Former Phoenix Suns are featured in the NBA Finals showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. How will ex-Suns players impact this series?
By my count, 47 players have been on the active roster for the Phoenix Suns in the past four seasons. Four of them will appear on the roster in the NBA Finals: Derrick Jones Jr. and Goran Dragic on the Miami Heat; Markeiff Morris and Jared Dudley on the Los Angeles Lakers.
Phoenix Suns lore is riddled with NBA playoff heartbreak. Especially recently. I grew up in the Seven-Seconds-or-Less era: Steve Nash was my favorite player; Mike D’Antoni was my favorite coach.
Only in 1976 and 1993 have the Suns appeared in the NBA Finals, and one of those appearances just happened to be against the Chicago Bulls and the GOAT himself, Michael Jordan. Phoenix admirably pushed the Chicago Bulls to six games, especially since Jordan was at the height of his powers in 1993.
In 1976, Phoenix had their best chance. Star guard Paul Westphal, traded from the Boston Celtics in 1975, appeared against his former team a year later. That Boston team was in an interesting place. They were transitioning between the Bill Russell and Larry Bird eras.
John Havlicek was the only remnant of the 1960’s Russell/Cousy/Auerbach dynasty. Dave Cowens was their new superstar big man. Unless if you count Don Nelson, the same guy who created Nellie Ball – the forerunner to Seven-Seconds-or-Less.
Nellie’s ideas live on with the Miami Heat, who are playing an iteration of Nellie Ball, with former shooting guard Jimmy Butler now playing power forward.
I digress. This is about ex-Suns players. So, let me give them their shine now.