Phoenix Suns: 30 greatest players of all-time

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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /
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Donald Buse, Phoenix Suns
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25. player. 66. . Point Guard. 1977-80. Don Buse

Don Buse was a college star in the early 1970s playing for Evansville College. He won the 1971 Division-II title and was selected for the USA Men’s Basketball Team. This was back in the days when professional players were not eligible to play for the national team. Rather than play in the Olympics, he signed a professional contract with the ABA’s Indiana Pacers.

With Indiana, he developed into a top-tier point guard, leading the league in steals and assists in 1976. The next season, Indiana joined the NBA. Buse led a much larger pool of players in those same numbers and made his only NBA All-Star team. Prior to the 1977-78 season, he was traded to Phoenix, where he instantly became a part of their run at contention.

On one of the Suns’ most loaded rosters in its history, Buse started at point guard and was a part of playoff teams every year. He was named to the All-Defensive First Team all three seasons he spent in Phoenix. Buse was arguably the best backcourt defender in the league during that stretch.

Because Buse played on teams with high-usage offensive stars, he never accrued the counting stats of many of his compatriots. Win shares undervalue his contributions as well, as his best single-season number is 6.0. He totaled 16 in all three years with Phoenix combined.

However, the Suns were in the mix for the title all three years he was there. Buse was a solid, if unspectacular, part of their success in the late 1970s.