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A Western Conference Pacific Division staple since their inception in 1968, the Phoenix Suns represent the state of Arizona in the National Basketball League. Only two conference titles have been won by Phoenix and neither resulted in an NBA Championship, leaving the Suns and their fans to continue their search for their first ring.
Going against the odds to establish a successful franchise in Phoenix, the Suns struggled through their early years. A sub .500 performance in 1970 saw them bounced by the Lakers in the first round. Their next playoff appearance would not be until 1976 with a very different roster. The unlikely postseason run brought Phoenix all the way to the Finals where they would face off against the Boston Celtics. Phoenix fought hard, particularly in an amazing game five which took three overtimes to decide, before eventually falling in six games.
While the Suns lost out on the championship, the run did seem to spur a major change for the organization. After missing out on the playoffs the next year, the Suns would make the playoffs for the next eight seasons. This was disrupted in the mid-1980s due to some personnel issues. Following the sale of the team at the start of the 1987-1988 season, the Suns would miss the playoffs before going on another streak of playoff appearances that would last from 1989 until 2001. This would include Phoenix’s only other Finals appearance.
Following the 1992-1993 season, in which they would set a franchise record for wins at 62, the Suns and their new leader, Charles Barkley, pushed past the Lakers and Spurs before going a full seven games against the Seattle SuperSonics. Coming out on top in that series to reach the NBA Finals, the Suns matched up against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. While this series out also feature a triple overtime game, Phoenix would, again, lose the series in six games. The Suns would continue to make the playoffs for the next eight seasons but would not reach the Finals again, nor would despite three trips to the Conference Finals between 2005 and 2010 with star power from Steve Nash.
The Suns have not made the postseason since 2010. Their 19 wins last season is second only to their inaugural season. Phoenix is going through a major playoff drought. Despite the many losses, the Phoenix faithful still root for their team and hope that a turnaround is in the works that will bring this franchise back to prominence.
Today’s team is led by Devin Booker. Selected 13th overall back in 2015, Booker has developed into an incredible shooting guard. Tyler Johnson, Kelly Oubre Jr., TJ Warren, and Deandre Ayton round out this squad. Ayton was selected number one overall in the 2018 draft. Mikal Bridges was also a top ten pick traded from Philadelphia. Expect some changes to the roster as management continues to try to upgrade the talent on this team. A new head coach will also get the chance to mold this group into a winning team.
The current Phoenix Suns can always look to their predecessors for inspiration. Phoenix has had no shortage of legendary ball players come through their city including Steve Nash, Charles Barkley, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kevin Johnson, Shawn Marion, Tom Chambers, Jason Kidd, Dan Majerle, and Devin Booker. Click here for additional information about the Phoenix Suns.