When: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. AZ time
Where: Lala Land, Staples Center
Watch: Fox Sports Arizona
Listen: 98.7 FM
These sad-sack Suns are on a 14-game losing streak. Star guard Devin Booker is on a personal 18-game losing streak, dating back to the day after Christmas. Six weeks ago.
The Suns current pace, based on a 19 percent win rate, projects them to finish with 15 wins this season. On a macro level, you could say that over 51 years, the franchise has regressed all the way back to the depths of their inaugural season.
The 16-66 Suns
The inaugural Suns team, 51 years ago, started off 10-42 before reeling off three straight wins, pulling them ahead of this team’s 15-win pace, before they lost 24 of their last 27 to finish the year.
Those 16-66 Suns were led by 25-year-old All-Stars Dick Van Arsdale and Gail Goodrich. Van Arsdale now sits in the Suns’ Ring of Honor after a long career in Phoenix, while Naismith Hall of Famer Goodrich got his break to stardom with the Suns (though most of his career was made with the Lakers, as you know).
Even with a pair of All-Stars, those Suns won only 16 games because their supporting cast was, in an expansion year, quite suspect.
Over the next 49 years, the Suns franchise never experienced another sub-20-win season. And until 2013, they had won fewer than 30 games in a full season only twice in 44 years. But now the Suns have experienced three straight sub-30 win seasons and will probably tack on their second-ever sub-20 win season this year.
They have to go 19-5 to avoid being the 4th straight sub-30 win team after the franchise only suffered four of those seasons in the first 47 seasons. Don’t count on that.
They need nine wins to get out of the teens. Could the Suns go 9-15 from here? Don’t count on that either.
They only need six wins in these last 24 games to avoid being the absolute, very worst team ever to wear Phoenix Suns uniforms. That’s reasonable right?
Sure, but not tonight.
Tonight, the Suns play the hard-working, playoff-charging Clippers who sit at 9th in the West, just behind the Kings and ahead of the Lakers.
Tobi-less, Bobi-less Clips
Despite trading their best player, Tobias Harris, and their biggest player, Boban Marjanovic, to the Sixers for basically a rookie and a handful of future draft picks, the Clippers still think they can make the playoffs.
Rookie Landry Shamet, shooting 41 percent on threes this year, exploded on the Clippers scene to help them beat the disjointed Celtics. He’s made 7-12 three-pointers with Los Angeles, averaging 16 points per game so far. What an acquisition, huh?
Of course, the Clippers still have the rest of their core in Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and fellow rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Los Angeles also picked up Ivica Zubac from their housemates in the Lakers.
These Clips won’t roll over, and might still make the playoffs this year — they only have to watch to see if the Kings fade — while picking up two more young players and a pair of first round picks from the Sixers, including that much-coveted but much-traded 2021 unprotected Miami pick.
Devin Booker wants to win a game.
“Just compete and (get) a win. It’s been a while. Much needed. I think a win would be better for us going into the (all-star) break, mentally." Devin Booker.— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 13, 2019
Losers of 14 straight, #Suns look to end skid Wednesday at #Clippers to avoid tying team record for consecutive defeats. pic.twitter.com/WlaNaNJOYY
Unfortunately, he might not have new acquisition Tyler Johnson (ankle), and definitely won’t have De’Anthony Melton (ankle) or T.J. Warren (ankle), who both started in the last seven Suns wins this season.
After tonight, Phoenix is off for the All-Star weekend and will only have 23 games left in the season. Hopefully all those ankle injuries will recover by then.
Who knows what Suns team we will see. Could they win on Wednesday night against the Clippers? Sure.
Just don’t count on it.