How the Phoenix Suns became one of the main discoveries of the season

NFL Therapy talks about one of the main discoveries of the start of the NBA season. How did the Phoenix Suns rise from the ashes? The answer to this question is in the material of Lux Blue.

Phoenix Suns nba picture

- They have the coldest hot dogs, the warmest beer, the most uncomfortable chairs, there are more attendants in the hall than fans, and yes, they never have any problems with parking! Just do not care for them all! - Charles Barkley could not restrain his laughter after another disastrous home match “Phoenix Suns”.

But Charles Barkley (today the most sought-after basketball analyst and a noble chatterbox) is a former Phoenix player. Moreover, one of the main legends of the club. And “Sir” Charles sneered about the team for a reason, he is a big fan of the “Sons”, but the fans of the club and former team legends have no more strength to endure everything that happens to the team.

Barkley came to “Phoenix” straight from “Philadelphia”, in which he did not want to play so much that he grew fat before the draft of 14 kilograms. But “Philadelphia” still chose a “fat man” who weighed 140 kg before the draft with a height of 198 cm. After eight years of his stay in the city of brotherly love, Barkley, already in the status of a superstar, was finally able to leave Philadelphia and went to conquer the landscapes of Arizona desert.

In 1992, Charles won the title of best player in the NBA regular season and led the Phoenix to the playoff finals, where the Suns would lose to the Chicago Bulls. Barkley then scored 25.6 points and 12.2 rebounds. In the final, “Phoenix” lost to the “Chicago Bulls” with a total score in the series 4-2. But before that, in the seventh game of the Western Conference finals against the Seattle Superconics team, Charles scored 44 points and made 24 rebounds. Right then, “Phoenix” was the second best league team, and Barkley - the second best player, after Michael Jordan. And the team included Dan Marley, Kevin Johnson and many others.

In 1996, the team will pick Steve Nash on a draft and a new milestone in the history of the Suns will begin. Nash, however, will spend for the “Phoenix” only the first two seasons and will leave for Dallas, then to return again to the largest city of Arizona. And here - in the 2000s - the Canadian will already begin to light, carve a powerful solar heat. In 2005 and 2006, Nash will win two consecutive MVP titles for the regular NBA championships, and Phoenix will become the most dynamic and interesting league team. Steve Nash will disperse the attacks of a whole scattering of stars: from Amare Stademeyer to Grant Hill, and Mike D` Anthony, the new star on the basketball coaching horizon, will rule this “solar” gang.

Over the years, “Phoenix” will not win the league title, but will teach its fans to a vibrant and successful game. And then everything will change dramatically.

The National Basketball Association, like any other North American league, has a constant kaleidoscopic change of elites at the head of its identification. This is what makes American sports fair, or something like that - equalizes the chances of teams from large markets and small proud. LeBron may end up in Cleveland, Davis and Zion in New Orleans, Durant, Harden and Westbrook in Oklahoma. And then it's up to the proud kids - dispose of the received whists in the person of the future NBA royals, and you will be happy. It turns out not at all. Someone from year to year chooses trash in the draft, someone is not able to build a strong team around talented youth.

Phoenix Suns nba picture

The “Suns” did not work for almost a decade. Since 2010, the team has never made it to the playoffs. It seemed that the sun again rose over the Arizona desert in the 2013/14 season, when Goran Draghic dragged the team on his Slovenian shoulders, and the Phoenix almost got into the playoffs. But from the next season, things got worse. “Suns” progressively worsened their results, until they hit the bottom last season. 19 wins for the entire 2018/19 championship. It was worse only in the 1968/69 season - in the first franchise season. It was a real failure!

It was tedious to change something ...

To begin with, “Phoenix” acquired a number of young and talented basketball players: from Kelly Ubre-Jr. to Dario Saric, and in the end he was strengthened by the European star in the face of the eternal Spanish talent - Ricky Rubio. And most importantly, the team relied on Monty Williams - a talented coach who was ready to look for a special approach to the star players of the team.

These same stars in the “Phoenix” is not so much, but with one of the brightest players in the team, Monty Williams was forced to break the bread during the off-season. He was obliged to find a common language with Devon Booker, and, it seems, he managed to agree with the star defender Suns.

- He told me: this is what you need to become a big player - to plow! - recalls his first meeting with Williams Devin Booker.

Booker is 23 years old and a few years ago he showed his wild potential when in one of the games of the regular season the NBA scored 70 points in the match against the “Boston Celtics”. And in March of this year, he became the youngest basketball player with several games in a row, where he scored 50 or more points.

- I am one of those people who immediately understands the intentions of a person. And in Monti, I immediately saw a spark and a desire to make our team stronger. I believed him from the first day! I will stand for him until the very end, as he will for me! These are our relationships! - says Booker.

From the very beginning of the season, “Suns” planned to build and develop a young team - speed, dynamics, desire: what should have distinguished a new team from Phoenix. And “Phoenix” is already coming this season 7-5. And yesterday they had 7-4 and they took second place in the Pacific Division, ahead of the Clippers, Sacramento and Golden State, and were second only to the Lakers in the division table (now they were beaten by Clippers, but both of them teams an equal number of defeats, the Californians spent 2 games more). “Phoenix” has already surprised fans with a number of unexpected victories, for example over “Clippers” and “Philadelphia”.

And all this despite the 25-match disqualification of the first draft pick last year - Deandra Ayton.

“Suns” are among the leaders of the league in terms of points in attack and fifth in the league in percentage of the game (47.1).

According to Booker, the main reason for the success of “Phoenix” - confidence in the head coach.

- His voice makes us more confident in ourselves. If before many trainers annoyed with their tips and incorrect settings, now we are completely confident in every word of the coach. His voice and discipline are the charge for our success! - says Booker.

Monty Williams was hired by the Suns head coach this May. Prior to that, Williams worked as the head coach of “New Orleans”, and twice put the Louisians in the playoffs (in 2011 and 2015). The choice in favor of Monty Williams was made personally by the general manager of the team, James Johnson, but, of course, it could not do without coordination with Booker.

- James told me that he was going to choose Williams and wanted to know my opinion. What could I say? That I look forward to the moment when we begin to work with each other! How is it different? Everyone with whom I spoke about Monti’s candidacy assured me that he was a smart and competent specialist. So, I was in anticipation of the upcoming work, - recalls the attacking defender of the “Suns”.

- when Devin and I first met, I told him that I know how we can achieve our goal together. Our goals are individual and team, but I was sure that they coincide. Devin wants to become an association superstar, and the team wants to win. If we combine these tasks, then we will succeed. This is what I told him. And he was delighted. I told him that he reminds me of Brandon Roy, the former Portland star. He can do absolutely everything on the basketball court. And to do this is completely fearless, like Roy in his time! - says Monty Williams about the first meeting with Booker.

Phoenix Suns nba picture

Devin was selected as the 13th pick of the 2015 draft. Booker really was phenomenal from the moment he began to play for the “Phoenix”. We already remembered his sniper achievements. So, in the previous three seasons in the NBA, the attacking defender scored at least 22 points on average per game. But today, according to Booker himself, his goal is to become a stable NBA star - a player whom opponents would fear and whose talent would be respected by fans and analysts. Today, Booker is the most productive player in the Suns and one of the most productive NBA players, gaining an average of 25.7 points per game. At the moment, Booker is the highest paid player in the “Phoenix” - $ 158 million for 5 years (27.2 million per season). But, despite all his successes and a huge contract, Booker has never been selected for the match of all NBA stars.

A good team season can take Booker to a new orbit. Over the past four years, a team from Arizona has never been able to win more than 25 matches. A real failure reached last year. As we already remembered, the team won only 19 victories, losing in 63 fights. The head coach of the team was Igor Kokoshkov, who completely lost his job. And today, the leadership of the team has relied on a more experienced coach, who has behind him the experience of almost 400 matches in the NBA as the main mentor. “Phoenix” trusted the coach, who is ready to develop a relationship with the main star of the team.

- Today, when we lost Ayton, we need Booker to go to a new level. I do not want to say that the whole game of the team will be based on the interaction of partners with Booker, but it is important for us that this season Booker takes a step so that he becomes a leader. We all know very well what Rubio is capable of, we know how impressive Ubre can be, how talented Sharich is. But we are not even able to imagine what potential lies in Devin. Today our common task is to bring this potential to light, under the spotlights of greatness! - says Williams.

- All that we managed to achieve, all this thanks to the work of Monty Williams. His individual work with each of us, his ability to set the right goals, find the right words. He knows that I want to become a participant in the all-star match, and he informed me that this will come with the victories of the team. I am sure that other players understand that the fulfillment of their desires, whatever they are, is directly dependent on the results of the team. It seems that it is so simple and banal, but apparently, we needed a person who would convey this to each of us. And Monty was the one who could do it! He is the one we needed! - summarizes Devin Booker.

It seems that hot dogs in Phoenix are getting warmer, beer is colder, chairs are more comfortable, and the number of fans in the stands is growing steadily. Now it’s not so easy to get a parking space in front of the stadium. And Charles Barkley is no longer ironic about the team, he is simply satisfied. And all this is connected with the new successes of “Sons”, the foundation of which is the work of the head coach of the team. In Arizona it can become even more comfortable, but there is a whole season ahead. The season of discoveries and new goals, which are more than enough in Phoenix.