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?