Phoenix Suns: Key Players and Updated NBA Playoff Results
Phoenix Suns History and Highlights.
The Suns have been a decent team throughout history but have never won the NBA championship despite the fact they played in three NBA Finals.
Founding and Early Years
The Suns joined the NBA as an expansion team in 1968. After a few seasons of mediocrity, the Suns quickly found their spot among the top team in the Western Conference.
Historic 1975-76 Season
The 1975-76 season was historic for the Phoenix Suns. Charlie Scott and Paul Westphal were new players on the roster, leading the team to the NBA Finals. The Suns faced the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, winning the series 4-2, beating the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in seven games to advance to their first NBA Finals.
The Phoenix Suns faced the Boston Celtics, led by eventual Hall of Famers Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, and Jo Jo White. The Suns returned from a 2-0 deficit to tie the series. However, they lost game 5 in overtime which proved to be the critical moment in the series as the Celtics will win the following one to win the championship.
After missing the playoffs in the following season, the Suns made eight consecutive Playoffs making two Western Conference Finals.
After its eighth consecutive playoff appearance, the next wave of brilliant play by the Suns came in the late 1980s when the team acquired Kevin Johnson from the Cleveland Cavaliers. They also had Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle, who combined to form a solid cornerstone for the team.
The Phoenix Suns made a step forward when Charles Barkley joined the team in the 1992-93 season. Barkley won the regular-season MVP award and led the Suns to the NBA Finals. Barkley played excellent in the final series, but the Chicago Bulls were too good, winning the series in six games.
The Suns Rebuild After Barkley’s Departure
After Barkley left the team to join the Houston Rockets in 1996, the Suns went into the rebuilding process. At the time, the Suns played revolutionary basketball under coach Mike D’Antoni who often played with four guards in the lineup. Besides Kevin Johnson, the Suns had Jason Kidd, Rex Chapman, and Penny Hardaway in those years.
The 2000 and 2010s
In the middle of the 2000s, Steve Nash was the player who took over. The point guard won back-to-back MVP trophies and was the leader of the team that featured Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Merion. However, the team couldn’t surpass the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs to reach the NBA Finals.
Suns Enter Playoffs Drought
When Nash and Stoudemire left, the Suns went into their longest playoff drought in franchise history, missing the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons.
Devin Booker Draft
Things changed for the better when the Phoenix Suns drafted Devin Booker with the 13th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Booker slowly grew into one of the best scorers in the game, and when the team signed veteran point guard Chris Paul, the Suns were back.
In 2020, they didn’t just return to the playoffs after ten years, but they went on to reach the NBA Finals, where they faced the Milwaukee Bucks. The Suns started the series well, winning the first two games at home by double digits, and it seemed like the Bucks stood no chance of stopping them. But then, the Bucks took over the series, winning four straight games, and the Suns were left empty-handed once again.
The Suns came into the 2021-22 season as one of the top favorites to win. They had an outstanding regular season, winning 19 consecutive games at one point. They finished with the best regular-season record but failed short in the second round to the Dallas Mavericks.