1968/69: With a $2 million expansion fee, Phoenix got its first major professional sports teams. While critics scoffed at the idea of basketball in Phoenix, the Suns’ organization headed by 28-year old General Manager Jerry Colonagelo sought to build a first-class organization. The Suns to a step in that direction by hiring Johnny “Red” Kerr, who two years earlier had led the Chicago Bulls an expansion team into the playoffs earning Coach of the Year honors. The first player selected by the Suns was Dick Van Arsdale, a guard taken off the New York Knicks roster. Van Arsdale would score the Suns very first basket on October 18th at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum as the Suns beat the Seattle Supersonics 116-107. The Suns would get off to a great start winning four of their first seven games. However, eventually, they would come back to earth as they just won 12 games the rest of the way on the way to a league-worst 16-66 record.
1969/70: Even though they lost a coin flip for the right to draft UCLA star Lew Alcindor the Suns were able to improve their team by acquiring Paul Silas and Connie Hawkins. Hawkins an ABA star with the Pittsburgh Condors had been blacklisted form the NBA after being involved in a college betting scandal, seven years earlier. After year of playing for the Harlem Globetrotters and various small leagues Connie Hawkins was allowed into the NBA after his attorneys filed suit against the NBA. Hoping to strengthen their new teams the NBA decided to relent and allow Hawkins into the NBA, and the Suns selected him with second overall pick. After going through the first part of the season with a 15-23 record, General Manager Jerry Colangelo decided to take over the coaching duties. Colangelo decided to let Connie Hawkins shot the ball and the plans work as Hawkins averaged 26.4 ppg as the Suns made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history with a 39-43 record. In the playoffs the upstart Suns were heavy underdogs facing the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 would go according to script as the Lakers won 128-112. However, Connie Hawkins but together a superhuman effort in Game 2 scoring 34 points with 20 rebounds as the Suns evened the series with a 114-101 win. As the series shifted to Phoenix the Suns would take a stunning 3-1 series lead as everyone in the Phoenix area jumped aboard the Suns bandwagon. However, the Lakers would rebound to win the next three games taking the series in seven games as Wilt Chamberlain dominated the young Suns on the boards pulling down 20 or more in each game.
1970/71: After their trip to the playoffs interest in basketball in Phoenix skyrocketed, as the Suns looked to improve under new Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons. Under Fitzsimmons the Suns did improve posting a solid 48-34 record, as Dick Van Arsdale and Connie Hawkins each averaged more than 20 points per game. However due to realignment the Suns would not make the playoffs as they finished in third place in the Midwestern Division. Under the new arrangement the top two teams in each division made the playoffs leaving the Suns out despite having a better record than the Golden State Warriors who made the playoffs by finishing second in the Pacific Division.
1971/72: The Suns continued to play solid basketball improving for the third year in a row by posting a 49-33 record, as they were the only team to beat the Los Angeles Lakers who posted an all-time best 69-13 record twice. However, once again the Suns would be squeezed out of the playoffs by finishing in third place as they were embroiled in a battle with the ABA over Charlie Scott. The Suns had acquired Scott’s rights form the Boston Celtics. Scott would join the Suns in March saying the ABA reneged on a promise to pay off a $20,000 loan.
1972/73: After missing the playoffs with solid record two years in a row the Suns decided it was time for a change so Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons was replaced by Bill van Breda Kolff, a colorful man on the bench to say the least, van Breda Kolff had been known for accruing more than his fair share of technical fouls. However, it was the technical aspects of his coaching philosophy that came into question and ultimately cost him his job, after just seven games. General Manager Jerry Colangelo would take over the reins the remainder of the season as the Suns struggled finishing in third place in the Pacific Division where they were relocated to with a 38-44 record.
1973/74: Under new Coach John McLeod the Suns began to rebuild trading away Connie Hawkins to the Los Angeles Lakers for Keith Erickson and a second-round draft pick. Not surprisingly the Suns struggled missing the playoffs for the third straight season with a record of 30-52.
1974/75: Second year Coach John McLeod begins to establish a system based on patience on offense and physical play on defense. Of the Suns 82 games that season, 17 were played without either team scoring 100 points. The Suns appeared to have a shot at making a return to the playoffs. However, injuries to Dick Van Arsdale and Keith Erickson led to a ten-game losing streak in March that ended the Suns hopes, as they finished in fourth place with a 32-50 record.
1975/76: The Suns got off to a blazing start winning 14 of their first 23 games. However, by the All-Star break they had cooled significantly holding an 18-27 record. However, in the second half the Suns would heat up again rolling to a 24-13 record to finish the season in third place with a 42-40 record making the playoffs for the second time in franchise history. Helping to guide the turnaround is Rookie of the Year Alvan Adams, and newcomers Paul Westphal and Garfield Heard. In the playoffs the Suns would eclipse the Seattle Supersonics in 6 games to reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. In the Western Finals the Suns were heavy underdogs facing the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. However, through the first four games the Suns had battled the Warriors even. But after losing Game 5 the Suns looked, they were about to set. The Suns would not go down without a fight forcing a seventh game with a one-point victory at home. In Game 7 in Oakland the Suns would rise to the occasion stunning the Warriors 94-86 to earn their first trip to the NBA Finals. After knocking off the Warriors, 5,000 fans greeted them at the airport as they return home at midnight. However, in the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics the Suns would get off to a rocky start losing the first two games at home. Once again, the Suns would not go down without a fight winning the next two games at home to even the series and set up a crucial fifth game in Boston. In what has been widely considered the greatest game ever played the Suns and Celtics battled back and forth into a double overtime. However, with 1 second left it appeared as if the Suns had burnt out as they trailed by two points, as it would have taken a miracle to extend the game to a third overtime. However, a miracle is just what happened as Garfield Heard caught the inbound pass and turnaround hitting a buzzer beater to force a third overtime. However, with several key players fouling out the Suns would fall in Triple Overtime 128-126. It would be the last gasp for the Suns who lost Game 6 at home 87-80 as the Celtics won their 13th title.
1976/77: Coming off their surprise run to the NBA Finals the Suns hopes were high. However, injuries would hamper the team all season as Gar Heard and Curtis Perry each missed nearly half the season, while Alvin Adams, was slowed by an injury he suffered in the fourth game of the season. With all the injuries the Suns would finish in last place with a disappointing record of 34-48.
1977/78: After disappointing last place season the Suns drafted Walter Davis out of North Carolina with the sixth overall pick. Davis would have an immediate impact winning the Rookie of the Year while averaging 24.2 ppg and joining teammate Paul Westphal 25.2 in the top ten in scoring. On defense the Suns were helped by Don Buse, whom they acquired from the Indiana Pacers for Ricky Sobers. The new additions would help the Suns rise from last place to second place as they posted a solid 49-33 record. However, in the playoffs the Suns would have a letdown as they were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in two straight games.
1978/79: The Suns continued to play solid basketball as they posted a 32-20 record heading into the All-Star Break. However, management was not satisfied as team continued to take advantage of the Suns small front line. To help prepare the team for the second half the Suns would acquire Truck Robinson from the New Orleans Jazz for Ron Lee, Marty Byrnes, and a pair of first-round picks. The deal made the Suns stronger as they won 50 games for the first time in franchise history while finishing in second place with a 50-32 record. In the playoffs the play of Truck Robinson would be a huge factor as the Suns beat the Portland Trailblazers in a three-game series, as they rallied from a 12-poingt 3rd quarter deficit to win Game 3 at home 101-91. In the second round the Suns would dominate the Kansas City Kings in five games winning the last three games by at least 15 points. In the Western Finals the Suns were matched up against the Seattle Supersonics. After losing the first two games at home the Suns rallied to win the next three games and had a chance to close the series out in Game 6 at home. However, the Suns would let it slip away losing Game 6 by one point and Game 7 by four as the Sonics went on to the NBA Finals where they easily beat a banged-up Washington Bullets team.
1979/80: The Phoenix Suns spurred by a nine-game winning streak in December and 18 wins in 22 games after the All-Star Break posted a franchise best 55-27 record but had to settle for third place in the competitive Pacific Division. In the playoffs the Suns would get past the Kansas City Kings in a three-game series. However, in the second round the Suns would be knocked off the Los Angeles Lakers led by a rookie named Magic Johnson in five games.
1980/81: The Suns retooled after their second-round exit trading away Paul Westphal to the Seattle Supersonics for Dennis Johnson. The move would prove to pay off as Johnson led the Suns in scoring while they lost just five games at home on the way to capturing their first division title with a record of 57-25. After a first-round bye the Suns were matched up against the Kansas City Kings who they had beaten in the previous two seasons. However, the heavily favored Suns would struggle as they found themselves trailing 3-1 after four games. The Suns would rally to force a seventh game, but in the end the Suns would set with a 95-88 loss at home.
1981/82: The Suns chances for wining a second straight division title ended before the season even began as Walter Davis suffered a broken elbow in the team’s final preseason game on October 26th. Davis would return in 2 months, but the Suns would hover near .500 in his absence. The Suns would recover to make the playoffs with a 46-36 record. In the playoffs the Suns would squeeze past the Denver Nuggets in a 3-game series. However, in the 2nd round the Suns would be swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in 4 straight games.
1982/83: Heading into the season the Suns would make another blockbuster trade sending Truck Robinson to the New York Knicks for Maurice Lucas. Lucas would have an immediate impact on the Suns as he averaged 16.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game as the Suns finished in second place with a solid 53-29 record. In addition to Lucas the Suns would be aided by Larry Nance who had a breakout season with 16.7 ppg. After starting the playoffs with a win against the Denver Nuggets the Suns playoff hopes were severely damaged as Maurice Lucas injured his foot in a Game 2 loss. Despite having Game 3 at home the Suns would set in overtime 117-112.
1983/84: Prior to the season the Suns would make another deal sending Dennis Johnson to the Boston Celtics for Rick Robey and Boston’s two second round picks. The deal would quickly backfire on the Suns as Johnson became a catalyst for another Celtics Championship while Robey was slowed by knee surgery averaging just 5.6 ppg, as the Suns played mediocre basketball all season on the way to finishing in fourth place with a 41-41 record. Despite struggling all season, the Suns entered the playoffs with a six-game winning streak. In the playoffs the Suns would continue to play solid basketball as they stunned the Portland Trailblazers in a hard fought five game series. In the second Round the Suns continued to play their best basketball as they knocked off the Utah Jazz in six games. However, in the Western Conference Finals the Suns would be overmatched by the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.
1984/85: In an early preseason game the Suns would lose Walter Davis to a knee injury when he slipped on a slick court at the Los Angeles Forum in a preseason game against the Lakers. Davis would miss all but 23 games as the Suns struggled through a season full of injuries that would see Larry Nance, Rick Robey, Mike Sanders and Kyle Macy miss significant time due to injuries, on the way to finishing in third place with a 36-46 record. However, despite their poor record the Suns would still make the playoffs, but they would be swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in three straight games.
1985/86: After being swept out of the playoffs the Suns decided to rebuild by parting company with Maurice Lucas and Kyle Macy. The result was not very good as the Suns struggled all season missing the playoffs with a wretched 32-50 record, as the Suns failed to send a player to the All-Star Game for the first time in franchise history. The lone bright sports would come as Walter Davis and Alvan Adams passed the 12,000-point plateau for their NBA careers.
1986/87: The Suns continued to struggle as Coach John McLeod began to express frustration at the team’s lack of depth and youth. On February 25th McLeod seemed extra irritated during a pre-game interview, after the Suns lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on the road. A day later McLeod would be fired ending his 14-year reign as coach. Under his replacement Dick Van Arsdale the Suns would play better posting a 14-12 record as the Suns finished in fifth place with a 36-46 record.
1987/88: General Manager Jerry Colangelo becomes owner of the Suns when he leads an ownership group that purchases the team for $44 million dollars. A political decision almost put the team in jeopardy as Arizona voted to rescind state holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King had triggered a chain reaction of negative responses from social, political and business leaders, causing previous Owner Richard Bloch to consider moving the team to Toronto or Anaheim. However, Colaneglo’s purchase meant the Suns were staying put. New ownership was not the only changes for the Suns, as the team may multiple trades. At the draft Eddie Johnson was acquired from the Sacramento Kings for Ed Pinckney. When the season began the Suns continued to struggle, as they made several deals at the trading deadline, sending James Edwards to the Detroit Pistons for Ron Moore and Jay Humphries to the Milwaukee Bucks for Craig Hodges. The Suns biggest deal came on February 21st when they sent Larry Nance and Mike Sanders, and a first-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for, Kevin Johnson, Mark West, Tyrone Corbin, and draft picks in the first and second round. The Suns would go on to finish in fourth place with a 28-54 record missing the playoffs for the third straight season.
1988/89: Cotton Fitzsimmons the General Manager behind all the wheeling and dealing took over the coaching reigns as the Suns added another new face by signing free agent Tom Chambers away from the Seattle Supersonics. All the deals would begin to pay off as Kevin Johnson had a break out season scoring 20.4 ppg as Dan Majerle a player obtained with the Cleveland Cavaliers draft pick has a solid rookie season averaging 8.6 ppg, ending the criticism the Suns gave away Larry Nance for three nobodies and draft picks. Meanwhile Chambers would lead the team in scoring with 25.7 ppg as the Suns had a remarkable turnaround season finishing in second place with a 55-27 record. In the playoffs the Suns would get off to a blazing start as they swept the Denver Nuggets in three straight games. In the second round the Suns continued to roll beating the Golden State Warriors in five games. However, in the Western Conference Finals the Suns would be overwhelmed by the Los Angeles Lakers who swept them aside in four straight games. However, the Suns were clearly on their way as they were showered with postseason awards, as Kevin Johnson was named Most Improved Player, Eddie Johnson won the Sixth Man Award, and Cotton Fitzsimmons took home Coach of the Year honors.
1989/90: Coming off their turnaround season the Suns continued to play solid basketball finishing in third place with a solid record of 54-28, as Kevin Johnson continued to establish himself as a star, averaging 22.5 ppg while averaging 11.4 assists per game. In the playoffs the Suns survived a hard fought five game series with the Utah Jazz, winning Game 5 by a 104-102 score on the road to set up a second-round rematch with the Los Angeles Lakers. After splitting the first two games on the road the Suns would stun the Lakers at home winning back to back games after a Los Angeles reporter, said “The Suns would fold like a tortilla.” Up three games to one the Suns would not take any chance beating the Lakers on the road 106-103 to reach their second straight conference finals. However, the joy would be short lived as they lost two close games to the Portland Trailblazers on the road. The Suns would come back to win the next two games at home. However, the Blazers would go on to win the series in six games. In total the Suns lost four games by a combined 12 points.
1990/91: The Suns started the season in the land of the rising sun as they split their first two games of the season against the Utah Jazz, as the NBA started the regular season in Tokyo. The Suns would continue to play terrific basketball finishing in third place with a solid 55-27 record. However, in the playoffs the Suns would be eclipsed by the Utah Jazz in four games.
1991/92: The Suns continued to heat up the Western Conference posting their fourth straight 50-win season while finishing in third place with a solid 53-29 record. In the playoffs the Suns would get off to a fast start as they swept the San Antonio Spurs in three straight games. In the second round the Suns found themselves in a quick hole as they dropped the first two games on the road to the Portland Trailblazers. After winning Game 3 the Suns needed Game 4 to even the series. The Suns would fall behind early as they trailed by 13 points after one quarter. However, the Suns would chip away at the league as both teams shot the lights out. The game would go to overtime tied 127-127 as fans in Phoenix were into a frenzy. The game would go to a second overtime as teams seesawed throughout the 2nd quarter. The Suns would hold 151-150 lead with 27 seconds left after a Dan Majerle jump shot. However, the Blazers would retake the lead with 10.7 seconds left. After missing a shot, the Blazers would extend the lead as Terry Porter made one of two foul shots to make the score 153-151. However, with 3.6 seconds left the Suns had one more shot. However, Majerle’s three pointer sailed wide as the Trailblazers grabbed a 3-1 series lead. It would end up being the last game ever at the Arizona Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum as the Blazers won the series in five games. Following the season Cotton Fitzsimmons would retire, handing the coaching reigns over to Paul Westphal.
1992/93: After four straight 50-win seasons the Suns clearly needed to make a bold move to take the next step as they entered play the brand-new America West Arena. On June 17th the Suns made such a move by trading Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang and Tim Perry to the Philadelphia 76ers for Dream Teamer Charles Barkley. Sir Charles would have an immediate impact on the Suns as he won the NBA MVP while averaging 25.6 ppg as the Suns posted the best record in the NBA at 62-20. However, in the playoffs the Suns would face adversity right away as they dropped their first two games at home to the eighth seeded Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns would battle back to send the series back to Phoenix for a fifth game. In Game 5 the Suns would put to again as they needed overtime to dispatch the pesky Lakers 112-104. In the second round the Suns continued to be put to the test as they battled the San Antonio Spurs even through four games. After winning Game 5 at home, the Suns and Spurs battled back in forth in Game 6. Determined not to go to a seventh game Charles Barkley hit a 20-foot shot over David Robinson with just 1.8 seconds remaining to give the Suns a 102-100 win. In the Western Conference Finals, the Suns would not be as lucky as they alternated wins through the first six games setting up a dramatic seventh game for a trip to the NBA Finals at the America West Arena. Barkley would put up an incredible MVP performance in Game 7 scoring 44 points and pulling down 24 boards as the Suns won 123-110 to advance to the NBA Finals for a show down with the two-time defending NBA Champion Chicago Bulls. However, the Suns would not stop Michael Jordan as the Bulls won the first two games in Phoenix. With their backs to the wall the Suns gave Phoenix fans a case of deja vu as they needed three overtimes to beat the Bulls in Game 3 at Chicago 129-121. It was just the second triple Overtime game in NBA Finals history; the Suns were involved in both. However, Jordan would put up 40 points in Game 4 as the Bulls took a 3-1 series lead with a 111-105 win. With Chicago ready to party the Suns would send the series back to Phoenix with a clutch 108-98 win in Game 5. The Suns appeared to be on the way to a seventh game as they led with five seconds left 98-96. With all eyes on Michael Jordan as time wound down John Paxson was left wide open nailing a three-point shot with three seconds left to take a 99-98 lead. The Suns would be unable to get off another shot as the Bulls won their third straight NBA Title.
19993/94: Coming off their trip to the NBA Finals the Suns continued to re-tool as they signed free agent A.C. Green away for the Los Angeles Lakers while allowing Tom Chambers to walk away and sign with the Utah Jazz. The Suns would be put to the test all season as Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, and Cedric Ceballos all missed time due to injuries. However, the Suns would still manage to put together a solid season finishing in second place with a solid 56-26 record. As the playoffs came around the Suns were finally healthy as they dominated the Golden State Warriors in three straight games. The Suns stayed hot early in the second round as they won the first two games on the road against the Houston Rockets, overcoming a 20-point 4th quarter deficit to win Game 2 in overtime. However, the Suns would drop the next two games at home, as the Rockets battled back to take a 3-2 series lead. The Suns would rebound to take Game 6 at home, but the Rockets would win in seven games on the way to winning the NBA Championship.
1994/95: After their heartbreaking loss to the Houston Rockets the Suns would land another big free agent signing Danny Manning away from the Atlanta Hawks. Manning would play solid basketball with 17.9 ppg as the Suns again battled through injuries to lead the Pacific Division. However just as Charles Barkley was getting healthy Manning himself would be lost with torn ligaments suffered in practice. Despite losing Manning for the remainder of the season the Suns would hold on to first place with a 59-23 record. In the playoffs the Suns would get off to a fast start as they swept the Portland Trailblazers in three straight games capped by a 47-point night by Charles Barkley in Game 3. In the second round the Suns were matched up against the Houston Rockets again and appeared to be on their way leading three games to one. However, the Suns would drop Game 5 at home in overtime as the Rockets rallied to take the series in seven games, as the Suns let a ten-point lead slip away in Game 7 at home.
1995/96: After two straight heartbreaking losses to the Houston Rockets the Suns decided to strengthen their weaknesses on defense by trading Dan Majerle to the Cleveland Cavaliers for John Williams. The Suns would struggle out of the gate, as Coach Paul Westphal was fired in January with the Suns sitting with a 14-19 record. Replacing Westphal would be Cotton Fitzsimmons, as the Suns continued to play mediocre basketball barely making the playoffs with a disappointing 41-41 record. In the playoffs the Suns would set quickly as they are beaten by the San Antonio Spurs in four games. Following the season, the Suns decided to start over by dealing Charles Barkley to the Houston Rockets for Mark Bryant, Chucky Brown and Robert Horry.
1996/97: The Suns would not start the post-Barkley era in style as they started the season by losing their first eight games before Coach Cotton Fitzsimons stepped aside and let Danny Ainge take over. Under Ainge the Suns would continue to struggle as they lost their first 13 games before beating the New Jersey Nets on November 27th. The Suns struggles continued as they entered the New Year with an awful 10-20 record, as they acquired Jason Kidd from the Dallas Mavericks for Michael Finley, A.C. Green and Sam Cassell on December 26th. Things would go from bad to worse as Kidd suffered a broken collarbone in his first game as a Sun putting him on the shelf for six weeks. When Jason Kidd returned to the line up the Suns were still scuffling with a 19-32 record. Kidd would play well as he tried to work his way in the lineup, but as the Suns entered March with a 21-36 record, the season looked lost. However, the Suns would suddenly get hot winning 12 of 15 games in March. In April the Suns continued their miraculous comeback as they won seven of ten games to make it into the playoffs with a 40-42 record. In the playoffs the Suns would get off to a fast start as Rex Chapman poured in 44 points as the stole Game 1 on the road against the Seattle Supersonics. The Sonics would recover to take Game 2, as the Suns had a chance to close the series out in four games with a 110-103 win in Game 3. However, the Suns appeared to be running out of gas as they trailed by three points as time ran out. However, Chapman would hit a dramatic shot to send the game into overtime. In overtime the Sonics would recover and win to send the series back to Seattle where they won Game 5 to end the Suns dramatic late season turnaround.
1997/98: The Suns carried the momentum of their late season turnaround as they climbed back above the 50-win mark finishing in third place with a 56-26 record, as nine Suns averaged better than nine points per game thanks to the play making ability of Jason Kidd who averaged 9.1 ppg. However, in the playoffs the Suns would suffer a letdown as they are beaten by the San Antonio Spurs in four games.
1998/99: After a four month lockout that wiped out half the season the Suns played mediocre basketball as the Suns were hurt by inconsistent scoring from other players and the lack of large, physical players up front, finishing in fourth place with a mediocre 27-23 record. Things may have been worse if not for Jason Kidd who led the league in assist, while posting seven triple-doubles. However, in the playoffs the Suns would be eclipsed by the Portland Trailblazers in three straight games.
1999/00: The Suns would go through another turbulent season as Coach Danny Ainge stepped down early in the season to spend more time with his family. Under Ainge’s replacement Scott Skiles the Suns would play solid basketball posting a 40-22 record as they overcame a rash of injuries, which included a scary life-threatening seizure to Tom Gugliotta, on the way to finishing in third place with a 53-29 record. As the season ended the banged-up Suns would talk Kevin Johnson who retired two years earlier into coming back to help the team down the stretch and in the playoffs. In the playoffs the Suns would take advantage of a banged-up San Antonio Spurs team playing without Tim Duncan to advance to the second round in four games. However, in the second round the Suns would be overwhelmed by the Los Angeles Lakers falling in five games.
2000/01: The Suns would get off to a fast start winning seven of their first eight games. However, as January rolled around the Suns would be plagued by injuries as Anfernee Hardaway was forced to shut down his comeback attempt after just four games. An off the court incident involving Jason Kidd would make matters worse as he missed 15-games after being charged with spousal abuse. Kidd would return to lead the Suns back into the playoffs for the 13th straight season with a 51-31 record. However, in the playoffs the Suns would make another first round exit as they are beaten by the Sacramento Kings in four games. Following the season, the Suns roster will undergo major changes as Jason Kidd is traded to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury.
20001/02: To say the Jason Kidd-Stephon Marbury deal didn’t work out would be an understatement as the Phoenix Suns struggled all season missing the playoffs for the first time since 1988 with a horrid 36-46 record. Marbury would lead the Suns with 20.4 ppg, but the Suns clearly missed the play making ability of Jason Kidd who had an MVP type season turning New Jersey Nets from perennial losers to Eastern Conference Champions.
2002/03: In the NBA Draft the Suns rolled the dice drafting Amare Stoudemire with the ninth overall pick. Stoudemire had never played a single game of college basketball and even had his high school career tarnished by losing his eligibility in his junior season. However, the gamble would pay off, as Stoudemire was a force on the boards with an impressive 8.8 rebound per game, which enabled Stephon Marbury and Shawn Marion to each score more the 20 points per game. The Suns would go on to beat out the Houston Rockets for the final playoff spot with a record of 44-38 as Stoudemire beat out Rockets star Yao Ming for Rookie of the Year honors. In the playoffs the Suns got off to a dramatic start as they stunned the San Antonio Spurs on the road in Game 1 in overtime forcing overtime on a bank shot by Amare Stoudemire and winning on buzzer beating 3-point bank shot by Stephon Marbury 96-95. The Suns would continue to give the Spurs all they could handle but starred a 3-1 deficit in the face after losing Game 2 and Game 3, as they trailed Game 4 throughout. However, the Suns would stage a remarkable comeback tying the series at two games apiece on a game winning shot from Jake Voskuhl. After losing Game 5 in San Antonio the Suns would finally set in Game 6 losing to the Spurs 87-85.
2003/04: After a strong performance against the eventual NBA Champions in the playoffs the Suns stumbled out of the gate posting a mediocre 7-8 record through the end of November. Things would only get worse in December as the Suns posted an awful 5-12 record on the month which led to the dismissal of Coach Frank Johnson. With Mike D’Antoni taking over the rest of the way, the Suns would also decide to retool as they trade Stephon Marbury and Anfernee Hardaway to the New York Knicks in a multiplayer deal aimed at cutting the team’s payroll. With the team going in a new direction they would struggle all season spending most of the season at the bottom of the Pacific Division. However, with a relatively strong final month the Suns would be able to escape last place finishing in sixth place with a record of 29-53. Following the season, the Suns took advantage of their payroll flexibility signing free agent all-star Steve Nash along with Quentin Richardson.
2004/05: Coming off an awful 29-53 season the addition of Steve Nash made a difference right away as the Suns had a ball handler capable of setting up Amare Stoudemire on the inside, as well fellow newcomer Quentin Richardson gave the Suns an outside threat, as the Suns came flying out of the gate with a 12-2 record in November. The Suns would stay hot all season as they had the most dynamic offense in the NBA averaging 110.4 ppg as they ran away with the Pacific Division Title and would end up with the best record in the NBA at 62-20 equaling a franchise best. The incredible turnaround would earn Mark D’Antoni Coach of the Year honors while Steve Nash was awarded the NBA MVP with 11.5 Assists per Game. In the playoffs the Suns continued to rise as they easily knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies in four straight games. In the second round the Suns were given more of a fight as Steve Nash faced his old Dallas Mavericks teammates. After taking the series opener the Suns were stunned at home by the Mavericks in Game 2 losing 108-106. The Suns would bounce back to win Game 3 on the road but would drop Game 4 despite a 48-point night from Steve Nash. In Game 5 at home Nash again was on fire scoring 34 with 12 rebounds as the Suns won 114-108. Hoping to avoid a seventh game the Suns again looked for Nash to lead the way as he showed why he was the league’s MVP scoring 39 in a 130-126 overtime win to send the Suns to the Conference Finals. In the Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs the Suns found themselves in an early hole losing the first two games at home despite 41- and 37-point games from Amare Stoudemire. The hole would grow deeper as they lost Game 3. The Suns would avoid the sweep by winning Game 4, but ultimately the Spurs were too strong as they eclipsed the Suns in five games.
2005/06: Coming off the trip Western Conference Finals the Suns took some loses as they were forced to send Joe Johnson to the Atlanta Hawks in a sign and trade for Boris Diaw and two future first round picks. To replace Johnson the Suns signed Free Agent Raja Bell away from the Utah Jazz, while trading Quentin Richardson to the New York Knicks for Kurt Thomas. More storm clouds would invade Phoenix as Amare Stoudamire was lost to knee surgery that would limit him to just three games. Relying on players like Shawn Marion and Steve Nash the Suns would still manage a strong start as they posted a 19-10 record through the season’s first two months. Meanwhile the play of Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa was the most pleasant surprise of the season as each had breakout season with Diaw averaging 13.3 ppg, more than tripling his previous career high. The sudden turnaround would earn Diaw the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. While Barbosa averaged 13.1 ppg off the bench. However, it was Steve Nash also had a career high 18.8 ppg while once again leading the league with 10.5 assists per game as he won his second straight NBA MVP. In the playoffs the Suns would face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. After winning Game 1 by a score of 107-102, the Suns suddenly found themselves in a freeze out as lost the next two games while failing to reach 100 points. Game 4 would see more struggles for the Suns offense, but they seemed well on the way to holding on to a tight win when Steve Nash made an uncharacteristic turnover allowing Kobe Bryant to hit a dramatic shot to tie the game in the final second of regulation. In overtime the Suns led late again when Nash was tied up by Luke Walton allowing Kobe, a chance to be the hero again as he nailed the game winner as time expired putting the Suns a 3-1 hole with a 99-98 win. Facing elimination, the Suns came out shooting in Game 5 at home winning 114-97. Game 6 back in Los Angeles would once again go to overtime, but this time things would be different as Tim Thomas made two key three pointers as the Suns outscored the Lakers 21-13 in Overtime for a 126-118 win that evened the series. In Game 7 the Suns jumped out to a 32-15 lead in the first quarter and never looked back completing the comeback with a 121-90 blowout win. Finished with the Lakers the Suns still had LA on the horizon as they faced the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round. This series would also be tight all the way as the Suns won Game 1 by a score of 130-121, but saw the Clippers rebound to win Game 2. The Suns would win Game 3 in Los Angeles, but the Clippers would win Game 4 as the teams alternated wins through the first six games setting up another Game 7 in the US Airways Center. Once again, the Suns came out shooting scoring 65 points in the first half on the way to a 127-107 win to advance to the Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks. Led by Boris Diaw who scored 34 points the Suns continued to shoot the lights out winning Game 1 on the road 121-118. However, the Mavericks would rebound to win the next two games as the wear and tear of two seven game series began to weight on the Suns with Raja Bell tearing his calf. Bell would return to play in Game 4 leading the Suns to a solid 106-86 win. However, the Suns would not win again as the Mavs won the next two games to advance to the NBA Finals in six games.
2006/07: Coming off their defeat in the Western Conference Finals the Suns stumbled out of the gate, losing five of their first six games. The Suns would quickly turn things around as they would lose just one of their next 19 games posting a 15-game winning streak that was sandwiched by overtime losses. After losing two of three, the Suns went right back on another winning streak, this time winning 17 games in a row, rising to the top of the Pacific Division where they would remain for the rest of the season. The Suns would go on to finish the season with a record of 61-21, securing the second seed in the NBA Playoffs. Facing the Los Angeles Lakers for the second year in a row, the Suns looked to avoid the problems of the previous season by jumping all over the Lakers in Phoenix taking the opener 95-87, as Leandro Barbosa who scored 26 points. Barbosa would equal his 26-point output in Game 2, as the Suns eclipsed the Lakers again 126-98. After losing Game 3 in Los Angeles, the Suns took a commanding 3-1 series lead with a 113-100 win in Game 4 as Steve Nash had a franchise record 23 assists, while Amare Stoudamire scored 27 points with 21 rebounds. The Suns would go on to close the series in five games winning the finale 119-110, as Stoudamire had another solid game with 27 points and 16 rebounds. Prior to the start of the second round, the entire dynamic of the NBA Playoffs changed as the Dallas Mavericks who posted the best record in the NBA, were upset by the 8th seed Golden State Warriors. The Mavericks stunning defeat set the Suns second round series against the San Antonio Spurs up as a defacto NBA Final as the teams with two best record remaining in the playoffs met with a trip to the Western Conference Finals on the line. Game 1 would be an indication just how rough the series would be for the Suns, as Steve Nash suffered a deep gash on his nose trying to go for a steal from Tony Parker in the game’s final minute. Nash could only watch helplessly as Suns trainers tried to stop the bleeding as the Spurs took the opener 111-106. Led by Amare Stoudamire the Suns would rebound to even the series with a 101-81 win in Game 2. As the series shifted to San Antonio, the bad blood began to boil over, as hard fouls and cheap shots were coming back and forth, while the Spurs won 108-101. The Suns would bounce back to even the series again with a 104-98 win in Game 4, as the Suns scored 32 points in each of the final two quarters. However, the game will be best remembered for the controversial finish as the Spurs Robert Horry slammed the smaller Steve Nash into the scorer’s table late in the game. Trying to defend his teammate Raja Bell shoved Horry, while Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw stepped off the bench to see if their teammate was ok. Horry would be suspended two games, but it would be even more costly for the Suns who would lose Stoudamire and Diaw for Game 5, because of a controversial NBA rule that stated even leaving the bench are for a second would result in a one game suspension. Neither player got close to the dust up, but they were still suspended and sorely missed as the Spurs took control of the series with an 88-85 win, as the undermanned Suns simply ran out of gas in the second half. Stoudamire would return for Game 6 and would have a strong performance with 38 points and 12 rebounds. However, the Spurs were too much to overcome, winning the game 114-106 to close out the series. In the end it turns out this series did decide the NBA Championship as the Spurs went to easily win their fourth NBA Championship in nine years.
2007/08: After their frustrating elimination at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, the Suns entered the season determined to get revenge, and finding a way to match up better with the Spurs. The person in charge of finding last piece was Steve Kerr, who had won championships as a player with the Spurs, and Chicago Bulls, who was named the Suns new General Manager and President of Basketball Operations. Hoping to find lightning in a bottle the Suns signed former All-Star Grant Hill to an incentive filled deal that included a second-year player option. Hill was injury plagued still was able to show his All-Star form whenever he was healthy enough and it proved to be a low risk high reward deal for the Suns, who started the season well by winning 16 of their first 20 games. The Suns appeared to be ready for a season long battle with the Los Angeles Lakers heading into February with 33-14 record. However, still focused on the Spurs, the Suns made a roll of the dice, trading Shaw Marion to the Miami Heat for Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq a former league MVP was struggling badly in Miami at the time of the deal, and the Suns hoped the deal would improve their weakness on defense. The deal would not have the effect the Suns desired as Shaquille O’Neal was no longer the dominant player he once was, as the Lakers pulled away to win the division title. The Suns would not completely collapse, but in a tough Western Conference, their 55-27 record, would earn them the sixth seed and a first round match up with the hated Spurs. In Game 1 with Amare Stoudemire scoring 33 points, the Suns gave the Spurs all they could handle on the road. However, a stunning three pointer from Tim Duncan at the end of the first overtime sent the game to a second overtime, where Manu Ginobili buried the Suns with a layup with 1.8 seconds left to win the opener 117-115. Stoudemire would score 33 again in Game 2 but watched helpless as the Spurs won again 102-96. The Suns struggles would continue at home as they behind 3-0 with a 115-99 loss in Game 3. The Suns would grab a 105-86 win in Game 4 to avoid the sweep, but it was not enough as the Spurs ended the Suns season again with a 92-87 win in Game 5. Following their elimination would allow Coach Mark D’Antoni to speak with other teams, opening the door for him to sign a four-year deal worth $24 million with the New York Knicks. The Suns would eventually name Terry Porter as his successor.
2008/09: Under new Coach Terry Porter, the Suns tried to focus more on defense, moving away from the Suns run and gun style of offense. However, from the start it did work well in Phoenix, as Porter quickly became unpopular with the players and management. Hoping to reshape the team the Suns traded Boris Diaw and Raja Bell to the Charlotte Bobcats on December 10th for high-scoring swingman, Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and a second-round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Richardson played well in Phoenix, averaging 16.4 ppg. However, Suns management was still not satisfied and decided to fire Terry Porter following the All-Star Game, which was held at U.S. Airways Center, with Shaquille O’Neal sharing MVP honors with former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. To replace Porter, the Suns named Alvin Gentry their interim coach. Gentry decided to bring back the Suns up tempo offense and had strong results right away as the Suns won their first three games under Gentry scoring over 140 points in each game. However, just as they were about to go on a roll the Suns suffered a setback as Amare Stoudamire was lost for the last two months with an eye injury. Despite the loss of Stoudamire the Suns would finish the season strong, winning 12 of their last 16 games. However, they would miss the playoffs in the competitive Western Conference despite posting a respectable 46-36 record. Following the season Gentry would be retained as the Suns coach, while the team decided to part ways with Shaquille O’Neal, trading the future Hall of Famer to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic and a pick 2010 NBA Draft. Both Wallace and Pavlovic would be bought out of their contracts before ever playing a game with the Suns.
2009/10: After missing the playoffs the Suns with Alvin Gentry coaching from the start of the season looked to rebound. With a team that was healthy from the start of the season the Suns got off to a fast start, winning their first four games on the way to a 14-3 start. In December, the Suns took a step back as they struggled with a 7-9 record while playing several top tier teams. January would be more of the same, as the Suns lost all four games on an Eastern Conference Road trip, while again posting a 7-9 record. Things would change in February as the Suns became one of the hottest teams in the NBA as they won 23 of 28 games, closing the gap on the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pacific Division, and clinching a playoff spot in the process. The Suns would go on to finish the season with a 54-28 record, falling three games short of the Lakers who had the best record in the West. Helping to drive the Suns, was a high scoring offense that averaged 110 points per game, as the Suns hit 40% of their three point shot attempts. The Suns would also get big years from Amare Stoudamire who averaged 23.1 points with and 8.9 rebounds per game and Steve Nash who averaged 16.5 points and 11 assists per game. In the playoffs the Suns got off to a shaky start, as they lost the opener at home to the Portland Trail Blazers 105-100. The Suns would rally to win the next two games, thanks to strong efforts from Jason Richardson who scored 29 points in Game 2 and 42 points in Game 3. After the Blazers won Game 4 to even the series, the Suns again rose to the occasion, winning 107-88 in Game 5, as they got a strong balanced scoring effort. They would go on to close the series in the six games, as Jason Richardson scored 29 points as the Suns won 99-90 on the road. Facing their old nemesis, the San Antonito Spurs in the second round the Suns came out strong winning the opener 111-102, with Steve Nash scoring a game high 33 points. Game 2 would be a carbon copy, as the Suns won 110-102, with Amare Stoudamire scoring 23 points, with 11 rebounds. As the series shifted to San Antonio the Suns found themselves in an 18-point hole. However, with Goran Dragic coming off the bench to score 23 of his team high 26 points in the 4th Quarter the Suns would win again 110-96 to take a 3-0 series lead. The Suns would go on to complete the sweep with a 107-101 win in Game 4, as Amare Stoudamire scored 29 points in the clincher. Facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, the Suns defense became their soft spot, as they lost the first two games on the road by double digits, allowing more than 120 points in each game. As the series shifted to Phoenix, Amare Stoudamire got the Suns back in the series, with 42 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3 as the Suns won 118-109. The Suns would even the series two nights later 115-106, as Stoudamire had another strong game with 21 points. However, as the series shifted back to Los Angeles for Game 5, the Suns would lose a heart breaker 103-101 as Ron Artest scored the game winner at the buzzer. Looking to send the series to a seventh game, the Suns would come up short in Game 6, losing 111-103 as the Lakers went on to win a second straight NBA Championship. Following the season, the Suns would suffer a bigger loss as Amare Stoudamire signed with the New York Knicks.
2010/11: The Suns were left scrambling after losing Amare Stoudamire to the New York Knicks, when the season began the Suns opened with a road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, before beating the Utah Jazz 110-94 in their home opener. The Suns clearly missed Stoudamire as they hovered near .500 for the first six weeks of the season. Sitting at 12-13 on December 18th, the Suns made trade that they hope would get them back on track, as they sent Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark to the Orlando Magic for Marcin Gorat, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, along with a draft pick. Turkoglu himself had only been acquired in the off-season in a trade that sent Leandro Barbosa and Dwayne Jones to the Toronto Raptors in the off-season. The Suns would win their first game after the deal, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-110 on the road, thanks to a 30-point night from Grant Hill. However, they would drop their next four games as they went into the New Year with a record of 14-17. After struggling in the early part of January, the Suns began to find their grove, winning seven of ten games, as they got back to .500 just before the All-Star Break. The Suns continued to tinker with their roster, dealing Goran Dragic to the Houston Rockets, with a draft pick for Aaron Brooks. The Suns would continue to play well after the deal, winning four straight to close out February with a record of 31-27. However, the Suns would go into a slump over the final six weeks, as they missed the playoffs with a record of 40-42.
2011/12: After narrowly missing the playoffs the Suns started to do some reshuffling as they knew they were approaching the end of an era with Grant Hill and Steve Nash in the last year of their contracts. Still they did have the pieces for a big trade as they made several roster changes coming out of a two-month lockout that delayed the start of the season until the day after Christmas. Gone were Aaron Brooks, Mikael Peterus and Vince Carter, added were Shannon Brown, Seabastien Telfair, Ronnie Price and Michael Redd. The Suns struggled early, losing three of their first four games including their first two at home. The struggles continued in January as they continued to dig a hole dropping to 7-13. The Suns would start showing signs of life in February as Nash again was an All-Star as the team started the month wining five of seven, but it quickly dissipated as they lost five of seven after that to close the month. As rumors of trades hung over Phoenix in March, the Suns made a run to the playoffs, finally climbing over .500 on March 18th as they started the month a ball of fire, winning 11 of 15 to get back in the playoff race. The Suns would be in a battle with the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz for the last two spots in the Western Conference Playoffs until the end of the season. However, they would fall three games short, as they lost their last three games, and finished the season at .500 with a 33-33 record. In what would be Steve Nash’s final season in Phoenix the two-time MVP passed Oscar Robertson for fifth on the NBA All-time Assists list, as he led the Suns with 10.7 per game, while scoring 12.5 ppg. The Suns leading scorer was Marcin Gorat who had 15.4 ppg, while Grant Hill also in his final season with the Suns was solid as usual with 10.2 ppg.
2012/13: With the departure of Steve Nash and Grant Hill it was clearly a time of transition for the Phoenix Suns. The Suns spent most of the off-season compiling draft picks and making smaller deals to keep the team somewhat competitive, as they re-acquired Goran Dragic, while signing Michael Beasley and Luis Scola. The Suns were played well early in the season, splitting their first four games. However, as November came to an end the Suns began setting in the Pacific as they suffered a seven-game losing streak that carried over into December. After four straight wins, the Suns would suffer another six-game losing streak as they went into the New Year with a record of 11-21. The Suns continued into January, as they lost seven of nine games before dismissing Coach Alvin Gentry following a January 17th loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns would name Lindsay Hunter as the interim coach for the remainder of the season, as assistants Dan Majerle and Elston Turner both resigned after being passed over. The Suns would record wins in three of their first five games under Hunter but returned to their losing ways in February posting a 4-9 record. The Suns would be active at the trade deadline, acquiring Marcus Morris from the Houston Rockets for a second-round draft pick, reuniting him with his twin brother Markieff. The Morris twins would play well but the Suns would not, as they went on to finish with a record of 25-57. Following the season Lindsay Hunter would be replaced by Jeff Hornacek.
2013/14: Under new Coach Jeff Hornacek the Suns entered the season with low expectations as most predicted them to be among the worst teams in the NBA. However, early on the Suns showed they were going to be better than anyone though as they started the season with a 104-91 win against the Portland Trail Blazers. After posting an 8-8 record in November, the Suns shined brightly in December, winning 10 of 13 games, as they went into the New Year with a record of 19-11. Eric Bledsoe was a big reason for the early success, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-team deal that also involved the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns also picked up Caron Butler in the deal that saw Jared Dudley end up in Milwaukee. However, as January began Bledsoe suffered a torn meniscus in his knee missing the next 33 games. Eric Bledsoe was among the Suns leaders in scoring, rebounding and assists. Bledsoe would average 17.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. During Bledsoe’s absence the Suns struggled, posting a record of 17-16. When Eric Bledsoe returned the Suns won eight of nine games and got back in the playoffs race. However, they would fall one game short of the playoffs, finishing the season with a record of 48-34, as the season came down to an April 12th game against the Dallas Mavericks, which the Suns lost by a score of 101-98. Despite missing the playoffs, the season was a huge success for the Suns, as Goran Dragic had a breakout season, leading the team in scoring with scoring with 20.3 points per game and assists with 5.9 per game. Dragic would go on to win the NBA Most Improved Player award. Another player having a breakout season was Miles Plumlee, who led the Suns in rebounding with 7.8 boards, per game while scoring 8.1 points per game.
2014/15: Coming off a season in which they missed the playoffs despite 48 wins, the Phoenix Suns looked to end their longest playoff drought in 40 years, despite losing Leandro Barbosa and Channing Frye to free agency. The Suns looked strong early in the season, opening the year with two straight wins at home, including a 94-89 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Halloween, as Isaiah Thomas, acquired in the off-season from the Sacramento Kings scored a game high 23 points in the first two games. Over the next two months the Suns would hover at .500, posting 8-8 marks in both November and December, as Thomas dealt with a sprained ankle missing eight games. The Suns would rise in January, posting a record of 10-5, but set in February losing eight of nine games at the start of the month. Looking to rise again, Phoenix was involved in the biggest trade at the deadline, involving six teams. The Suns would land Marcus Thornton from the Boston Celtics, Danny Granger from the Miami Heat, and John Salmons from the New Orleans Pelicans, while getting Kendall Marshall and Brandon Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns also picked up several draft picks. In return the Suns would send Goran and Zoran Dragic to Miami, while Isaiah Thomas a key player off the bench went to Boston, in a deal that also involved the Philadelphia 76ers, getting a protected draft pick the Suns had from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Steve Nash deal. The deal helped at first as the Suns stayed in the race into late March, thanks to solid play from Brandon Knight, but after the long distance shooter who average 13.4 ppg in Phoenix suffered a heel bruise the Suns would limp the remainder of the season. The Suns would drop 10 of their last 11 games, finishing with a record of 39-43, missing the playoffs for the fifth year in a row.
2015/16: The Phoenix Suns had a busy off-season after narrowly missing the playoffs, making a failed run at signing LaMarcus Aldridge as they reshaped their roster. One deal though would negatively affect another as the Suns decided to split up the Morris Twins, trading Marcus Morris, along with Reggie Bullock, and Danny Granger to the Detroit Pistons for a future draft pick. The deal angered Markieff Morris who demanded a trade. Markieff Morris remained with the Suns as the season began but sulked all season as the Suns appeared to be focused more on rebuilding for the future. After an up and down November, the Suns hopes to set in December, as they won just four games, and went into the New Year at 12-23 in the middle of a nine-game losing streak. Making matters worse leading scorer Eric Bledsoe, who was averaging 20.4 points per game went down for the season with a knee injury. Things got even worse in January as the Suns posted a record of 2-12. As February began the Suns made a change firing Jeff Hornacek who had posted a 14-35 record. Earl Watson would be named interim coach for the remainder of the season. When Hornacek was canned, the Suns had a four-game losing streak. They would drop their first nine game under Watson for a total 13-game losing streak before ending February with a 111-104 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. As the streak was in the midst the Suns rid themselves of another headache, trading Markieff Morris to the Washington Wizards for Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, and a draft pick at the trade deadline. Markieff Morris had become a major distraction after his season long complaining after his brother was traded in the off-season. The Suns would continue to struggle the remainder of the season, finishing with a record of 23-59. Despite their continued struggles the Suns promoted Earl Watson to full-time coach.
2016/17: In Earl Watson’s first full season as coach, the Phoenix Suns looked to improve off a terrible 23-59 season. Things did not start off well for the Suns to accomplish that goal as they dropped their first four games. The Suns would play better in November, but they never could get anything going as they went into the New Year with a record of 10-24. The Suns would not play much better in 2017 as they again were never a factor in the chase for the postseason. As March began the Suns had a three-game winning streak, including wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics. However, it was a short lived up in a season of downs, as the Suns lost 13 in a row and finished the year with a record of 24-58. The losing streak was exasperated when Eric Bledsoe was shutdown with a sore knee. Bledsoe later claimed he could play, and the Suns shut him down to get a better draft pick. This began an off-season of tumult for Phoenix as Bledsoe demanded a trade after finish as the Suns top scorer with 21.1 points per game.
2017/18: It was dark times for the Phoenix Suns, who in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went to the NBA Finals, were a far cry from their glory days. After seven years without the postseason, it seemed the Suns were further away than they had ever been to contend for the postseason as they were starting from scratch as the season began. After losing their first three games, coach Earl Watson was the next to go. Jay Triano took over on an interim basis for the remainder of the season, but the remake of the Suns continued as Eric Bledsoe complained he wanted to be dealt and was sent to the Milwaukee Bucks on November 5th for Greg Monroe and two draft picks. Monroe’s stay in Phoenix would be short as he waived after 20 games. The only piece the Suns had left was Devin Booker, who led the team with 24.9 ppg, but in missing 28 games helped the Suns continue their path of despair. Things were not good in the early part of the season as Phoenix hit the New Year with a record of 14-24. They would only get worse once the calendar changed as they went winless in March and endured a 15-game losing streak. From January 20th, the Suns lost 32 of their final 36 games and finished with the worst record the team has had since their first season in 1969, at 21-61, which was the worst record in the NBA.
2018/19: Finishing with the worst record in the NBA, enabled the Phoenix Suns to win the draft lottery. With DeAndre Ayton, leaving the University of Arizona after one season, the Suns naturally selected the local product with the number one pick. The choice of new coach would be a wild card as they hired Igor Kokoskov, who became the first head coach raised outside of North America in NBA history. Ayton had his growing pains but finished his first year as a finalist for Rookie of the Year, scoring 16.3 points with 10.3 rebounds per game. Once again, the Suns made changes early in the season as General Manager Ryan McDonough was fired, during training camp, setting up another season of uncertainty in the desert. While the Suns began the season with a 121-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks, success did not follow, as they lost their next seven games. In December, the Suns suffered a ten-game losing streak as they went into the New Year, as one of the worst teams in the NBA again at 9-29. In February, the Suns nearly suffered another winless month before salvaging a 124-121 win on the road against the Miami Heat to end a franchise-record 17-game losing streak. There were few bright spots to be found, as the Suns were enduring a ninth straight season without the playoffs. Devin Booker was one highlight as he led the team in scoring again with 26.6 ppg. In a three-game stretch in March, Booker scored 59 against the Utah Jazz, 50 against the Washington Wizards, and 48 against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns lost all three games as Booker had little help as the Suns continued to bottom out at 19-63. After just one season, the Suns would fire Igor Kokoskov.
©MMXX Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Phoenix Suns of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on October 22, 2002. Last updated on March 2, 2020 at 11:10 pm ET.