Phoenix Suns Information
The Suns came to the Valley of the Sun in 1968, but they have yet to win an NBA Title. They began with a victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on opening night. The brainchild of former Chicago Bulls assistant coach and Arizona sports magnate Jerry Colangelo, the Suns in the 1970s had mild success, combining the talents of such players like Dick Van Arsdale (The Original Sun), his twin brother Tom Van Arsdale, Hall of Famer Connie Hawkins, Len "Truck" Robinson, Alvan Adams, and center Neal Walk, who sadly, in 1974 had a car accident that left him paralyzed. In 1976, the year the movie Rocky was released, the Suns proved to be a real-life, basketball version of Rocky. They finished the season with 42 wins and 40 losses, but shockingly they beat the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the playoffs and went on to play the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, giving the Celtics a tough battle before falling in 6 games. Game 5 was a triple-overtime classic that is considered by many to be the greatest game in NBA history.
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The next few years for the Suns weren't as good, as a drug scandal rocked the organization in 1987, and the franchise was having a hard time putting wins together. That all began to change in 1987, though, with the acquisition through a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers of Kevin Johnson and Mark West. It was in this trade that the Suns gave up popular power forward Larry Nance.
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In 1988, Tom Chambers came over from Seattle, Jeff Hornacek was signed, Dan Majerle was drafted with the 14th pick in the draft, which they obtained from Cleveland in the Kevin Johnson trade, and the team began a 13 year playoff streak. Kurt Rambis was added from the Charlotte Hornets in 1989, and the team caused a shocking upset by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games that season before falling to the Portland Trail Blazers in the western conference finals.
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Hornacek was traded to Philadelphia in 1992 along with Andrew Lang for the flamboyant but productive Charles Barkley, probably a future Hall of Famer himself. Former Boston Celtics member Danny Ainge was added to the mix and the Suns had a dynamic team that would be hard to stop. They won 62 games that year, advancing to the NBA finals for the second time ever, where they lost in 6 games to the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen-led Bulls.
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The next couple of years saw the Suns waste leads against the Houston Rockets and get eliminated by them both years. In 1996, Barkley's relationship with Colangelo grew sour and they trashed each other publicly. Their feud has since been repaired, however, and Barkley appeared at a Suns home game in 2003. He was also present to see his number retired in 2004. Barkley was traded and the Suns began a downward spiral. While this was going on, Johnson retired, but he attempted a comeback to try to help the Suns during the 2000 playoffs.
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The Suns kept making the playoffs until the 2001-2002 campaign, when they fell short for the first time in 14 years. That season marked the trade of Jason Kidd, partly due to a publicized domestic violence account where he slapped his wife, to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury. Lottery-bound, however, the Suns were able to draft Amare Stoudemire. The 2002-2003 saw the emergence of Amare Stoudemire, who many have likened to future Hall of Fame power forward Karl Malone. His size and athleticism, along with a strong work ethic, have many anticipating him to join the ranks of Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett as the best NBA players to have jumped from high school to the pro ranks. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2002-2003 season, during which the Suns posted a record of 44-38 and returned to the playoffs.
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In the 2003-2004 season, the Suns again found themselves out of the playoffs. Following one of the worst preseasons in Suns franchise history, the Suns got off to a rocky start in the regular season. Convinced that the team was going nowhere, the Suns made a blockbuster mid-season trade involving Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway. After the trade, the Suns continued to struggle, but the trade opened up opportunities for some of the Sun's young rising stars. In April 2004, the Phoenix Suns were sold to an investment group headed by tycoon Robert Sarver for $401 million dollars. The sale also included the Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers.
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The 2004-05 season has been very successful, with the Suns finishing 62-20, the best record in the NBA. This ties their franchise best record for the most wins, back when Barkley was first traded to the team. The team was led by the MVP-caliber play of point guard Steve Nash, acquired in the offseason, as well as returning players Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion. Nash was voted the NBA MVP for the 2004-2005 season after the regular season ended. The team was not expected to do nearly as well at the beginning of the season.
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The key to their success was their style of play, which heavily relied on the fast break, which is very uncommon in the current era of the NBA. The Suns ended the 04-05 season as the team with the most points per game (110.4), the most threes per game (9.7), and the best three point percentage to match (39.3). The Suns also had a very large contingency of players competing in the NBA All-Star Game and the events that go with it. Shawn Marion, Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, and former Suns player Dan Majerle won the Shooting Stars contest, Steve Nash won the Skills contest, Quentin Richardson and Joe Johnson both competed in the 3-Point Contest (with Richardson winning), Amare Stoudemire came in second in the Slam Dunk contest, and Nash, Marion, and Stoudemire all played in the game itself. In the 2005 playoffs, Phoenix was seeded number one in the western conference, and because it owned the NBA's best record, was guarenteed home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Suns swept the Memphis Grizzlies 4-0 and defeated the number four seeded Dallas Mavericks in the second round 4-2. In the Western Conference Finals, they played the San Antonio Spurs, who had the league's best defense. The Spurs, twice holding the Suns to under 100 points, won the series 4-1, ending Phoenix's outstanding season. The Suns looked to bolster their defense during the summer. It is worthy to note that every single Suns game in history has been covered both on local Phoenix TV and radio by the legendary broadcaster, Al McCoy, who has battled every kind of situation imaginable to keep doing his job every time his beloved Suns play. He even traveled to Japan in 1991, when the Suns kicked off the 1991-1992 NBA season there with 2 games against the Jazz