Phoenix Suns Wrapped: Looking Back on the 2021 Calendar Year

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns just enjoyed a year unlike any other, making themselves well deserved of their own version of a Spotify Wrapped this December.

Obviously, the current NBA season remains quite fresh, having tipped off just over a month ago. But as far as the calendar year goes, this past one contained countless mind-blowing plays, record breaking performances, and of course—a wild trip to the NBA Finals.

You never want to be that guy who spams their followers with their own Spotify Wrapped data on Instagram, so we want to spare you from any more of that nonsense. But as a one time look back on this true year to remember for the Valley Boys, below are some of 2021’s most important about plays, moments, and general storylines.

Phoenix Suns Wrapped: Who were the Most Talked About Players?

Several Phoenix players burst onto the NBA scene this past year, that more than anything led to the team’s general uptick. However, almost nobody took a larger leap than Devin Booker.

As a player formerly criticized for coming through with spectacular, but meaningless performances, he shut up his naysayers with several game-breaking performances on the always important postseason stage.

But even with Book slaying his opponents left and right, arguably the best story involving him this past year happened off the court.

During the Western Conference Semifinals, while Booker and the Suns mopped the floor with the Denver Nuggets, one passionate Phoenix fan got into a scuffle with a Denver fan, famously throwing up four fingers and shouting “Suns in four” right after. As we all know, that fan’s prophecy came true with Phoenix completing a sweep, and Booker even reached out to him, eventually buying him tickets for the Western Conference Finals.

Chris Paul seemed to nip at Booker’s heels this past year as well. His role in establishing a winning culture within the Phoenix locker room earned him high praise, and his journey to the Finals after 16 seasons resembled a true “feel good” story.

Deandre Ayton‘s emergence during the postseason also made this an unforgettable year for the Suns, followed also by breakouts from Mikal Bridges and Cameron Payne.

Phoenix Suns Wrapped: What were the Best Plays?

This past year, Suns fans hit repeat on the “Valley Oop” play more than anything else. It gave Phoenix a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference Finals, cemented Ayton as a bonafide star, and took the breath away from Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon.

But a few other plays warrant a playback as well. Chris Paul’s one handed dagger to end the New York Knicks’ nine game win streak in late April deserves one more round of applause, as does  Devin Booker’s triple to beat the Dallas Mavericks with 1.5 seconds to play on February 1st.

Although it came during a game to forget for the Suns, Cameron Johnson’s poster dunk on P.J. Tucker in the NBA Finals needs mentioning here as well.

Some more underrated plays worth looking up also include Booker’s other game-winning triple against the Mavericks, which he hit just a few days ago to keep the team’s win streak alive, as well as his baseline jumper after spinning out Rudy Gobert in late April last year.

Phoenix Suns Wrapped: What were the Best Moments Outside the Game?

As much as everyone loved the product Phoenix put out onto the court this past year, the team played big while off the hardwood at the same time.

Coming together as a city, the way Booker, Paul, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, and Johnson showed out for the Phoenix Mercury during their bid for a WNBA championship a few months ago was fantastic to see. With these two teams clearly talented and supportive of each other, the future of basketball in Phoenix has never felt brighter.

The Suns also spent significant time working to improve the lives of those around them. Devin Booker spearheaded these efforts with his Starting Five Initiative, where he pledged 2.5 million dollars over the course of five years to different non-profit organizations. This past year, Booker gave to Arizona Autism United, Central Arizona Shelter Services, YMCA of Southern Arizona, GAP Ministries, and Elevate Phoenix—which even allowed him to earn the NBA Cares Community Assist Award in July.

Even during the little moments between games, the Suns gave their fans reason to smile.

With Paul unable to suit up to start the Western Conference Finals, a video surfaced showing Ayton and Booker facetiming him immediately after their Game 2 victory. It fully illustrated the deep bond between CP3 and his younger teammates, making last year’s Suns team feel that  much easier to root for.

If you do not remember Dario Saric’s reaction to Monty Williams’s pep talk during the NBA Finals, we highly encourage you to look that up if you need a good laugh. The locker room reaction following Frank Kaminsky’s career game a few weeks ago also needs a rerun, which gave new meaning to the word “wholesome,” as corny as that might sound.

To be clear, the Suns still have one more month to add more memories. With an opportunity to break their franchise record for most wins in a row tonight, they might add another colossal chapter to their 2021 “wrapped” story.

For now though, hop in a DeLorean, and enjoy this trip through the past. With the highs and lows considered, the Suns likely never get a season like last year’s again, at least for some time. They seemed to turn a corner on as a franchise, moving back into the winner’s circle—which more than anything made 2021 something to behold.

Next. Mikal Bridges Goes off on the Media. dark

But did we miss anything? If there’s a moment, player, or anything else big that happened this past season which needs recognition, feel free to drop it below.