Nation Reacts poll, now that the Memphis Grizzlies are out of the playoffs, the Phoenix Suns have become the USA team. Less sarcastically and more clearly than that, Devin Booker made his star spin.

44% of NBA fans across the country said Devin Booker is the most exciting player of the playoffs, the highest percentage of votes of any player. Atlanta Hawk star Trae Young won the second-largest part of the vote with 26%. While these results came before Trae’s incredible Game 1 performance against the Milwaukee Bucks, Devin Booker’s swagger and Kobe-esque play certainly deserves praise.

With Booker in the lead, more than three-quarters of the fans chose the Suns to win the Western Conference final. The vote took place before Phoenix won Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers. While the Clippers have made comebacks in the past, a grueling loss like LA suffered in Game 2 may be too much to overcome.

Confidence in Phoenix doesn’t end after WCF. A majority of domestic fans, 53 percent, believe the Suns will win it all. Of course, the Atlanta-Milwaukee series result will weigh on that, but the Suns are the highest-rated seed remaining. So their place as a favorite makes sense.

The Milwaukee Bucks got the second highest percentage of the vote, with 33 percent. Before reaching the final, Milwaukee will have to beat the Hawks, which a large majority of fans expect (remember these results came before last night’s game).

While Booker, Young and Giannis Antetokounmpo have made their entrance onto the bigger stage, the same can’t be said for Philadelphia 76ers goaltender Ben Simmons. In the aftermath of the Sixers’ Game 7 loss to the Hawks, Simmons suffered criticism. But a majority of fans believe Simmons was a scapegoat.

This feeling may, in part, be due to the change in feelings around Simmons. Almost three-quarters of fans don’t believe Simmons is a current NBA “star”. It might be difficult to see the talented but flawed Simmons from this perspective, given how he has strayed from offense and how powerfully he fights as a shooter outside of the paint. But he’s paid like a star… so this offseason will be huge for Simmons.

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