How the Phoenix Suns fumbled their breakout 2013-14 season

Phoenix Suns, Isaiah Thomas (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Isaiah Thomas (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns entered the 2013-14 season expected to be one of NBA’s worst teams but became of the league’s darlings instead.

Being a lifelong Phoenix Suns fan (I will be 30 in a few weeks), the 2013-14 NBA season was one of the most enjoyable that I can remember.

It didn’t bring with it the postseason success or championship aspirations that the Nash or Barkley era teams did, or even a playoff berth and 50 wins like the Jason Kidd led teams of the late 90s and early 2000s, but it was such an unexpected surprise and an entertaining team to watch that it captured my attention and the heart of the city of Phoenix.

Goran Dragic ascended to being a fringe NBA star and unbelievably became one of the most unstoppable forces on the fast break in the NBA.

Eric Bledsoe showed flashes of the potential that was brewing beneath the surface while he backed up Chris Paul in Los Angeles the first few seasons of his career.

Gerald Green was at his absolute best as a human microwave off of the bench who could heat up and nail a number of difficult shots to single-handedly turn the tide of a quarter, half, or even a game.

Fan favorite and hometown kid, Channing Frye, was back from a heart condition that threatened his career and his ability to space the floor and hit clutch shots (he hit multiple game-winners on the road that season) made him and Goran Dragic the most dynamic pick-and-roll (or pop in Channing’s case) combination in the entire NBA. They averaged 1.3 points per pick-and-roll that season which led the NBA.

Markieff Morris was actually looking like a quality starting power forward in the NBA (he averaged 13 and 6) and not the ornery, disrespectful player that he became on the Suns. Not a big fan of “Keef” or “Mook”, sorry.

P.J. Tucker was just starting to do the P.J. Tucker sort of things that have made him an invaluable starter for contending teams for the past half-decade.

With a completely reconstructed roster that’s average age was 25, three first-round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, max-level cap space, and a whiz kid General Manager in Ryan McDonough, it was assumed that we were on the verge of the next great era of Suns basketball.

Writing this in 2020, Suns fans know all too well that the promise of the 2013-14 season was merely a flash in a pan. It would be a random beacon of hope before the worst five-year period in franchise history.

So what happened? Let’s explore: