Previous week’s games
01/21/2011 SUNS 109, Wizards 101
01/22/2011 Pistons 75, SUNS 74
01/24/2011 76ers 105, SUNS 95
01/26/2011 Bobcats 114, SUNS 107
01/28/2011 SUNS 88, Celtics 71
01/30/2011 SUNS 104, Hornets 102
Upcoming week’s games
02/02/2011 SUNS vs Bucks, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona
It’s that time of the year where the Phoenix Suns start pushing season tickets for next season. This year the marketing scheme has been to promote the history of the team. Given the struggles of the current team, this is a move that makes sense.
Despite having never won a championship, the Suns boast a rich history, full of many great players and teams. In fact, the organization has the fourth best all-time winning percentage out of all NBA teams — that’s quite an accomplishment. The Suns are arguably the best professional sports franchise to never win a title. Point is, the Suns are trying to promote the idea that they don’t stay down for long. They always find a way to bounce back after down years.
This marketing ploy got me to thinking about all the players I’ve had the privilege of watching over the course of my 24 years. I’ve had the joy of seeing a lot of good ones, so I decided to come up with my all-time Suns team.
Point Guard: Steve Nash
Picking a starting point guard is by far the hardest position to choose on the Suns. I’ve witnessed Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash. I even got to see them all on the same team! Heck, I was even fortunate enough to see the best year of Stephon Marbury’s career. In the end, I had to go with Nash.
Since returning to the Valley of the Sun, Captain Canada has been fantastic in every way. He turned the franchise around, won two MVPs and changed the way basketball is played throughout the league. Even while aging Nash has never lost a step. Factor in his viral videos plus the fact that he’s a class act and he’s an easy choice.
Shooting Guard: Dan Majerle
Majerle was my absolute favorite player growing up and no one has surpassed him yet. He was as tough as they come and had range like no other. He went from being booed when announced as a draft pick to becoming quite possibly the most popular player in franchise history.
Two things from my childhood I’ll never forget: Thunder Dan’s eight three-pointers against the now dead Seattle Supersonics in the 1993 Western Conference Finals and Majerle jumping on the scorer’s table that same year after hitting a game-winning three during the regular season.
Small Forward: Shawn Marion
The only player to ever even come close to rivaling Majerle on my all-time favorite Suns list was the Matrix, Shawn Marion. From the moment Marion first stepped on the court for the Suns he was instantly loved by the Suns. He did all the little things and was one of the best rebounders and defenders in Suns history.
His multitude of highlight-reel dunks will forever be implanted in my brain but they always fall second to an offensive rebound he grabbed in game six of a first-round playoff series against the hated Lakers.
Power Forward: Charles Barkley
Sir Charles is like no one else on this list. His personality is second to none and his library of quotes is unmatched. Barkley is one of the rare players that made basketball an event. He made Suns fans of non-basketball fans. The Round Mound of Rebound put Phoenix in the national spotlight immediately and forever on the map.
The first jersey I ever got as a kid was a purple #34 jersey and I still have it to this day (and it fits!). I don’t expect to see another player in my lifetime have an impact the way Barkley did. The guy had a comic book about referee murders for crying out loud (which I totally own)!
Center: Amar’e Stoudemire
Maybe this is a cheat putting Stat here, but he did play center for quite a while and he has to make it in as a starter. Even though he’s not a center by any means, he certainly put up better numbers at this position than any other Suns player I’ve ever seen in the five spot.
Stoudemire matured and grew up in Phoenix both on and off the court. He started his career very limited on the offensive end but worked hard to develop into one of the most dominant players playing today.
His powerful dunks and outgoing personality instantly made him a hit with the Phoenix fans. The expression he put on the face of Marbury after the wicked throwdown over Michael Olowokandi and the death of Anthoy Tolliver via facial will forever be etched into Suns history.
So, there you have it, my all-time Suns starting five. If only there were a way to get those five on the court at the same time. It’s definitely something that’s fun to think about at least.