Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
Oh, so the Spurs lucked into the #1 pick again, eh? Well, why wouldn’t they? After all, it isn’t the NBA for the past 35 years unless San Antonio has a dominant big man, right? Well scripted, NBA, well scripted indeed.
Spurs owner Peter J. Holt was HYPED after his team landed the first overall pick and the right to draft Victor Wembanyama pic.twitter.com/d2iiMInfjh— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 17, 2023
Yeah, I’m feeling spicy. It’s May in Phoenix, which means that the echoes of our past defeats are at the forefront of our consciousness. Just read below on what happened 13 years ago this week.
I recently was going back-and-forth with someone about NBA rivalries. Their point? That to dislike the Spurs after all of these years is ridiculous. That it was different players on different rosters that I disliked and, seeing as San Antonio have a .394 winning percentage over the past 4 seasons and haven't made the postseason, that I should “get over” my Spurs disdain.
“Sports hate”. It’s not real hate. I don’t wish horrible things upon individual players, their families, or members of their fanbase. Like Twitter, it’s not real. It lives in the not-well-furnished space of the brain that makes grown men buy jerseys with other grown men’s name on the back. Where neon signs are cool and posters on the wall are allowed to be hung and not stored in the garage by our wives.
I only realistically wish upon my fake enemies what they have done to me: emotional sports damage.
Sports hate is part of the fabric of every fanbase. It is what welds us together at the seams and creates a culture. Hell, we sports hate some of our own players, which tears us apart (Exhibit A: Deandre Ayton). But the shared hatred of opposing franchises or teams, generally brought on by the misery of defeat, will always live rent free in our sports minds.
Spurs fans who are passing this piece around, know this: Yes, you live rent free in my head.
You go ahead and enjoy your five championships, and your Hall of Fame centers, and your ugly color palette, and your Victoria Silvstedt, Playmate of the Year, and your creative “U” that fits perfectly into your logo. I have my fractured memories and the fact that we swept you in the 2010 Western Conference Semifinals to hold tightly to as I fire off Tweets of aversion.
Even when they suck, I really dislike the Spurs— John Voita (@DarthVoita) January 29, 2023
The Spurs negatively affected my mid-20’s in a way that is irreparable.
Going to the local bars throughout Phoenix, watching playoff basketball with friends and fans alike, were memorable times. I’m 40 now. I don’t do anything cool. I'm writing about sports hate instead of something cool literally right now. Back then I could recklessly spend what I wanted to on 24 ounce beers and wings because all I had was myself. Now I have a family, a mortgage, and high cholesterol. Plus, hangovers...who needs that crap?
Those moments of Suns community were a chance to feel something unique and special. The Spurs (2005, 2007, 2008) ended the season in the creatively screwed up ways that left sports scars. Bloody-nosed Nash. Bruce Bowen nut shots. Robert Horry’s hockey audition tape. Manu Gi-nose bleed. Tim Duncan three-pointers. 3,000 shots of Eva Longoria on the sideline.
Scars, baby. Scars.
So yeah, I will continue to sports hate the Spurs. I will continue to be anti-anything good that happens to their organization. I will continue to be petty. That’s what sports are all about. Someday our time will come. Someday the Suns will live rent free in the minds of opposing fanbases.
But don’t tell me to “get over it” then delete the receipts. Don’t tell me that I shouldn’t sports hate the current version of an organization that is a rival. Go watch Vanderpump Rules or something. I’ll be over here, sports hating away. Why? Because, as Lester Bangs says in Almost Famous, “I’m not cool”.
I do not like the Spurs.— John Voita (@DarthVoita) April 17, 2021
2022-23 Season Highlights
How did the Suns play during the regular season against the teams left standing? They were 5-7, defeating all of them except the Miami Heat. Here are some highlights.
LAKERS at SUNS | NBA FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 22, 2022:
NUGGETS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 31, 2023:
SUNS at HEAT | NBA FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 14, 2022:
SUNS at CELTICS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 3, 2023:
News & Notes
Arizona Sports: Shazam and so long: A tribute to Al McCoy’s final call for Suns
Clutch Points: Monty Williams emerges as Bucks’ top head coach candidate after Suns’ firing
Burn City Sports: Monty Williams Leaves Behind a Great Legacy in Suns History
Larry Brown Sports: Doc Rivers a candidate for the Phoenix Suns?
The Score: Which of the NBA’s head coaching vacancies is most appealing?
Fadeaway World: Mikal Bridges Is Still ‘Pissed’ About Kevin Durant Trade
Clutch Points: RUMOR: Malcolm Brogdon emerges as option for Suns following playoff exit
Quotes of the Week
“Deandre Ayton got Monty Williams fired.” — Stephen A. Smith
“He gets a lot of flak sometimes for the trash talk stuff, but I don’t think he does it for any other reason that when the game starts, he’s mean, and he means it. He’s not a trash talker for show. He just talks because he wants to destroy you.” — Doc Rivers on Devin Booker.
“He can do stuff on the court and he’s a mastermind with the Xs and Os and game scouting and knowing teams. Having the balance of both has been a big boost for my career.” — Devin Booker on Kevin Young during season
“Screw the Spurs.” — Me
“‘We’re going to give you 40 games next season and we’ll make a decision. You get training camp and 40 games and then we’ll base our whole assessment on that.’” — Reggie Miller on giving Monty Williams chance with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton
This Week in Suns History
May 27, 2010
New to the franchise? Been watching only since Devin Booker has been on the roster? Think you know pain? You don’t know pain. You don’t know gut-wrenching and visceral defeat. Wonder why your fellow Suns fans carry a distinct melancholy about them? It’s simple. Many of them experienced May 27, 2010.
The 2009-10 Phoenix Suns were the last gasp of the Steve Nash era, as the aging point guard would lay baseline during his breaks to alleviate pain from his ailing back. Despite his physical limitations, the team that season was just that: a team. With Amare Stoudemire, Jason Richardson, Grant Hill, and Channing Frye starting the majority of the games, Phoenix ended the season 54-28.
Phoenix defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in 6 games game in the First Round before sweeping the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals. For the ninth time in the history of the franchise, they would play in the Western Conference Finals.
A familiar foe awaited. Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns went down 0-2 on the road before winning Game 3 and Game 4 at home. May 27 was the pivotal Game 5.
The Suns were down by 18 points early, but behind 29 points from Steve Nash, who uncharacteristically shot 20 field goal attempts (Nash attempted 20 or more field goal attempts 58 times in 1,337 career games...4%) the team fought back. With just over a minute to go, and up 101-98, Ron Artest missed two consecutive shots that could have sealed the deal for the Lakers, the second of which came on an offensive rebound in which he didn’t cerebrally navigate the new shot clock. Head coach Phil Jackson ripped him on the sidelines for it.
Phoenix responded by missing their next two three-point shots,— one from Channing Frye and one from Steve Nash — before Jason Richardson banked in a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left. The elation of that moment was prodigious.
We all knew that Kobe was going to take the final shot. True to form, he did, heaving a desperation 26-foot airball as he was double teamed by Steve Nash and Grant Hill. As fortune would have it, however, Jason Richardson did not box out a streaking Ron Artest, who snagged the airball.
With 0.09 second, Artest threw up a 4-foot miracle. It banked high off the glass. And as the buzzer sounded at the Staples Center, it went in.
Welcome to the club. We are franchise full of these moments. The villains are the opposing teams who have danced on on our souls and we are constantly reminded of the habitual agony defeat brings us. Some are more dramatic than others. This was one of those defining moments, in which a new generation of purple and orange was baptized in the anguish.
Important Future Dates
June 1: NBA Finals begin.
June 22: NBA Draft.
June 29: Final day for teams to make qualifying offers to restricted free agents.
June 30: Teams can begin negotiating with free agents at 6:00 pm ET.
July 1: Official start of the 2023-24 NBA league year. Moratorium period begins. Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet. Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts. Teams can begin exercising the third- or fourth-year team options for 2024-25 on rookie scale contracts.
July 6: Free agency moratorium period ends (10.01 am ET). Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades. The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins.
July 7-17: NBA Summer League (Las Vegas).
July 13: Last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents.
August TBD: NBA schedule released.
August 31: Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2023-24 salaries.
September 5: Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks; those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered.
Late September: (specific dates TBA) Training camps open.
October 24: 2023-24 NBA season begins.
Bringing it Home
Seeing as I’ve been a Suns fan since 1988, I think I am going to put together my Mount Rushmore of Suns Sports Hate. Who do I sports hate the most throughout my experience at a Suns fan?
Perhaps this offseason I will put together an entire piece dedicated to those four players/organization/coaches who make my dubiously subjective list. Let me know below who your Mount Rushmore is. Until next week...