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The Phoenix Suns have slipped to 5th in all-time NBA winning percentage

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Yet another thing that Suns fans would rather not hear.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This season the Phoenix Suns’ franchise turns 50.

For most of those years it has been a strong and well respected franchise. It had it’s ups and downs but mostly ups which led to 28 winning (above .500) seasons, 29 playoff appearances, two trips to the NBA Finals and one of the best all-time winning percentages in the NBA. The Suns are still one of only 13 NBA teams that have an all-time winning percentage in regular season games that is over .500 but their all-time winning percentage has been steadily eroding over the past few seasons.

Following the 2009-10 season in which the Suns went 54-28 and made it all the way to the Western Conference finals, the Suns’ all-time win/loss percentage was .561 which was the 4th best percentage by a fairly wide margin.

Following that season, the Suns’ cumulative win/loss percentage has been .411 with just a single winning season.

At the beginning of this season, the Suns were still clinging to that 4th best record (.541) but at some point this season the mounting losses caught up with them and they’ve fallen to 5th. I considered doing the math to pinpoint the date on which this actually happened but ultimately thought... what’s the point? The day that it happened isn’t the important thing. That it happened is.

* Team W/L records for these teams include their records before the franchises moved to their present locations [LA Lakers/Minneapolis Lakers (1948-1959), OKC Thunder/Seattle Super Sonics (1967-2007), Utah Jazz/New Orleans Jazz (1974-1978), Houston Rockets/San Diego Rockets (1967-1970), Philadelphia 76ers/Syracuse Nationals (1949-1962)].

Statistics courtesy of NBA.com.

The Oklahoma City Thunder have moved ahead of the Suns into 4th place. Since they technically have won an NBA Championship (in 1979 when they were still in Seattle), the Suns’ all-time record remains the best for NBA teams that have never won a championship. Although the Suns can still lay claim to the unofficial title of ‘the best franchise to never win a championship’ , that now sounds like a feeble boast considering their play in recent years. And there are only twelve existing NBA teams (including the Suns) that have never won an NBA title which further weakens that boast... and the Suns are the oldest franchise of them all.

(FYI, the Sacramento Kings are not on this list as their original incarnation, the Rochester Royals won an NBA championship back in 1951. The LA Clippers also originally joined the NBA as the Buffalo Braves back in 1970.)

Table source: Wikipedia

To many this may not be a big deal. The Suns are in the middle of what will surely be their 5th consecutive losing season and their 8th season out of the playoffs... the longest playoff drought in team history. Those things are certainly the first and foremost concerns in the minds of Suns fans but to me this one small, almost insignificant statistic seems like the exclamation point on just how far the Suns have fallen over the last 7+ years.

The ‘good’ news is that it is extremely unlikely that the Suns could fall further than 5th on that list this season. This season. But unless things change soon, next season could see them fall even further.

#TheTimeline is a catchy phrase for rebuilding that gives fans some hope but this once proud franchise should have never gotten to the point where such a thing was needed.

But whatever people want to call it, I hope it works and the Suns soon put a team on the court that fans can once again be proud of.