The Phoenix Suns were formed in 1968 as an expansion team of the National Basketball Association. They play in the Pacific division of the Western Conference along with four Californian teams, the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Sacramento Kings. The Suns' main rivals are the Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.
Led by fan favorites Paul Westphal and Alvan Adams, the 1976 Phoenix team were barely better than mediocre, finishing with a record of 42-40. However, the team went on a shocking tear of upsets, beating the 2-seed Seattle Supersonics and 1-seed Warriors on their way to the team's first finals appearance. They went on to lose to the Boston Celtics in six games, but the playoff push is considered one of the more improbable runs in basketball history, thus the nickname Sunderella.
So Close But So Far
The Suns had decades of seasons highlighted by household names that ended on a sour note. After Walter Davis carried the team unsuccessfully throughout his career, Phoenix traded for Kevin Johnson. Tom Chambers was acquired in free agency the following year and the duo led the Suns to back-to-back conference finals in 1989 and 1990. They were defeated by the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers in each respective series.
In 1992, the team traded for Charles Barkley, who would win Most Valuable Player honors in his first season in Arizona. He led the team to the '93 championship before losing to Michael Jordan and the Bulls. The Suns have no reached a title series since.
Phoenix continued it's trend of having high-profile players who could not get it done in the postseason as the team rebuilt after the Barkley era. The drafting of Amar'e Stoudemire and acquisition of Steve Nash gave the Suns an MVP-caliber duo, and then added wingman Shawn Marion as a big three. Their offensive prowess could not make up for holes on the defensive end, and the team struggled in the playoffs.
All-Star Shaquille O'Neal was brought in for two years to try and be the catalyst for capturing the Larry O'Brien trophy, but to no avail. Nash and Stoudemire made one more push in 2010 but fell to the Lakers once again in the conference finals.
Phoenix is currently a bottom dweller in the NBA, with their future resting on the shoulders of sharp-shooter Devin Booker and big man DeAndre Ayton.
- Founding Date: 1968
- City: Phoenix, AZ
- Conference: NBA Western
- Number of NBA Championships: 0
- Mascot: Go the Gorilla
- Owner: Robert Sarver
- Head Coach: Igor Kokoskov
- Stadium: Talking Stick Resort Arena