It's tough times for two of the top NBA postseason favorites.
On Tuesday night, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was cooking in the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans, dropping 31 points and dapping up babies in the process.
Unfortunately, he went on to suffer a grade 1 hamstring injury midway through the second half, keeping him out for the next 2-3 weeks.
The night after, Milwaukee suffered a similar fate to one of their best offensive weapons in Khris Middleton. After an atrocious start to the night shooting the ball, as Middleton began to heat up, he awkwardly slid his left foot, causing him to sprain his MCL in his left knee.
Both injuries have already caused the sportsbooks to re-evaluate their futures boards.
Before the playoffs tipped off, the Suns were the odds-on favorite to win the NBA Finals at +250 at WynnBET Sportsbook. The Bucks were second, atop the Eastern Conference to face them at 5/1 to win their second straight Larry O'Brien trophy. Now, the Golden State Warriors have leap-frogged both teams, moving from 9/1 to +300 only after a few games played.
Which is the Bigger Injury of Concern? Devin Booker or Khris Middleton?
Based off the latest futures prices, it would appear that the Middleton injury would be the more impactful one, as Phoenix still stands above the Celtics +500 and the Bucks +600 at the top of the odds board.
But even though Booker may be out a week or so less time than Middleton, I believe he's the more important cornerstone to Phoenix's success in the postseason than Middleton is to Milwaukee.
As BetSided's Peter Dewey points out, Booker's presence on the floor makes the Suns elite, if not the most complete team in the postseason. With him on the court, their offensive rating would have been the best in the NBA this year at 116.8. They're also just under plus-10 points per 100 possessions with him on the court; an elite level of performance.
As for Middleton, the Bucks went 7-9 without him this year, but he showed even last year in the postseason that even when he doesn't play well, Milwaukee has Giannis and other role players that can step up in his presence. During the 2021 postseason, Middleton had 10 games where he failed to score more than 20 points and seven where he failed to shoot above 36.5% from the floor. They still went on to win a ring.
Then there's the schedule. Should Milwaukee defeat Chicago in the first round, the Bucks actually match up well with both the Boston Celtics as well as the Brooklyn Nets, should they come back from a 2-0 deficit.
While Phoenix would likely be ok to advance past New Orleans, as well as the winner of Utah and Dallas, Golden State is playing arguably its best basketball of the season with Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson all healthy. Factor in the emergence of Jordan Poole, and this is a dangerous quad in the West.
Both injuries have the ability to knock each team out earlier than expected in their quest to return to the finals, but I'd feel slightly more secure in my Bucks futures ticket than I would with the Suns.
Check out the BetSided team's best picks for the Eastern Conference and Western Conference Finals!