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#TBT: Remember the 2013-2014 Phoenix Suns

The Almost Cinderella Season.

Chicago Bulls v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Suns finished the 2012-2013 season with what was then the second worst record in franchise history, 25-57. It was an extremely low point for a team that had just decided to change direction and move on from aging stars Steve Nash and Grant Hill.

It was a disaster which prompted the team to clean house and go into a full rebuild the following season. The Suns brought in a new, rookie GM (Ryan McDonough), a new rookie head coach (Jeff Hornacek) and brought back only four players from the 2012-2013 team (Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris). Channing Frye was also returning after missing the entire previous season due to a heart condition but no one knew how much he would be able to contribute following such a serious problem. The rest of the roster was filled with rookies, young journeymen and Eric Bledsoe, the one off-season acquisition that was seen as a positive addition.

Fans gritted their teeth and prepared for what was supposed to be the beginning of a full-blown rebuild. It was a season expected to be full of losses as the Suns tanked their way into the lottery and what would hopefully be at least a top five in the 2013 draft.

2013-2014 Season Preview

But it seems that nobody let the team in on those plans. They came out of the gate hot, won their first two games and were 5-2 by the end of the second week of the season. The dual point guard backcourt of Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic worked beautifully and second year center Miles Plumlee was quite unexpectedly playing like an All-Star with three double-doubles in those first seven games. P.J. Tucker was playing his usual nasty brand of defense while also becoming a three point threat. Channing Frye was a deadly pick and pop partner.

And don’t forget about the Suns’ bench. Gerald Green was proving to be a human highlight reel with spectacular dunks and deadly three point shooting. Markieff and Marcus Morris scored in bunches as Markieff played himself in to the Sixth Man of the Year contention. Speedy Ish Smith provided a deadly change of pace as he seemed to have an extra gear that no one else had access to.

The Suns were having a Cinderella season and fans were ecstatic as the Suns finished 2013 with a 19-11 record.

Then came the bad news. Eric Bledsoe had torn the meniscus in his right knee that would require surgery and he would miss most - or perhaps all - of the rest of the season. The Suns stumbled a bit in the first two weeks of 2014 going 2-4 but learned to adapt and went 7-2 for the rest of the month of January with a 28-18 overall record. By the All-Star break, they were 32-21 and solidly in the hunt for a playoff berth in an extremely tough Western Conference race.

In the end, the Suns of course failed to make the playoffs despite finishing with a 48-34 record. They played hard and had several players that had career years in that season. They played with heart and determination and gave their fans their money’s worth even though they fell just short of reaching the playoffs in the end.

Although Suns fans have suffered through a playoff drought that will extend to nine years this season, that 2013-2014 season shouldn’t be lumped in with the other eight years as just another failure. Even without making the playoffs, it was just a plain fun season in which an upstart group of players that no one said had a chance almost proved all the experts wrong.

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