It’s starting to look like we have a Major League situation going on here with the Phoenix Suns.
No, not that we finally have a major league NBA quality on the court.
I’m talking a situation like the feature film.
Think about it. A team that was built with a flawed roster, who was expected to be terrible, with an inexperienced general manager, playing in an older building with an owner who allegedly threatened to move the team — or a city council who made it up — based on an obscure out clause in their stadium lease, and a team who bands together to stick it to the owner and show love to the city they represent.
That’s the plot of the movie and yet somehow the last month we lived through as Suns fans.
When Robert Sarver allegedly threatened the Phoenix City Council, the Suns were 4-24, the worst record in the NBA. Less than 24-hours later Devin Booker tweeted “I love Phoenix” and the Major League-ification of the franchise was on.
“There’s a lot going around the program right now,” the star guard told The Athletic’s Gina Mizell. “I feel like the city needed to hear that. I’m part of this too...We still have unconditional love for the fans that stayed behind us each and every night.”
Since then the team is 5-2, and could easily be 6-1 if a triple-OT game in Washington went the other way, and have found an identity and energy they’ve lacked for years. The front office accidentally dealt for Kelly Oubre Jr. and he’s proven to be a spark plug on both ends of the court.
Josh Jackson has continued to be the Willie Mays Hayes of the bunch. He runs like Mays and shoots like shit but he’s learning to play within his game. The aforementioned Booker has gone all “Wild Thing” on opponents averaging 30.7 points, 8 assists, 5.3 rebounds and a steal since the tweet. Deandre Ayton, the big, powerful, immensely intelligent player with one gaping hole in his game, aka the Serrano of the group, has begun to figure it all out too. Jamal Crawford is the Jake Taylor, a grizzled vet whose career was almost over when the team picked him up but who has become the motivator and chief for the team. It’s all added up to an immensely likable group with few expectations starting to turn heads.
While the movie ends with the Indians winning their division and making the playoffs, I don’t expect the Suns to pull off that kind of massive comeback in the overly competitive west. What I do expect is to continue to see these players motivate each other, play with heart and energy and for the Suns to be competitive in a way we haven’t seen in a long time. What seemed like a low point for the franchise may inadvertently be a point we look back at as a galvanizing force. One that helped solidify Booker as a leader and a legend in Phoenix.
One that helped young guys mature and rally around a fan base who deserves it more than anyone.
That, or they have the reverse of the cut out in Major League where, after each victory, a piece of clothing is put back on cardboard Sarver. That’d motivate any team to win.