Is this the best Phoenix Suns team in franchise history?
The Phoenix Suns became an NBA franchise in 1968, and have yet to win an NBA title. However, that could change this year, as the Suns have a 2-1 series lead over the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals.
Where does this season's version of the Suns rank amongst the best in franchise history? Let's dig into the numbers and find out!
5. 1975-76 Phoenix Suns
This version of the Suns only cracks our list because they made the NBA Finals. They went 42-40 in the regular season under head coach John MacLeod, and were middle of the pack in most statistical categories.
However, they did enjoy a nice playoff run, taking out the Seattle SuperSonics and Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference playoffs before falling to the Boston Celtics in six games in the NBA Finals. Top players on this roster included Hall of Famer Paul Westphal, All-Star Alvan Adams, and future Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley.
4. 2009-10 Phoenix Suns
This version of the Suns was the last hoorah for the Steve Nash/Amar'e Stoudemire tandem in Phoenix. The 2009-10 Suns went 54-28 in the regular season under head coach Alvin Gentry and led the league in points per game and offensive rating.
Nash averaged 16.5 points and 11.0 assists per game and Stoudemire averaged 23.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, veterans Jason Richardson and Grant Hill played large roles in the offense. The Suns defeated the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs before falling to Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in six games in the Western Conference Finals.
3. 2020-21 Phoenix Suns
Yes, this season’s team is likely to win the franchise’s first NBA championship. However, that doesn't mean they're the best squad in franchise history. The 2020-21 Suns went 51-21 in the regular season under head coach Monty Williams and ranked seventh in both offensive and defensive points per game.
These Suns would likely rank higher were it not for the fact they have benefitted from injuries throughout the playoffs as Anthony Davis went down for the Lakers, Jamal Murray was unavailable for the Denver Nuggets, and Kawhi Leonard was MIA for the Los Angeles Clippers. Nonetheless, the future looks bright in Phoenix with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton just entering the prime of their careers.
2. 2004-05 Phoenix Suns
This team was absolutely stacked with talent. The 2004-05 Suns went 62-20 in the regular season under head coach Mike D’Antoni and were first in just about every offensive category. They smoked the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs before falling in five games to Tim Duncan and the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
The starting five on this team was Nash, Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson, and Stoudemire. Leandro Barbosa and Walter McCarty came off the bench. This much talent is hard to overlook despite the disappointing finish. Nash took home NBA MVP honors after this season.
1. 1992-93 Phoenix Suns
Even without a championship, the 1992-93 Suns were still the best team in franchise history. The squad went 62-20 in the regular season under head coach Paul Westphal and ranked first in points per game and offensive rating. Charles Barkley led the way and was the league MVP after averaging 25.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game.
Unfortunately this team had to go through a juggernaut playoff run. They took out the Lakers, Spurs, and SuperSonics in the Western Conference before finally falling in six games to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals.
Jordan averaged 41.0 points per game in the series and Barkley put up 27.3 points, 13.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists in the six-game battle. Chuck later said in The Last Dance that losing to Jordan was the first time he felt like he wasn’t the best basketball player in the world.