Throwback Thursday: 5 biggest turkeys in Suns history

Posted by on November 28th, 10:00 am

On social media sites, Thursdays have turned into Throwback Thursdays. People post old pictures on their Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts every Thursday to showcase a special moment from earlier in time. ValleyoftheSuns has decided to join the craze to bring Suns fans some of the most memorable moments in the team’s history.

To wish you all a happy Thanksgiving today, we go back to feature the five biggest turkeys in Phoenix Suns history.

5. Jason Kidd

In his five years with the Suns, Jason Kidd averaged more than nine assists per game every year and shot at least 40 percent from the floor. He also led the team to the playoffs in all five seasons. Kidd did not make this list for his play on the court but instead because of his arrest in January of 2001 for domestic abuse incident involving his wife at the time, Joumana Kidd. Kidd admitted to hitting his wife, giving her a swollen lip and causing bleeding inside her mouth. In 2012, five years after they divorced, Joumana revealed many other allegations of a very strained marriage.

The Suns traded Kidd after the 2001 season to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury. And if you haven’t noticed, he’s been having quite the tough season in the first year as head coach with the Brooklyn Nets.

4. Richard Dumas

In this column by The Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro, Charles Barkley called Richard Dumas “the most talented player I have ever played with.” Oliver Miller compared his talents to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Unfortunately, drugs got in the way of what could have been a great career. Dumas played only 63 regular season games in a Suns uniform and 26 more in the playoffs. In the Suns’ Finals run of 1993, he started in 20 of 23 playoff games and averaged nearly 11 points per game. Three months after the Finals and after signing a five-year, $9 million dollar contract, Dumas was back in rehabilitation for drugs and alcohol. He returned to the Suns during the 1994-95 season, but played in just 15 games, making minimal contributions.

3. Michael Beasley

The gamble on the former No. 2 pick did not work, to put it nicely. Coming out of Kansas State, Beasley averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, and was in the argument to be the No. 1 pick in a draft that included Derrick Rose. His NBA production has not matched those numbers or his potential. Prior to signing a three-year, $18 million dollar contract with the Suns, Beasley had already been traded once, sent to a rehabilitation center and arrested for marijuana possession. The Suns took a gamble that the former college star could get his career turned around in Phoenix with the right group of people surrounding him, but the gamble did not pay off. On the court Beasley finished with career lows in points and rebounds and only ended up starting 20 games. He was out of the starting lineup by December and benched routinely once Lindsey Hunter took over. Off the court, Beasley found himself under investigation for sexual assault, was pulled over for allegedly speeding and driving with a suspended license, and was cited for marijuana possession, which finally led to his release.

2. Tim Donaghy

2007 was perhaps the Suns’ best chance to win an NBA Finals during the Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire era. They finished the season 61-21 with the second-best record in the West, but lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the playoffs in six games. This series is most remembered for Robert Horry’s hip check on Steve Nash at the end of Game 4 that led to the suspensions of Stoudemire and Boris Diaw for running off the bench. The Suns lost the next game at home without Stoudemire and Diaw and then lost the series in Game 6. What some people forget: Tim Donaghy officiated Game 3 of the series. That Tim Donaghy. And yes, there were many questionable calls that went against the Suns in that game… here is a video and I will let you be the judge if that game was fixed or not.

1. Kennedy half-dollar coin

This was the coin that then-NBA commissioner Walter Kennedy flipped to decide the first pick in the NBA Draft between the two expansion teams for the 1968-69 season, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Suns. The coin turned up tails after Jerry Colangelo called heads, which gave the Bucks the first pick of the draft used to draft Lew Alcindor, later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Abdul-Jabbar played six years in Milwaukee and won the NBA championship in 1971 along with three MVPs. He played the last 14 years with the Lakers, winning five more championships and three more NBA MVP awards. He is also the current NBA all-time leading scorer. The Suns had to settle on Neal Walk, a 6-foot-10 center out of Florida. Walk actually had a very underrated career, lasting eight years in the NBA and averaging 12.6 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. His career year came during the 1972-73 season, when he averaged 20 and 12. Don’t get me wrong, Walk is no Abdul-Jabbar. If you think about it, all of the Suns’ bad luck in the playoffs stems from this flip of the coin. Maybe we can acquire the coin, wherever it is, and blow it up the way the Cubs blew up the Steve Bartman ball. Wait, how is that working for the Cubbies?

Jeffrey Sanders

Jeffrey Sanders is a ValleyoftheSuns staff writer currently working toward his degree in broadcast journalism at Arizona State University. He is also involved in on-campus groups, such as the Blaze 1330 AM and CronkiteSports.com.

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Tags: Phoenix Suns

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 EBJM // Nov 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Interesting perspective. So the bad Kidd marriage was all on Jason? Do your homework young man.

    Dumas was a good kid with a drug problem. He only let himself and his family down. Walter Davis on the other hand became a snitch for an ambitious D.A. and was the sole source for the drug scandal that led to the implosion of an entire Suns squad.

    Sure not getting the coin flip hurt but the Suns received Connie Hawkins and Neal Walk as compensation making the expansion Suns very good very quickly. Walk was a fantastic player and his career stats do not do him justice. You inferred that his career lasting only eight years was because of a lackmof game. Walk in currently in a wheelchair because he chose to have a dangerous surgery to remove a tumor on his spine. Very disrespectful to mention Walk on your biggest turkey days.

    Tim Donaghy is pure speculation. Ritchie Powers ADMITTED he chose not to call the technical in the 1976 Finals because HE said he couls not allow the game to be decided on a technicality.

    Michael Beasley waa a free gamble that failed. There are numerous much more severe and costlier player mistakes. Bedford at number 5, Hedo Turkoglu, giving away Loul Deng, Gordon Hayward, Serge Ibaka and Marcin Gortat and others to dump salary.

  • 2 Go Phx // Nov 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Hahahaha. Nice fun list and very accurate. Thanks for this.

  • 3 hawki // Nov 29, 2013 at 3:41 am

    Really nice write up Sanders….congrats

    Stern’s actions in 2007 bordered on criminal behavior equal to that of the disgusting Donaghy.

    If I remember right, back in 1968 there was a fan vote on what to call for the coin flip….fans voted “heads”….but, in one of the greatest comebacks in coin flipping history, the Suns out-flipped the Sonics the next year to acquire the services to Connie Hawkins.
    Also, it should be noted, Stern was the NBA’s Lead Counsel back in 68-69 & fought tooth & nail to keep The Hawk out of the League.
    Stern, of course, lost & I believe harbored resentment against the Suns for the remainder of his career.

  • 4 EBJM // Nov 29, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Sorry guys and no disrespect to Jeff but lets balance his article out just a tad bit, OK?

    While I would never condone hitting a woman let alone your wife, there are two sides to every domestic issue. Jason filed for divorce claiming HE was the abused spouse. Whatever, nobody but those two know what really was going on BUT back in 1993 then Sun Jerrod Mustaf was connected to the murder of his baby’s mama by his cousin. Suns bought out his contract.

    Richard Dumas was a great find in the 2nd rd. Didn’t cost the Suns much BUT Walter Davis’s cocaine habit brought down an entire Suns team and tarnished the Suns brand. He turned snitch to an overzealous D.A. and was at the core of the infamous “drug scandal” that saw J.C. implode the whole roster.

    Michael Beasley? Come-on now, seriously? He was a no-cost gamble that failed. How about all the draft picks given away that turned out to be Loul Deng, Rajon Rondo, Serge Ibaka, Gordon Hayward, and Marcin Gortat? Or if you want to focus on an individual poor player acquisition, Hedo Turkoglu was very costly. Suns sent Leandro Barbosa to the Raptors and then had to send Jason Richardson to the Magic and take back two dogs in Vince Carter and Mikeal Pietrus to dump Turkoglu.

    Tim Donaghy would be the a good selection except that back in the ’76 Finals Ritchie Powers ADMITTED to refusing to call the technical foul on Paul Silas for calling a time-out the Celtics didn’t have because HE decided that HE could not allow the Suns to win on a ‘technicality”.

    Losing Abdul-Jabbar didn’t hurt as bad as many want to believe. Many seem to forget that he demanded a trade to either Los Angeles or New York so the Suns would not have had him any longer than the Bucks. Who is to say that Phoenix could have ever put enough talent around Jabbar to have won even a single title?

    From Walk in a recent S.I. “Where are they now?” feature: “I didn’t flip the coin,” Walk told SI. “I didn’t call heads or tails,” says Walk. “I was good enough to play against the best – Kareem, Wilt, Bob Lanier—so in a way that makes me one of the best.”

    Walk remains as the best Suns true center over forty years later, no disrespect to A.A. or Mark West. Walk could play ball and drove many centers crazy with his offensive repertoire. J.C. traded him for three players in a Suns make-over and he was never the same player. I do not know if there is any correlation but in 1987 Walk had surgery to remove a tumor on his spine and it caused his legs to atrophy. He has been in a wheelchair the last 26 years.

    Some little known trivia:

    NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy, in his office in New York, conducted the coin flip. A three-way telephone hookup was established between the commissioner’s office, the Bucks’ office in Milwaukee and Richard Bloch, the president of the Suns, who was representing the club from Beverly Hills, Calif. The connection was broken once during the process.

    Bloch got to make the call after Kennedy turned over one of two cards in front of him, the one giving Phoenix that right.

    Kennedy used a 50-cent piece given to him by the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He flipped it in the air with his right hand, caught it with his right hand and placed it on the back of his left hand.

    Bloch called heads. The coin came up tails.

    Hawki I saved this one for you, did you know that Neal Walk legally changed his name to Joshua Hawk after a spiritual quest he took in the Caribbean in 1980?

  • 5 EBJM // Nov 29, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Hey Forever, Robin had another solid game, 10/10. Plumlee and Robin tied for game-high. Have you been tweeting him?

  • 6 Go Phx // Nov 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I agree with the article, not EB.

  • 7 foreveris2long // Nov 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Hawki and EBJM, Great stuff guys. Both of you enlightened me to facts I was not privy to. EBJM, anyone who has enough game to date Michelle Wi, I knew it was only a matter of time before he showed NBA value. He had a double double in the 1st half. I think if New Orleans had kept him they would be making a little playoff noise instead they are falling fast.

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