Phoenix Suns: 30 greatest players of all-time

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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /
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Shawn Marion, Phoenix Suns
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1999-08. Shawn Marion. 5. player. 66. . Small Forward

Ranking Shawn Marion was the most difficult decision on this entire list. By some criteria he should be first, by others probably further down. In the end, the do-it-all forward ends up at fifth, ahead of some incredible players on the merit of elite two-way play.

“The Matrix” was drafted ninth overall in the 1999 NBA Draft out of UNLV. He was immediately a positively impactful player, starting 38 games and posting a positive Box Plus/Minus. In year two, he started all 79 games he played. He averaged 17.9 points per game, while being a versatile defender at multiple positions. This earned him 11.7 win shares. This was a trend throughout his Suns tenure, good scoring plus excellent defense equaling maximum impact.

Seven times Marion posted at least nine win shares in a season, which is twice more than any other Suns player before him or since. Simply put, he made his teams better every minute he was on the floor. Marion certainly benefited from playing alongside elite point guards in Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, but his impact would have been great regardless.

Marion made the NBA All-Star team four times, all while in Phoenix. He earned two All-NBA nods in 2005 and 2006. His 14.6 win shares in 2005-06 is the most in one season in franchise history, and his 93.2 career win shares are the most in franchise history.

While never in the NBA MVP conversation, Marion was underappreciated as a player throughout his time in Phoenix and at other stops. He was a critical part of Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks winning a title in 2011.

The body of work he provided the Suns speaks to his impact every moment he was on the court, and that deserves recognition. Marion is one of the five greatest players in Suns history.