Phoenix Suns: The NBA’s Most Depressed Fan Base?

Nov 30, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at US Airways Center. The Magic defeated the Suns 93-90. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 30, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) reacts in the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at US Airways Center. The Magic defeated the Suns 93-90. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns
January 16, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) meets with Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (3) following the 126-121 victory at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Rest Of The League

Okay, so we’ve established that the Suns are a unique blend of great-but-not-champion-caliber depression and recent-woes embarrassment, but what about the rest of the NBA? Surely there’s another fanbase out there that’s just as tormented as the Suns’ supporters?

Joining the Suns on the list of teams to never win an NBA championship are the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans.

The Pelicans, Raptors, Grizzlies, Hornets, Timberwolves and Magic all haven’t been around long enough to qualify in this discussion, given that none of those franchises is more than 26 years old. Phoenix’s misery extends far beyond that range.

The Pacers and Nets have been ringless for their 39-year histories. But the Pacers have only been to the Finals once and other than the Reggie Miller years and recent Paul George-led playoff appearances, Indiana has never really been a great team that’s fallen short and broken fans’ hearts (though the Malice at the Palace admittedly did that).

The Nets, meanwhile, have those back-to-back trips to the Finals behind Jason Kidd, but other than that they’ve been mostly irrelevant. That comes with its own unique brand of torture, but is it really worse to be used to mediocrity than it is to be great and continuously fall short? I say no.

That same argument works for comparing the Suns to the Nuggets as well, since Denver has never even been to the NBA Finals. Nuggets fans got their hearts broken by the departure of Carmelo Anthony, but that’s really about it.

The Jazz make a stronger case, since the John Stockton and Karl Malone Utah teams in the late 90s were two of the best teams in NBA history to never win a title. But how upset can you really be about losing to Michael Jordan’s Bulls in both Finals appearances?

The Suns sit in that same boat for one potential title, but even with Jerry Sloan‘s sustained greatness during his tenure in Utah, I’m not sure how the argument could be made that the Jazz’s regular season success and lack of a title stacks up to that of Phoenix.

The Los Angeles Clippers are an admittedly tortured fan base. They’ve been around for 45 years without so much as a conference finals appearance, they had to deal with the recent Donald Sterling controversy and they’ve historically been pretty terrible.

But it’s hard to feel sorry for them at the moment, when they’ve got a wonderful new owner in Steve Ballmer and are on the cusp of making the Western Conference Finals behind superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

That leaves us with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anytime you’re talking about a Cleveland sports team, you know you’re in for a depressing conversation, and the Cavs are no different. They went to the playoffs seven times in the 90s and never made it to the Finals. LeBron James took his team to one Finals appearance, but they were swept. Then King James broke their hearts by leaving.

But again, it’s hard to feel too sorry for the Cavs right now, especially since LeBron came back. Kevin Love‘s injury is another depressing blow to what might have been a title contender, but Cleveland’s future looks bright between James, Kyrie Irving and (hopefully) Love moving forward.

The Cavs qualified as “good but not great” during the 90s, and once again, there’s little shame in being stifled by MJ’s reign of terror. It was pretty disappointing that LeBron’s Cavs only made it to the Finals once during his first stay, but we can’t lump in the misery of Cleveland’s other sports teams here.

In a battle of the Suns vs. Cavaliers, Phoenix rises above as a more depressing team that’s fielded far too many title contenders without ever actually winning one.

So there you have it folks! Between the dynasties that never were, the recent down years and the current/prolonged rebuilding stage (not mention the lack of a superstar), the Suns might have the most depressed fans in the NBA.

Next: Phoenix Suns: Don't Count On A Morris Twins Trade

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