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Center of the Sun: Who should be on the Suns All-Time best team?

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The Fantable makes their picks as well as ranking the best ever Suns head coaches.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

NBA2K on Twitch Game Results

Phoenix Suns vs Cleveland Cavaliers L (95-87)

Phoenix Suns vs Oklahoma City Thunder W (75-65)

Phoenix Suns vs Cleveland Cavaliers L (105-46)

Phoenix Suns vs Chicago Bulls L (119-73)

There’s an old saying that fits well with my feelings toward the Suns... “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

I really miss Suns basketball. Even with the team’s faults and the many times Suns basketball has disappointed me, I would love to be able to watch them play again. I do watch the highlights, replays and classic games but that’s just not the same. I already did much of that before the season was suspended so it’s no replacement for new games.

Win or lose, I want to see a real, live Suns game again and I have no idea when that might eventually happen.

With the pandemic surrounding us, wanting that might seem trivial but I think of the NBA season returning as a symbol that the worst would be over. However, I do not believe that the NBA is going to jump the gun and try to start playing again before it’s safe to do so and I’m leaning more and more toward the belief that the rest of this season will ultimately be cancelled.

That’s a hard pill to swallow but now I want to start looking at this as the offseason and pin my hopes on the 2020-21 season starting at or around the time it would normally start.

Training camps opened for most teams on Oct. 1 this season which is just a little short of 6 months from today. Perhaps that won’t be possible this year but it seems much more possible than figuring out some way to continue playing this season. The Lottery and the Draft could go on as already scheduled or even be postponed but they could be done in a closed setting. The Summer League games would likely be cancelled. Free agency could be done through video conferencing. It would be weird but it could all be done and teams would be set for training camp to begin as soon as it is safe to do so.

Whatever eventually happens, we have no other option than to wait and hope for the best... and I’m not just talking about basketball.


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Fantable Questions of the Week

Q1 - What would be your All-Time 10-man Suns team?

GuarGuar: Starting 5: Steve Nash, Walter Davis, Shawn Marion, Charles Barkley, Amar’e Stoudemire.

Bench: Kevin Johnson, Devin Booker, Dan Majerle, Tom Chambers, Larry Nance

That starting lineup would be something special to watch. I was close to putting Book in there from a pure talent and record breaking perspective, but I figured he needs some more years as a Sun to solidify his mark on this franchise.

Sun-Arc: Ugh - always a tough decision at point guard. Nash or KJ? And then there’s also Jason Kidd. Well, every position is tough. We live in the time of COVID; get off the fence and make the call! Ok, ok, already…

Starters: Nash / Hornecek / Marion / Barkley / Ayton

Bench: KJ / Westphal / Sweet Walter Davis / Chambers / Amare

Okay - maybe just a tad controversial there putting Ayton in the list at all, much less as a starter. All it has to do with is me wanting to see what Nash would do with this athletic behemoth of a kid in the pick and roll.

SDKyle: My Starting Five:

  • PG- Steve Nash
  • SG - Walter Davis
  • SF - Shawn Marion
  • PF - Charles Barkley
  • C - Amar’e Stoudemire

Bench:

  • Kevin Johnson
  • Dick Van Arsdale
  • Alvan Adams
  • Connie Hawkins
  • Dan Majerle

My all-time team definitely reflects my SSOL-era fandom. I never got to see Davis, Hawkins, or Van Arsdale play at all, but their career achievements speak for themselves. Barkley was the only real slam dunk for me, otherwise it was a difficult task. I had to leave some deserving players off. But overall I feel pretty good about this group of 10 and wouldn’t argue anyone who wanted to swap any bench or starter roles. And yes, before anyone starts something about it, I considered throwing Devin Booker in there on the bench but couldn’t justify bouncing Van Arsdale yet.

SouthernSun: Starters / Bench

  • Nash / Kidd
  • Booker / KJ
  • Marion / Majerle
  • Barkley / Chambers
  • STAT / Shaq

Alex S: Starters: Nash / Booker / Marion / Barkley / Stoudamire

Bench: Kevin Johnson / Majerle / Joe Johnson / Nance / Ayton

Okay, so this 10 man rotation stuff is hard. Let me explain some of my noteworthy moves.

  • Deandre Ayton was selected because I wanted a true C as a backup and I have very high hopes for what DA will be for the Suns.
  • Booker is starting over Majerle because I wanted a secondary creator next to Nash. I would be fine with either starting but I love the idea of Steve and Devin sharing a backcourt together.
  • I liked the small ball 5 since STAT and Barkley can hold their own and Marion helps with rebounding.
  • Jason Kidd or KJ was a toss up.

Q2 - Who would you consider the 5 best head coaches in Suns History?

GuarGuar:

  1. Cotton Fitzsimmons - Best resume by quite a bit. 10th all time in NBA head coaching wins too.
  2. Mike D’Antoni - Changed the league with 77OL Suns. Possibly the most fun era to watch.
  3. John MacLeod - Coached for 14 seasons, 9 playoff appearances, 1 Finals appearance.
  4. Paul Westphal - Would be higher for me if his tenure was longer, but no doubt had a phenomenal impact.
  5. Alvin Gentry - There’s a big drop off after Paul, but I think Alvin is our #5 for what he did with those late 2000s teams. That Western Conference Finals run in 2010 was beyond special.

Sun-Arc: Top of the list? Earl Watson. Best press conferences ever.

I kid, I kid…

In descending order (providing reg season win%/playoff win%)

  1. Paul Westphal (.662/.568); Westphal was so dominant with the team he had, its hard not to give him the #1 spot. Yeah there was a lot of talent - but he did just about everything right with it.
  2. Mike D’antoni (.650/.510); “The Mastermind” that brought back fun basketball. They were amazing to watch and won in bunches.
  3. Cotton Fitzsimmons (1988-1992 term: .662/.525)
  4. Alvin Gentry (.523/.625); Started off with three games scoring over 140 points and gave us 2009-10. He led with poise and grace (outside of one glorious vomitous sideline appearance).
  5. John MacLeod? (.516/.457)

I’ve been a fan since 1993, so I didn’t watch the team under Macleod or Cotton. But, by reputation, that is where I would place them.

SDKyle:

  1. John MacLeod - He’s the franchise leader in wins... by a lot. Reached an NBA finals and two conference finals. I wasn’t a Suns fan in this era, nor even alive for most of it, but it seems odd not to put a 14-year coach in the top spot.
  2. Cotton Fitzsimmons - Or basically 1b. Cotton is the #2 guy in career wins with a better than .600 winning percentage.
  3. Mike D’Antoni - Presided over possibly the most entertaining era in Suns basketball and won a coach of the year award... just couldn’t quite get over the hump to win it all. I fully admit, once again, my SSOL-era bias.
  4. Paul Westphal - Was the man at the helm of probably the best-ever Suns team in 92/93, has a great winning percentage in his Suns career, but his success was short-lived.
  5. Alvin Gentry - This kinda surprised me... but Gentry gets the nod here from me. The job he did reorganizing and reviving the last pieces of the Nash-era in the wake of Terry Porter and leading them to one last shot at postseason glory is pretty much my last really good Suns memory.

SouthernSun:

  1. Cotton Fitzsimmons
  2. Paul Westphal
  3. Mike D’Antoni
  4. Alvin Gentry
  5. Monty Williams

John Macleod was way before my time.

Alex S: Fitzsimmons, Westphal, D’Antoni, MacLeod, Earl Watson (jk, Ainge).

Q3 - I have one piece of Suns memorabilia that I would never part with, a Steve Nash signed basketball. Do you have any Suns memorabilia that are special to you?

GuarGuar: I’ll go with a signed basketball by Devin Booker. I know, everyone is shocked by my answer! I also have a very small Nash jersey from when I was a kid that I’ll hold for good luck during draft lotteries and such (hey it worked once!).

Sun-Arc: I only have one piece of Suns memorabilia. As passionate as I am about Suns basketball, memorabilia is just not a big deal to me. I have one jersey - and it’s an ash grey short-sleeved version from 2016 with Tucker’s name and #17 on it. He was my favorite player at the time, and I got it because I really liked the Jersey style. It was the first one that appealed to me (I’m picky regarding colors and design). I am still a fan of Tucker, particularly his time here - and also because of the amazing journey to make it back to the NBA. I found him really inspiring as a person and a player; that he really had to work at making it in the NBA and then never forgot what got him there. And he always worked his tail off.

He wasn’t the best player in the world, wasn’t the most famous, wasn’t the most flashy. Yet I wear it with pride to every game I see in person.

I don’t plan on parting with it.

SDKyle: I’m not a big memorabilia guy... I have a Jordan Farmar UCLA jersey that he signed for me when I was a HS senior and he was a college freshman. And I have a photo of myself, a friend, and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera that we took at Angel Stadium about 12 years ago.

If I could have a piece of Suns memorabilia I’d probably want it to be something connected to Steve Nash... maybe an autographed jersey that I could frame and hang in my basement hang-out area.

SouthernSun: I have a banner signed by Goran Dragic and PJ Tucker. I will cherish it always.

I also have a poster signed by TJ Warren, Marcus Morris, and Shavlik Randolph, which I care about much less.

Alex S: My Devin Booker all-star jersey.

He worked so hard to get to all-star level and to see him snubbed back to back years was tough. Yes, you could argue he didn’t deserve it but being a Suns fan in this current situation has been incredibly difficult. Having a reward like DB making the ASG meant a lot, and I’m sure everyone reading this can agree on that.

As always, many thanks to our Fantable - GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle, SouthernSun and Alex S. - for all their extra effort every week!


2019-20 Season Highlights

Suns at Celtics | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | January 18, 2020

Devin Booker drops 39 points in Suns vs. Celtics

Deandre Ayton Full Play vs Boston Celtics | 01/18/20

Mikal Bridges Full Play vs Boston Celtics | 01/18/20


Quote of the Week

“What I like about Phoenix is people are definitely buying into the system.” - Frank Kaminsky


News & Notes

NBA, ESPN discussing H-O-R-S-E tournament during game stoppage. Logan Newman/Arizona Sports

All Hands In: Phoenix Suns Charities & Partners Assisting the Community Together. Suns.com

Phoenix Suns: Ranking the last 10 first-round picks. Hoops Habit

Phoenix Suns make broadcast history with radio call of NBA 2K20 showdown. Cronkite News


Classic Suns Highlights

Paul Westphal (25pts/10asts) vs. Sonics (1979)

Dan Majerle 32 Pts, Danny Manning 24 Pts Vs. Denver Nuggets, 1994-95.


This Week in Suns History

On April 6, 1993, with 1.6 seconds to go after the Suns lost a 20-point lead on the Lakers in the game’s final 11 minutes, Dan Majerle takes the inbounds pass, makes a 33-foot three-point basket for a 115-114 win and the Suns’ first-ever season sweep of LA. Majerle jumps on scorer’s table to celebrate as cheers last for minutes.

On April 9, 1990, the Suns sank an NBA record 61 free throws (out of 80 attempts) in beating the Utah Jazz 119-115 in overtime.


Suns Trivia

After missing the playoffs the previous three seasons, the Suns remade their roster for the 1988-89 season and began a franchise record streak of 13 consecutive playoff appearances (1988-89 through 2000-01).


Previewing the Week Ahead

NBA2K Suns games on Twitch

Tuesday April 7 - vs Minnesota Timbewolves

Thursday April 9 - vs New Orleans Pelicans

Saturday April 11 - vs Utah Jazz

  • Author’s Note - I’m not certain of the actual starting times on Twitch.

Replays on Fox Sports AZ

NBA 2K Players Tournament

Thursday, April 9 - Quarterfinals 4pm AZT (on ESPN2)

Trae Young vs. Deandre Ayton

Patrick Beverley vs. Andre Drummond

Derrick Jones Jr. vs. Montrezl Harrell

Rui Hachimura vs. Devin Booker


Important Future Dates

To Be Determined.


Last Week’s Poll Results

Last week’s poll was “I’ve been a Suns fan since...”

07% - Their 1st season.

10% - The 1970’s.

20% - The 1980’s.

40% - The 1990’s.

16% - The 2000’s.

07% - The 2010’s.

There were 87 votes cast.


This week’s poll is...

Poll

One thing the Fantable ALL agreed on was that Steve Nash, Shawn Marion & Charles Barkley would be starters on the Suns All-Time best team. Do you agree?

This poll is closed

  • 88%
    Yes.
    (114 votes)
  • 11%
    No.
    (15 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now