(11) 2008 Phoenix Suns (55-27) vs. (34) 1985 Phoenix Suns (36-46)
Another good Nash year…He had 17-4-11 as Amare led scores with 25-9. Barbosa had 16-3-3 and Grant Hill had 13-5-3, as Shawn Marion (16-10) was traded to Miami for Shaq (13-11). A 29 year old for a 35 year old…Guess which is which (neither stayed long where they were traded…Marion was dished out to the Raptors during 2009, and Shaq was in Cleveland for 2010…).
Davis (15-2-4) played only 23 games, so this was Larry Nance’s team (20-9-3). James Edwards had 15-6, Alvan Adams had 15-6-4, and Maurice Lucas had 13-9….not great, but this IS a playoff team…
(12) 1990 Phoenix Suns (54-28) vs. (33) 1973 Phoenix Suns (38-44)
Tom Chambers had 27-7, KJ had 23-4-11, Eddie Johnson had 17-4, and Jeff Hornacek had 18-5-5 on a pretty good Suns team…
Not really bad…Connie Hawkins had 16-9-4 (at age 30!! It really sucks what they did to Hawkins…The NBA really should have investigated more before they banned him….), Charlie Scott had 25-4-6, Neal Walk had 20-12-4, and Dick Van Arsdale had 18-4-3….
(13) 2006 Phoenix Suns (54-28) vs. (32) 1970 Phoenix Suns (39-43)
The second of Nash’s MVP years….Amare played only 3 games, and the Nash (19-4-11), Marion (22-12), Raja Bell (13-3-3), and Boris Diaw (13-7-6) lineup gelled really well…Great team, and a dangerous team that is ranked low for such a good team….
The first Phoenix playoff team!! Connie Hawkins, finally allowed in the NBA, had 25-10-5, while Dick Van Arsdale had 21-3-4, Gail Goodrich had 20-4-8, and Paul Silas had 13-12. Neal Walk had an average 8-6 rookie year.
(14) 2010 Phoenix Suns (54-28) vs. (31) 2011 Phoenix Suns (40-42)
The last really good Suns team (so far), as Amare leaves, and we’ll see the aftermath next, as it is a straight year matchup…Nash had 17-3-11, Amare had 23-9, Jason Richardson had 16-5, and Grant Hill had 11-6….
The next year, Nash had 15-4-11, as his team changed a bit. Jason Richardson (19-4) was traded for Vince Carter (14-4), and Marcin Gortat (13-9). Hill had 13-4-3…not a very good Nash team, a rarity.
(15) 1983 Phoenix Suns (53-29) vs. (30) 1997 Phoenix Suns (40-42)
OK team…Walter Davis had 19-3-5, Larry Nance had 17-9, Maurice Lucas had 17-10, Alvan Adams had 14-7-5, and DJ had 14-4-5…
Bunch of changes…Barkley was traded to Houston before the year, Sam Cassell was traded for J-Kidd (12-5-9), Michael Finley was also sent to Dallas…Robert Horry was traded in a separate deal also…KJ stayed for 20-4-9, and he’s the only really good player that was around all year….
(16) 1992 Phoenix Suns (53-29) vs. (29) 1996 Phoenix Suns (41-41)
The year before Barkley…Look how good it is already…Hornacek (though he wouldn’t be there next year….) had 20-5-5, KJ had 20-4-11, Majerle had 17-6, and Chambers had 16-6…Pretty loaded team already….
Not here though…Barkley had 23-12, rookie Michael Finley had 15-5-4, and KJ had 19-4-9 in 56 games.
(17) 2000 Phoenix Suns (53-29) vs. (28) 1984 Phoenix Suns (41-41)
I guess this a successful Suns Kidd team…you don’t really think of this as a happy era in Suns history...Kidd averaged 14-7-10, as Clifford Robinson had 19-5-3, and Penny Hardaway (not yet totally gone) had 17-6-5. Rodney Rodgers had 14-6…KJ made 6 games this year, and Shawn Marion had 51 games of 10-7.
Walter Davis had 20-3-6, Larry Nance had 18-8-3, Maurice Lucas had 16-10, and James Edwards had 15-5. Paul Westphal came back from his 3 year Seattle-New York expedition to sign here for one year (7-1-3) before retiring.
(18) 2001 Phoenix Suns (51-31) vs. (27) 1976 Phoenix Suns (42-40)
A meh year…Kidd had 17-6-10, Marion had 17-11, and Cliff Robinson had 16-4-3.
So we finally reach the Finals team that brought us the Greatest Game Ever Played….This team is much better than all the ones around it (meaning Phoenix teams…), and very balanced. Paul Westphal had 21-3-5, Alvan Adams had 19-9-6, Curtis Perry had 13-10-3, Gar Heard had 12-10 (traded midyear here for John Shumate…), and Ricky Sobers had 9-3-3 (I credit Sobers for leading them to the Finals…Here’s what I wrote in the 1976 Warriors section: “Here’s why [the 1976 Warriors] didn’t win [the title]: In the Game 7 of the West Finals (playing Phoenix, and you may know this), Rick Barry got in a fight with Ricky Sobers, and he, at halftime, he realized that his teammates didn’t rush to defend him (and it’s no wonder….nobody liked him, not even his team), and he refused to shoot in the second half, giving away a championship [they had won the previous year…] (you think Boston could beat them?). Interesting side note: this is the year [Barry] wore the wig.” So Sobers punched him and he refused to shoot, giving the Suns a chance to win a championship….)…Pretty good team…Definitely beats 2001 (and if not, I wasted a time writing this whole paragraph…it would be an interesting post to look at all my failed predictions…I may do that….).
(19) 1979 Phoenix Suns (50-32) vs. (26) 2003 Phoenix Suns (44-38)
Pretty good team…Westphal had 24-2-7, Davis had 24-5-4, and Alvan Adams had 18-9-5. Truck Robinson (one year removed from leading the league in boards in New Orleans….we’ll get there…) came over mid-year from New Orleans (Jazz…) and had 16-9 here…
Marbury had 22-3-8 while Shawn Marion averaged 21-10, and Amare had 14-9 as a rookie. Penny played 58 games of 11-4-4, and Joe Johnson added 10 points…
(20) 1972 Phoenix Suns (49-33) vs. (25) 1999 Phoenix Suns (27-23)
Pretty good team, but not good enough to make the playoffs…Hawkins had 21-8-4, Dick Van Arsdale had 20-4-4, Paul Silas had 18-12-4, and Neal Walk had 16-8. Charlie Scott jumped from the ABA to the NBA, but only appeared in six NBA games…
A meh kind of year….Kidd had 17-7-11, Tom Gugliotta had 17-9, and Cliff Robinson had 16-5-3….
(21) 1978 Phoenix Suns (49-33) vs. (24) 2009 Phoenix Suns (46-36)
A very good team featuring Paul Westphal (25-2-6), Alvan Adams (16-8-3), and rookie Walter Davis (24-6-3).
A dip in the win total of the Nash era here…Nash’s production didn’t go down as he averaged 16-3-10. Shaq averaged 18-8, as Amare missed a lot of games, his 21-8 only there for 53 games…Jason Richardson came over from Charlotte and had 16-5, as Hill had 12-5, and Barbosa had 14-3-2.
(22) 1971 Phoenix Suns (48-34) vs. (23) 1982 Phoenix Suns (46-36)
A non-playoff team (after making the playoffs last year with 39 wins…and they missed again with 49 wins the very next year….). Decent year otherwise though….Connie Hawkins had 21-9-5, Dick Van Arsdale had 22-4-4, Clem Haskins had 18-4-5, Neal Walk had 13-8, and Paul Silas had 12-13…
Our last team…DJ had 20-5-5, Alvan Adams had 15-7-5, Truck Robinson had 19-10, and Walter Davis had 14-2-3 in 55 games. Kyle Macy also had 14 points…
There are the Suns….A pretty successful team overall, not measured in championships, but they were constantly good through the 80s/90s/00s (with some lacking periods…). Connie Hawkins, Walter Davis, Paul Westphal, and Alvan Adams aren’t players you think of often, but they were pretty good players, on a pretty good franchise.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Phoenix Suns! Next, Bill Walton, and Clyde Drexler and blazing a path through the NBA!