How former Phoenix Suns players will impact NBA Finals

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

BONUS: former Arizona Wildcats in the NBA Finals

No former Arizona State Sun Devils are appearing in the NBA Finals. Two Arizona Wildcats, both on the Miami Heat, each played during different Arizona eras, deserve a special mention.

Solomon Hill, Miami Heat

As a Wildcat, Hill’s teams had his ups and downs: from making it all the way to the Elite 8 in 2011 (special shout out to Derrick Williams, the man who carried that team), from missing the tournament altogether in 2012 (losing to Bucknell in the first round of the NIT). His Arizona Wildcat career ended with a Sweet 16 appearance in his senior season in 2013.

Now, Hill gets more notoriety for his Walking Dead look as opposed to his actual play. Hill has only appeared in three games so far, averaging 5.7 minutes per game.

Andre Igoudala, Miami Heat

During his time as a member of the Golden State Warriors, Andre Iguodala was guarding LeBron James, then on the Cleveland Cavaliers. He did a tremendous job in 2015, bringing the Warriors their first title in 40 years. In 2016, he did his best but it was not enough. LeBron won Cleveland its first major sports title in 50 years.

Kevin Durant signed shortly thereafter. All because of Iguodala. His sacrifice – coming off the bench – allowed the Warriors to create a dynasty spanning five years because Kevin Durant replaced Harrison Barnes in the starting lineup. Barnes backed up Iguodala initially. Iguodala’s selfless move to the bench turned Barnes into a solid starter.

Then, Barnes was out, and in came Kevin Durant. Two more titles were added. Their last stand came in 2019. Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors defeated a wounded Warriors squad in six games. The Warriors’ dynasty was over (for now).

Three titles in five years. It was a good run. KD left for Brooklyn. D’Angelo Russell was brought in, just so KD would not leave for nothing. Igoudala ended up being a cap casualty, being jettisoned to the Memphis Grizzlies.

He refused to play for Memphis. Memphis wisely kept him, eventually trading him and Jae Crowder to the Miami Heat for Justis Winslow, a middling-to-excellent prospect.

2020 has worn on Igoudala, similar to Solomon Hill. He looks leaner. His beard has grayed. He has not played as much in the playoffs, only averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game. He may or may not have lost a step. Miami’s zone may or may not render him not as important. It does not matter. Muscle memory is crucial when guarding LeBron James. He stands as good of a chance as anyone for slowing down LeBron.

So, who wins? We shall see!

Next. 7-Seconds-or-less vs. Barkley Era; who wins?. dark