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Center of the Sun: Is another championship run in the cards for the Suns?

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Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

2021 NBA Finals - Phoenix Suns v. Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

It’s just two weeks away from the beginning of training camp. There are still many questions to be answered regarding the Suns but finally the main question is how good will they be this season, not will they be good.

It will be a tough, western road back to the NBA Finals and this year the Suns will have a target on their backs. Other teams know for certain that the Suns are good and will be anxious to take their best shot at the reigning Western Conference Champs.

After losing in the Finals, I lost sight of the fact that the Suns are the Western Conference Champs for a while as I wallowed in sadness over losing the NBA Championship series. I think some other fans did the same but that in itself is something to take pride in... especially considering where this team was just two seasons ago. Their 19-63 record in 2018-19 was the second worst season record in franchise history.

This was no fluke and this team will come back this season even stronger to challenge for a championship again. James Jones has built a contender around an “empty stats/looter in a riot” player (Booker), an old point guard on what was previously called “the worst contract in the NBA” (CP3) and a number one draft pick that until recently was widely considered a “mistake” at best (Ayton).

No wonder Jones won the 2020-21 NBA Basketball Executive of the Year Award.

The Suns still have plenty of doubters, especially among non-fans. You’re not alone if you’re tired of hearing how “lucky” the Suns were last season. I expect the Suns to put an end to that narrative this year. Luck always plays a part in sports but luck alone doesn’t get you to the NBA Finals.

The Suns were a very good team last season and they will be very good again this season, very likely even better. Don’t let the few remaining preseason question marks cause too many doubts in your mind. This team is deep and talented and undoubtedly ready to make another championship run.


2020-21 Season Highlights

JAZZ at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | April 7, 2021

ROCKETS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | April 12, 2021

SUNS at BUCKS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | April 19, 2021


Quotes of the Week

“The thing I’m looking forward to now is our approach to the every day. You don’t start the season and get to automatically end up at the Finals again. It’s another building process, and I’m excited about going through this experience with these guys because I went as far (in the playoffs) as I’ve ever been. We’ll be on this journey of something new together.” - Chris Paul

“Writing it out re-puts me in that moment, re-puts me in that story every time. It’s definitely the greatest motivation that I can get. It’s a constant reminder of the pursuit of everything.” - Devin Booker on why he writes “Be Legendary” on his sneakers.


News & Notes

Devin Booker on His “Kentucky” Air Jordan 1s From 1985, His Cars and Becoming Legendary. SLAM

Chris Paul calls return to Phoenix Suns an ‘easy decision’. NBC Sports

Bourguet Breakdown: How would Thaddeus Young look on the Suns? Gerald Bourguet/PHNX

Phoenix Suns: Complete 2021 offseason grades. Gerald Bourguet/PHNX

Remembering Cotton. Suns.com

Every NBA team’s most underrated move in 2021 offseason, including free agency, trades and draft. CBS Sports

Why teams are placing less of a premium on cap space, and what it could mean for team-building moving forward. CBS Sports


This Week in Suns History

On September 13, 1978, Curtis Perry, a major figure in the Suns’ NBA Finals run in 1975-76, retired after four seasons in the Valley. Perry set career-highs during the 1974-75 season of 13.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. His 11.9 rpg that season is the 5th highest single season rebounding average in Suns history and his career average of 9.49 rpg for the Suns is 7th on the Suns’ All-Time leaders list.

On September 16, 1974, the Suns acquired Curtis Perry, Dennis Awtrey, Nate Hawthorne and a 1976 first round pick (Adrian Dantley) from the New Orleans Jazz for Neal Walk and a 1975 second round pick (Clyde Mayes). Walk averaged 14.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game and only missed 2 regular season games during his 5 seasons in Phoenix. Walk’s career high for the Suns was 42 points vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 11, 1972. The Suns won 115-114 and Walk outscored future hall of fame member and the man picked #1 above him in the 1969 NBA Draft, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 42-27.

On September 16, 1994, on the same day that the NBA finally approved a one-year, $1 million deal for Danny Manning, the Phoenix Suns submitted a one-year, $850,000 deal for power forward Wayman Tisdale, arguably making the Suns the deepest team in the NBA at that time.


Suns Trivia

In Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals (a triple-overtime contest that is sometimes referred to as “the greatest game ever played”), Curtis Perry was the Suns player who made the key inbounds pass to Gar Heard who then made a buzzer beating jump shot from the top of the key to tie the game and send it into a 3rd overtime.

Neal Walk is one of only two Suns players to ever pull down more than 1,000 rebounds in a single season. Walk grabbed 1,006 boards in 1972-73 and is 2nd on the Suns’ All-Time leader board behind Paul Silas’ 1,015 rebounds in 1970-71. Number 3 on the list is Shawn Marion’s 959 rebounds in 2005-06.

In Danny Manning’s 5 seasons in Phoenix, he played under four different head coaches (Paul Westphal, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Danny Ainge, and Scott Skiles).


Important Future Dates

September 28 - Training camps open.

October 4 - Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm PST

October 6 - Phoenix Suns vs LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 10 - Phoenix Suns @ LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:30 pm PST

October 13 - Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 18 - Deadline for signing contract extensions.

October 19 - 2021-22 regular season begins.

October 20 - Opening Night: Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets 7:00 pm AZT (ESPN)

December 25 - Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors 3:00 PM AZT (ABC)

February 20, 2022 - NBA All-Star Game.

April 10, 2022 - Regular season ends.

April 12-15, 2022 - Play-In Tournament.

April 16, 2022 - Playoffs begin.

June 23, 2022 - NBA Draft.