Unless you happen to live in Chicago or Cleveland, 2016 was not a banner year. In fact, I’ll quit mincing words and flat-out say it: 2016 sucked.
It sucked relentlessly. It sucked mercilessly. It sucked to such a degree that the scientific community has had to reassess its consensus for a calendar year’s maximum potential suckage. And of course 2016 was a leap year, giving everyone an opportunity to enjoy a bonus day of suck.
That sucking was especially pronounced in Phoenix, where the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Coyotes, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers, and Arizona State football and basketball teams all failed in such varied and spectacular ways that it is a wonder the entire community isn’t covered in a singular, shameful hicky.
But with this being a Suns blog, let’s keep the focus on the Valley’s original pro sports team.
Entering 2016, the mark for fewest wins by the Suns in a calendar year was eight back in 1968, although that year only spanned three months in the team’s expansion season. The year 1969 held the record for fewest wins in a full year with 23. It also owns the team record for most losses with 59.
But then 2016 happened, and with just one game remaining, the Suns’ record sits at a pitiful 21-59. That means 2016 will go down with the distinction of seeing both the fewest wins in a full year in franchise history and at a minimum tie for the most losses over a calendar year in franchise history.
It’s not like most of these losses were nip and tuck affairs, either. The Suns own a +/- of -675 for 2016 and have lost 12 games by 20 or more points after their 21-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 28. That loss moved 2016 into a tie with 2013’s all-time franchise mark for losses by 20 or more points. Meanwhile, 2016 already salted away the record for most losses by 30 or more points in team history (5), breaking the old record of three in 2013. Any more would just be padding the lead.
And as if the losing hasn’t been enough, other little indignities compounded the issue in 2016. The Suns did not appear in the playoffs once again, making it the 19th year that has happened (not counting 1968), and they did not have a representative in the All-Star Game for only the 11th year ever (excluding 1968 but including the lockout-cancelled 1999 game).
There was the coaching change that saw the team bus run over Jeff Hornacek.
There was the ugly drama surrounding Markieff Morris before his departure.
There were the injuries. Most prominently, Eric Bledsoe missed 47 games after surgery on his left meniscus, Brandon Knight sat out 30 games as he dealt with a sports hernia that ultimately required surgery, and T.J. Warren lost 47 games dealing with both a broken right foot and a mystery head injury that was, at least according to the team, “minor” but not a concussion.
And then there were the losses of another kind. Former Sun Brooks Thompson passed away in June, as did Tyson Chandler’s mother and Mark West’s father in November.
This year has been so virulent for the Suns, in fact, that it even took Prince (Purple Rain). I half expect to hear news of an exploding Orange Julius in a mall food court before the year is out.
Things got so bad in 2016 that Charles Barkley felt compelled to rip the arena nachos on TNT.
There’s simply no getting around it: 2016 was awful. The only way it could have been worse is if Ryan McDonough had traded the Nos. 4, 13, 28, and 34 picks in the 2016 Draft to Cleveland for a Robert Sarver custom Fathead and Devin Booker had quit basketball to pursue his lifelong dream of performing in a one-man interpretative dance show on Broadway.
So here’s my advice. Go find an old paper 2016 calendar and a plunger (a word-of-the-day calendar will work, too, but will be more time consuming). Once you have both, tear out each month in that calendar and wad it up into a ball. Then toss those wads of calendar into the toilet and flush. You have that plunger handy? Good. You’re gonna need it because 2016 isn’t gonna go down without a fight, so take a white-knuckled grip of that handle, scream Auld Lang Syne at the top of your lungs, and plunge like there’s no tomorrow.
(Readers with a septic tank may wish to pursue alternatives to the above suggestion.)
Hang in there, everyone. The year 2017 is almost here. It can’t possibly be any worse than 2016...can it?