|History|| Phoenix Suns |
US Airways Center
formerly America West Arena
|Team Colors||Purple, Orange and Gray|
|Head Coach||Mike D'Antoni|
|Conference Titles||2 (1976, 1993)|
|Division Titles||5 (1981, 1993, 1995, 2005, 2006)|
Current Record 編輯
- 1st in Pacific Division.
- Best of Seven Series vs. Lakers; Suns won series 4-3
- Western Conference Semifinals: vs. LA Clippers; Suns won series 4-3
- Western Conference Finals vs. Mavericks; Mavericks winning 2-1
Tuesday, May 30
6:00pm vs. Mavericks TV: TNT
- Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum (1968-1992)
- US Airways Center (formerly America West Arena) (1992-present)
Franchise history 編輯
The early years: a Tucson connection 編輯On January 22, 1968, the NBA awarded expansion franchises to an ownership group from Phoenix and one from Milwaukee.
The primary investors in the Phoenix franchise at its inception had close ties to Tucson, Arizona's second largest city. They were:
- Karl Eller, owner of a major outdoor advertising company and one of the Phoenix area's most influential business leaders at that time. He was a former football player for The University of Arizona;
- Donald Pitt, a Tucson-based attorney;
- Richard Bloch, a Southern California investment broker and former Tucson resident.
- Don Diamond, Tucson-based real estate investor who eventually replaced Eller on the ownership managing team.
Of note is the fact that at the time, it was said that Phoenix civic and business leaders were not actively seeking to attract a professional sports franchise.
The new Suns ownership group hired former Chicago Bulls executive Jerry Colangelo to be general manager (he was 28 years of age when he took the position). Colangelo in turn hired Johnny "Red" Kerr (as of this writing a broadcaster with the Bulls) to be the first head coach of the Suns. Kerr was forced to resign midway through the 1969-70 season, and Colangelo himself coached a few games. Cotton Fitzsimmons replaced Colangelo as Suns coach for the 1970-71 season. He took the team to their first winning season, with a final record of 48-34.
Fitzsimmons would return to the head coaching job in the late 1980's; he would go on to be greatly loved by Suns fans, wildly popular (and successful) as a coach, broadcaster and executive with the Suns organization.
In the 1970s the Suns experienced mild success, combining the talents of such players as 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. 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.
Drug scandal; Colangelo takes control 編輯
The next few years for the Suns were not as successful. In 1987 the Maricopa County Attorney's Office indicted 13 people on drug-related charges, three of whom were active Suns players (James Edwards, Jay Humphries and Grant Gondrezick). These indictments were partially based on testimony from star player Walter Davis, who was given immunity. No defendants ever went to trial: two of the players went into a prosecution diversion program, while another received probation. Nevertheless, the scandal, although now perceived in many respects to be a witchhunt, tarnished the reputation of the franchise both nationally and within the community. The scandal did provide an opening for general manager Colangelo to lead a group that bought the team from its owners for $44 million, a record at that time.
With a drug scandal and the loss of promising young center Nick Vanos, who was killed in the crash of Northwest Airlines Flight 255, the franchise was in turmoil on and off the court. The Suns' luck began to turn around in 1987, however, with the acquisition from the Cleveland Cavaliers of Kevin Johnson, Mark West, and Tyrone Corbin for popular power forward Larry Nance. In 1988, Tom Chambers came over from Seattle as the first unrestricted free agent in NBA history, Jeff Hornacek a 1986 second round pick continued to develop, 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 (coached by Fitzsimmons), in a shocking upset, beat the Los Angeles Lakers in 5 games that season before falling to the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals.
The "Barkley Era" (1992-1996)編輯
In 1992 the Suns moved into their new state-of-the-art arena in downtown Phoenix, the America West Arena (now US Airways Center). With the added revenue the Suns were now enjoying from their new facility, this allowed them to make some major roster moves. It started with the addition of flamboyant all-star power forward Charles Barkley who was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers for Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry. The luring of Barkley, one of the major national stars of the NBA, to Phoenix - one of the "small markets" in the minds of the primarily New York-centered sports media - was considered at the time to be huge. Many Suns fans believe that the addition of Barkley, "put Phoenix on the map". Barkley would go on to win his first and only MVP his first year with Phoenix in 1993.
In addition to Barkley, the Suns added some key players to their roster including former Boston Celtic Danny Ainge and drafted two young promising performers in University of Arkansas center Oliver Miller and forward Richard Dumas. The Suns had a dynamic team that was hard to stop and captured the attention of fans not only in Phoenix but across the entire state of Arizona and the nation as well.
Under rookie head coach Paul Westphal (a former Suns assistant and, as a player, member of the 1976 Suns squad that went to the NBA Finals), the Suns squad consisting mostly of Barkey, Majerle, Johnson and Ainge won 62 games that year. After eliminating the Lakers, Spurs, and Sonics, the Suns advanced to the Finals for the second time in franchise history. They eventually lost in dramatic fashion to the Bulls, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. This series included a triple-overtime game (Game 3); the Suns have been involved in both of the two longest-ever NBA Finals games. Thousands of fans later flocked the streets of Phoenix in a "victory" celebration of sorts, in appreciation of a memorable season.
The Suns continued to show great regular season success going 178-68 during the 1992-1993, 1993-1994, and 1994-1995 seasons. They continued to bolster their roster adding players such as A.C. Green, Danny Manning, Elliot Perry, and Wesley Person. Despite a Pacific Division title in 1995, the Suns ended up being eliminated in consecutive Western Conference Semifinal rounds at the hands of the Houston Rockets. In both years, the Suns lead the series at one point, 3-1 only to see the Rockets come back both years and win the matchup.
At the end of the 1994-1995 season, Phoenix Suns general manager, Bryan Colangelo (son of Jerry) initiated what proved to be a very costly trade, sending all star guard/forward Dan Majerle and a first round draft pick, to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for John "Hot Rod" Williams. Majerle was a favorite amongst the fans in Phoenix as well as the Suns locker room. The trade was made to address the Suns' desperate need of a shot blocking center, but it proved in time to be unbeneficial as Majerle's presence was sorely missed, and Williams's production never met expectations.
The 1995-1996 season turned into a very disappointing year for the Suns in which they posted a 42-40 record, and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs to the San Antonio Spurs. Westphal was fired mid-way through the season and replaced once again by Fitzsimmons. A combination of front office unrest, along with the dwindling possibility of winning a championship lead to turmoil in Barkley's relationship with Jerry Colangelo who both spurned each other publicly. This led to Barkley being traded to Houston for Sam Cassell, Robert Horry, Mark Bryant, & Chucky Brown. (Their feud has since been repaired, and Barkley has appeared at a number of Suns home games. He was also present to see his number retired in 2004.)
After the trade, the Suns began the 1996-1997 miserably starting 0-13 which was a franchise record for the worst start. During the 13 game losing streak Fitzsimmons stepped down as coach and was replaced by former player Danny Ainge. After an on the court altercation between Ainge and Horry, Horry was traded to the Lakers for former Sun and NBA all-star Cedric Ceballos. Cassell was later traded to Dallas for all-star guard Jason Kidd. With a mostly small lineup, the Suns put together an 11 game win streak that put them in the playoffs, in a series that almost upset the highly favored Sonics. In the off-season before the 2000 NBA season the Suns traded for perennial All-Star Anfernee Hardaway (also known as "Penny" Hardaway) stirring a large amount of hype by creating the tandem of Kidd and Hardaway, which was called "Backcourt 2000". However, the combination of Hardaway and Kidd was never fully realized as Hardaway would miss a number of games during the middle of the 1999-2000 season and Kidd would break his ankle going into the playoffs just as Hardaway began his return to the court. As the Suns, now led by the returned Hardaway entered the 2000 playoffs, they shocked the favored San Antonio Spurs by ousting them from the playoffs 3-1 in the best of five series. However, even with the return of Kidd at Hardaway's side in the next round, the Suns fell to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers in a 4-1 series.
The Suns continued to make 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 episode, to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury. Lottery-bound, however, the Suns were able to draft Amare Stoudemire.
The 2002-2003 campaign saw the emergence of Amaré Stoudemire, who many have likened to Hall of Fame foward/center Moses 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. The Suns were eliminated in the first round once again by the San Antonio Spurs, but only after a six game series in which the Suns played the eventual NBA champions surprisingly close.
In the 2003-2004 season, the Suns again found themselves out of the playoffs. Following one of the worst pre-seasons 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 sending Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway off to the New York Knicks. After the trade, the Suns continued to struggle, but the trade opened up opportunities for some of the Sun's young rising stars.
Colangelo sells the franchise 編輯
In April 2004, Colangelo announced that the Phoenix Suns were to be sold to an investment group headed by San Diego-based business executive Robert Sarver for $401 million. The sale also included the Phoenix Mercury and Arizona Rattlers. Sarver is a University of Arizona alumnus with ties to original Suns ownership partner Don Diamond and Arizona men's basketball head coach Lute Olson.
The 2004-05 season marked the Suns' return to the NBA's elite, with the Suns finishing with the best record in the NBA at 62-20. This was the third-largest single season turnaround in NBA history, behind only the San Antonio Spurs who hold first and second best turnaround seasons. This feat was made possible by the off season acquisition of All Star point guard Steve Nash, and free agent swingman Quentin Richardson. The 62-20 record tied for the best single-season record in franchise history, matching the '92-'93 team that went to the Finals. The team was led by the MVP-caliber play of Steve Nash, as well as returning players Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion. Nash was voted the NBA MVP for the 2004-2005 season, and head coach Mike D'Antoni, in his first year at the helm, was named NBA Coach of the Year.
The team was not expected to do nearly as well at the beginning of the season. The key to their success was their style of play, which heavily relied on the fast break, which is uncommon in the current era of the NBA. The Suns ended the 2004-2005 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 (39.3). The Suns also had a large contingent 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 the first seed in the Western Conference, and because it owned the NBA's best record, it was guaranteed 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, the Suns 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, despite Amare Stoudemire averaging a staggering 37.0 ppg, the highest ever by a player in their first Conference Finals.
2005-06 season 編輯
The 2005-06 season began with player Amare Stoudemire on the injured list. He underwent microfracture knee surgery on October 18, 2005. In March, Stoudemire attempted a late-season comeback, but was unsuccessful and remained on the disabled list. This was considered a major blow to the Suns and had experts doubting the team's chances in the postseason as a result.
Some key players would sign with the Suns as free agents before the season began:
- A sign-and-trade deal traded guard Joe Johnson to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Boris Diaw. Diaw would help the Suns out with 13.0 points-per-game en route to an NBA Most Improved Player award.
- Forward Kurt Thomas was also acquired via a preseason trade with the New York Knicks, but missed much of the second half of the season due to a foot injury.
As well as one key late season aquisition:
- Forward Tim Thomas was aquired via free agency after being waived by the Chicago Bulls early in the season.
Without Stoudemire and Thomas, the Suns chances for the postseason were not considered favorable by many critics. Relying primarily on the speed and playmaking ability of point guard Steve Nash, as well as an emphasis on overall team speed, exemplary performances from starters and from the bench, and high-percentage shooting, the Suns went on to win 54 games and clinched the Pacific Division title.
Steve Nash was awarded the 2005-2006 NBA Most Valuable Player Award, after winning the same award in 2004-2005. He is the second point-guard (Magic Johnson was the first) to win the award multiple times. He had 236 points more than second placed Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, who had 688 points. He is also one of nine players to win the award in consecutive seasons.
The Suns began the 2006 Western Conference Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers. After winning Game 1 in Phoenix, they found themselves trailing in the series 3-1 after impressive performances by Laker shooting guard Kobe Bryant. It seemed that a "Hallway Series" between the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, who had eliminated the Denver Nuggets in their own first round series, was imminent.
However, the Suns went on to win three straight games. In the critical Game 5, the Suns won 114-97. However, Raja Bell clotheslined Bryant on a hard foul resulting in an ejection (with 7:33 left to play in the game). In the postgame press conference, Bell explained that he was frustrated by an earlier elbow to the jaw from Bryant. Bell was suspended for one game. The Suns won the next two games. They won Game 6 despite 50 points from Bryant and Bell out serving the one-game suspension. On their home court, they won Game 7, eliminating the Lakers. 
Leandro Barbosa contributed 26 points off the bench. Boris Diaw finished with 21 points and 9 assists. The Suns took advantage of a lack of offense from key Laker players such as Smush Parker, Lamar Odom and Kwame Brown, and held Bryant to only one point in the entire second half (although Bryant was said by the Suns radio broadcasters to have basically given up at that point). Seven Suns players had scores in the double digits.
The Suns became only the eighth team in NBA history to win a playoff series after being behind 3-1.
In Round 2 (the Western Conference Semifinals), the Suns faced the Los Angeles Clippers. The series was a seesaw, with both teams trading games on each others' courts. The Suns finally won the series in the decisive seventh game on their home court at US Airways Center, winning by a margin of 20 with an NBA record 15 3-point FG's May 22, 2006.
The Suns are currently facing the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Finals. As of May 27th, the Suns and Mavericks are tied at one game apiece. This is significant as they have now gone equally far as they did in the 2004-2005 playoffs, when they had Amare Stoudemire and went down 3-1 in a series they never led. Many credit this success (despite losing Stoudemire) to the emergence of Diaw, Bell, and Barbosa as clutch playoff performers; and an overall team depth they did not possess at all last season.
Impact of the Suns 編輯
The Suns franchise was one of the factors that helped the greater Phoenix area attain a level of "big-city" status it was seeking in the 1960's and '70's. The success of the Suns brought national and worldwide attention to the "Valley of the Sun" and the state of Arizona, paving the way in large part for the relocation of the Cardinals football franchise in the late 1980's and the establishment of the Arizona Diamondbacks major league baseball franchise in the 1990's. While these teams draw their share of fans, the Suns have a special place in the sporting lore of Arizona as they were the first professional sports franchise in the state. Rocker Alice Cooper, a Phoenix resident, is a devoted fan.
Suns broadcasters 編輯
Every Suns game from the early 1970s until the 2003-04 season save one was covered both on local Phoenix television and radio by the legendary broadcaster Al McCoy. McCoy's unique, folksy style of calling the games, including his signature catchphrases such as "Shazam!" for a three-point shot, endeared him to thousands of Suns fans across Arizona, the Southwest, and nationwide.
Beginning with the 2003-04 season, Tom Leander assumed the reins on the TV side while McCoy remained on the radio. Former NBA player Vinny Del Negro served as color commentator on the radio side. The flagship radio station is KTAR Phoenix, which has carried Suns games for many years.
Phoenix Gazette, January 22, 1968.
Arizona Republic, January 23, 1968.
Players of note 編輯
Not to be forgotten編輯
- Danny Ainge
- Cedric Ceballos
- Tom Chambers
- Rex Chapman
- Tony Delk
- Richard Dumas
- Michael Finley
- A.C. Green
- Tom Gugliotta
- Anfernee Hardaway
- Jeff Hornacek
- Eddie Johnson
- Joe Johnson
- Kevin Johnson
- Jason Kidd
- Dan Majerle
- Stephon Marbury
- Antonio McDyess
- Oliver Miller
- Larry Nance
- Elliot Perry
- Quentin Richardson
- Cliff Robinson
- Wayman Tisdale
- Mark West
- Paul Westphal
Retired numbers/Suns Ring of Honor編輯
- 5 Dick Van Arsdale, G, 1968-77
- 6 Walter Davis, G, 1977-88
- 7 Kevin Johnson, G, 1988-2000
- 9 Dan Majerle, F, 1988-95 & 2001-02
- 24 Tom Chambers, F, 1988-93
- 33 Alvan Adams, C, 1975-88
- 34 Charles Barkley, F, 1992-96
- 42 Connie Hawkins, F, 1969-73
- 44 Paul Westphal, G, 1975-80 & 1983-84; Head Coach (fired), 1992-96
- 832 Cotton Fitzsimmons, Head Coach, 1970-72 & 1988-92 & 1996 (832 is # of coaching wins)
- Joe Proski (trainer)
- List of Phoenix Suns coaches