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Suns History - Best and Worst Game or Series Memories, Favorite and Worst Draft or FA Memories,Favorite All Time Player

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Suns History - Best and Worst Game or Series Memories, Favorite and Worst Draft or FA Memories,Favorite All Time Player 

Post#1 » by GMATCallahan » Fri Dec 2, 2016 7:02 am

LukasBMW wrote: Remember when KJ actually had a sports hernia that we missed and thought it was a hamstring issue? Our trainers missed it for an entire year. :banghead:


... missed it for four entire years, actually. K.J. suffered the hernia during a preseason game in October 1992 (while attempting to lift rookie teammate Oliver Miller, who was packing close to 350 pounds on a 6'7" frame) and never underwent hernia surgery until September 27, 1996.

http://articles.latimes.com/1996-09-28/sports/sp-48305_1_hernia-surgery

The Suns' doctors (who, just to be technical, should be faulted rather than the trainers) finally determined, on the eve of the '96-'97 season, that K.J. had suffered a hernia during the previous season. Thus he underwent surgery and Phoenix's doctors, led by Richard Emerson, indeed repaired that hernia. While doing so, they discovered a second hernia that they believed had been there for years.

Now, when the injury occurred in October 1992, Phoenix's initial fear was that he had suffered a hernia, which would have cost him the first two months of the regular season. The doctors, however, downgraded the diagnosis to a strained groin. But since he had actually suffered a hernia after all, the strained groin was just a symptom, not the cause. Thus, after beginning the '92-'93 season on the injured list and missing the first five games, K.J. strained his hamstring during his fourth game back and returned to the injured list for the next thirteen games, thus missing eighteen of Phoenix's first twenty-two contests. (He would miss fifteen more regular season games that year, plus the playoff opener, although with one possible exception the other missed games did not directly stem from the undiagnosed hernia.)

Remarkably, K.J. never missed a game due to the hernia in '93-'94 for the Suns or for Dream Team II in the summer of 1994. (He did miss fifteen regular season games that year due to a lower leg contusion, a sprained ankle, and a case of the chicken pox.) But he missed thirty-five regular season games in '94-'95 (twenty-one of which, at least, probably stemmed from an undiagnosed hernia), and if he had not suffered the second hernia during that season (for instance when Shaquille O'Neal fell on K.J.'s groin during a preseason game in Phoenix in October 1994), then he had certainly suffered it by December 1995. Despite playing at least the majority of the '95-'96 campaign with two undiagnosed sports hernias (tears in his abdominal wall), he constituted the best point guard in the game during the second half of the schedule and overall recorded one of the few seasons in NBA history with averages of at least 18.0 points, 9.0 assists, and a .600 True Shooting Percentage (the best measure of scoring efficiency).

http://bkref.com/tiny/MbR3D

Only the following September, after a summer of rest and rehabilitation failed to eliminate the pain in his abdomen and groin area, did the Suns' doctors finally diagnose a hernia, operate, and discover the original hernia as well. After missing the first eleven games of the '96-'97 regular season (during which time Phoenix went 0-11), K.J. returned and missed only one more game the rest of the way—due to a case of the flu going around the locker room. He averaged a team-leading 38.0 minutes per game (his highest average since his second season in the NBA) and averaged 42.9 minutes over the Suns' final eighteen regular season contests (averaging 24.6 points, 10.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, a .507 field goal percentage in 15.7 FGA, a .442 three-point field goal percentage in 4.8 FGA, and a .901 free throw percentage in 7.8 FTA).

Twice during that stretch, he played every second, including in an overtime game.

http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/boxscore.htm?yr=1996&b=19970328&tm=PHO

http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/boxscore.htm?yr=1996&b=19970413&tm=GSW

Indeed, after having the hernias removed, K.J. never missed a regular season or playoff game due to a muscle strain in a season where he planned to play (not counting the spring of 2000, when the Suns called him off his couch cold after Jason Kidd fractured his ankle).

So, yeah, a medical misdiagnosis will often explain persistent and returning injuries. Actually, do you remember when Shawn Bradley knocked out Charles Barkley on March 1, 1997?



http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/boxscore.htm?yr=1996&b=19970301&tm=HOU

Not until the middle of the following November did Houston's doctors begin to suspect that Barkley had actually suffered a hernia on that occasion.

Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley will miss at least three games and possibly more because of a strained left groin. He was hurt Sunday during a loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Team physicians examined Barkley Monday and found that he also may have a pre-existing hernia that could be lingering from a collision with Dallas Mavericks’ center Shawn Bradley last season. Barkley missed 14 games after that incident.


http://dailyegyptian.com/45497/archives/softball-announces-two-signees/


Barkley finished out the rest of the season before undergoing his hernia surgery. At least he only played with that injury for less than one and a half seasons, compared to four seasons for Kevin Johnson in Phoenix. K.J. actually never played an official game with Barkley without suffering from at least one sports hernia.
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Re: Tyson Chandler's Advantages and Disadvantages 

Post#2 » by bwgood77 » Fri Dec 2, 2016 7:24 am

GMATCallahan wrote:
LukasBMW wrote:Chandler has been our defensive anchor. He grabs rebounds when we need it. He also run the pick and roll lob quite well.

My concern is his hamstring. Is it still bugging him?

I know hamstring injuries can find a way to keep coming back, but I hope our training staff isn't losing it. Remember when KJ actually had a sports hernia that we missed and thought it was a hamstring issue? Our trainers missed it for an entire year. :banghead:

It could also be piriformis syndrome. I know because I just went through it.

Piriformis syndrome is when your piriformis muscle becomes tight and ends up compressing the sciatic nerve. The first symptom is usually pain in the back of the hamstring. Piriformis syndrome is common in people who run a lot and people who sit a lot at desk jobs.

Given all the running (games and practice) plus extended sitting (flights and bus trips) and his age, it could be an issue for him.


... missed it for four entire years, actually. K.J. suffered the hernia during a preseason game in October 1992 (while attempting to lift rookie teammate Oliver Miller, who was packing close to 350 pounds on a 6'7" frame) and never underwent hernia surgery until September 27, 1996.

http://articles.latimes.com/1996-09-28/sports/sp-48305_1_hernia-surgery

The Suns' doctors (who, just to be technical, should be faulted rather than the trainers) finally determined, on the eve of the '96-'97 season, that K.J. had suffered a hernia during the previous season. Thus he underwent surgery and Phoenix's doctors, led by Richard Emerson, indeed repaired that hernia. While doing so, they discovered a second hernia that they believed had been there for years.

Now, when the injury occurred in October 1992, Phoenix's initial fear was that he had suffered a hernia, which would have cost him the first two months of the regular season. The doctors, however, downgraded the diagnosis to a strained groin. But since he had actually suffered a hernia after all, the strained groin was just a symptom, not the cause. Thus, after beginning the '92-'93 season on the injured list and missing the first five games, K.J. strained his hamstring during his fourth game back and returned to the injured list for the next thirteen games, thus missing eighteen of Phoenix's first twenty-two contests. (He would miss fifteen more regular season games that year, plus the playoff opener, although with one possible exception the other missed games did not directly stem from the undiagnosed hernia.)

Remarkably, K.J. never missed a game due to the hernia in '93-'94 for the Suns or for Dream Team II in the summer of 1994. (He did miss fifteen regular season games that year due to a lower leg contusion, a sprained ankle, and a case of the chicken pox.) But he missed thirty-five regular season games in '94-'95 (twenty-one of which, at least, probably stemmed from an undiagnosed hernia), and if he had not suffered the second hernia during that season (for instance when Shaquille O'Neal fell on K.J.'s groin during a preseason game in Phoenix in October 1994), then he had certainly suffered it by December 1995. Despite playing at least the majority of the '95-'96 campaign with two undiagnosed sports hernias (tears in his abdominal wall), he constituted the best point guard in the game during the second half of the schedule and overall recorded one of the few seasons in NBA history with averages of at least 18.0 points, 9.0 assists, and a .600 True Shooting Percentage (the best measure of scoring efficiency).

http://bkref.com/tiny/MbR3D

Only the following September, after a summer of rest and rehabilitation failed to eliminate the pain in his abdomen and groin area, did the Suns' doctors finally diagnose a hernia, operate, and discover the original hernia as well. After missing the first eleven games of the '96-'97 regular season (during which time Phoenix went 0-11), K.J. returned and missed only one more game the rest of the way—due to a case of the flu going around the locker room. He averaged a team-leading 38.0 minutes per game (his highest average since his second season in the NBA) and averaged 42.9 minutes over the Suns' final eighteen regular season contests (averaging 24.6 points, 10.2 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals, a .507 field goal percentage in 15.7 FGA, a .442 three-point field goal percentage in 4.8 FGA, and a .901 free throw percentage in 7.8 FTA).

Twice during that stretch, he played every second, including in an overtime game.

http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/boxscore.htm?yr=1996&b=19970328&tm=PHO

http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/boxscore.htm?yr=1996&b=19970413&tm=GSW

Indeed, after having the hernias removed, K.J. never missed a regular season or playoff game due to a muscle strain in a season where he planned to play (not counting the spring of 2000, when the Suns called him off his couch cold after Jason Kidd fractured his ankle).

So, yeah, a medical misdiagnosis will often explain persistent and returning injuries. Actually, do you remember when Shawn Bradley knocked out Charles Barkley on March 1, 1997?



http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/boxscore.htm?yr=1996&b=19970301&tm=HOU

Not until the middle of the following November did Houston's doctors begin to suspect that Barkley had actually suffered a hernia on that occasion.

Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley will miss at least three games and possibly more because of a strained left groin. He was hurt Sunday during a loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Team physicians examined Barkley Monday and found that he also may have a pre-existing hernia that could be lingering from a collision with Dallas Mavericks’ center Shawn Bradley last season. Barkley missed 14 games after that incident.


http://dailyegyptian.com/45497/archives/softball-announces-two-signees/


Barkley finished out the rest of the season before undergoing his hernia surgery. At least he only played with that injury for less than one and a half seasons, compared to four seasons for Kevin Johnson in Phoenix. K.J. actually never played an official game with Barkley without suffering from at least one sports hernia.


This is really frustrating to read. I wholeheartedly feel that if KJ had either not suffered that first hernia, or it had been properly diagnosed, that he could have possibly been the best PG in history. With what he did in his first four full seasons, I still think that is unprecedented. I'm sure you have researched it, but there can't possibly be another player in the entire league that provided his pts and assists and fg% in their first 4 full years starting, and having started as early as their second year. At least not in the modern era, but I'm guessing ever. I mean he outplayed Magic in those playoffs we have discussed multiple times, and I know Magic may have been on the downside of his prime, but he was still pretty much in his prime, and probably, had he not retired after his diagnosis, played at a high level for another 5 years.

Edit...after typing that I checked Magic, who was close in points, and better in fg%, but worse in assists, so that is pretty close for the first 4 years.

Stockton didn't start consistently his first 3 years, but when he did, he beats KJ's first 4 in assists and fg%, but not points, but by that time, if KJ, uninjured keeps going, but of course then he had the added problem of playing with Barkley who wanted the offense run through him (I know I've discussed this a lot) instead of a pure finisher like Malone...probably best finisher of all time.
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Re: Tyson Chandler's Advantages and Disadvantages 

Post#3 » by GMATCallahan » Fri Dec 2, 2016 8:19 am

bwgood77 wrote:This is really frustrating to read. I wholeheartedly feel that if KJ had either not suffered that first hernia, or it had been properly diagnosed, that he could have possibly been the best PG in history. With what he did in his first four full seasons, I still think that is unprecedented. I'm sure you have researched it, but there can't possibly be another player in the entire league that provided his pts and assists and fg% in their first 4 full years starting, and having started as early as their second year. At least not in the modern era, but I'm guessing ever. I mean he outplayed Magic in those playoffs we have discussed multiple times, and I know Magic may have been on the downside of his prime, but he was still pretty much in his prime, and probably, had he not retired after his diagnosis, played at a high level for another 5 years.

Edit...after typing that I checked Magic, who was close in points, and better in fg%, but worse in assists, so that is pretty close for the first 4 years.

Stockton didn't start consistently his first 3 years, but when he did, he beats KJ's first 4 in assists and fg%, but not points, but by that time, if KJ, uninjured keeps going, but of course then he had the added problem of playing with Barkley who wanted the offense run through him (I know I've discussed this a lot) instead of a pure finisher like Malone...probably best finisher of all time.


K.J.'s run during those four years (1989-1992), during which he averaged 21.2 points, 11.1 assists, and a .500 field goal percentage, was absolutely historic for any player at any stage of his career (not just an early stage). Outside of Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, no one was better at combining those categories over a four-year span. (Chris Paul came close, but he was lower in all three areas, albeit higher in some other statistics; Isiah Thomas proved virtually identical to K.J. in points and assists, but his field goal percentage trailed markedly.)

When K.J. outplayed Magic in the 1990 playoffs (outplayed him in the fourth quarters, anyway), Magic was very much in the peak phase of his career. He received his third MVP Award in four seasons that year, and he actually enjoyed consecutive performances of 43 points on 15-26 field goal shooting versus the Suns in the last two games of the 1990 Western Conference Semifinals.

But, again, K.J. proved better down the stretches of those same games.

I believe that Magic constituted the best point guard in history regardless, and I still feel that for prime value, K.J. is arguably second behind only Magic. (Robertson was more of a LeBron James-type than a "point guard" per se.) But had the Suns diagosed the original hernia at the time (of if it had never occurred), he would not have missed as many games, the "arguably" could have become nearly "definitely," and he would not be so underrated by fans, the media, and the basketball establishment. Even with the undiagnosed hernias, K.J. averaged 19.8 points, 10.0 assists, and a .497 field goal percentage over a span of nine seasons from 1989-1997. Can you imagine a player averaging 20.0/10.0/.500 for nearly a decade (and not playing in Mike D'Antoni's offense, either)? K.J. almost did it (and probably would have done it without the hidden hernia), and only Magic was better in all three areas over that long a stretch, averaging 20.0 points, 12.2 assists, and a .518 field goal percentage over nine straight seasons from 1983-1991.

Regarding Karl Malone, he did post up a lot, like Barkley, but the difference was that he would post, catch, turn and fire. Thus he constituted much less of a ball-stopper.
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Re: Tyson Chandler's Advantages and Disadvantages 

Post#4 » by GMATCallahan » Sun Dec 4, 2016 2:32 am

bwgood77 wrote:This is really frustrating to read. I wholeheartedly feel that if KJ had either not suffered that first hernia, or it had been properly diagnosed, that he could have possibly been the best PG in history. With what he did in his first four full seasons, I still think that is unprecedented.


A gifted athlete, Johnson played shortstop in the Oakland A's minor-league system while at the University of California. Taken by the Cavaliers with the seventh pick in the 1987 draft, he was soon dealt to Phoenix because the Cavs had Mark Price. He blossomed into an All-Star with the Suns, averaging more than 20 points and 10 assists over the next four seasons before injuries, mostly to his legs, cost him an average of 28 games per season the next four years.

"He was in pain all the time," Ainge said. "That takes the fun out of the game."

So Johnson said he would retire when his current contract, which pays him $7 million this season, ends this summer.

... "I don't want to be one of those guys dragged off the court, hanging around for the money and having double knee and hip replacements. But I'm not saying I'm at that point."

Actually, Johnson isn't as close as he was to that point four years ago.

As if someone waved a wand over him and announced, "Heal," Johnson is as healthy as he has been in his pro career.

"I'm playing 40 minutes every game," he said, sounding surprised. "The day after games I'm shooting around, running up and down stairs. This may not mean much to you, but I haven't been able to do that for four years."

Johnson is a free agent this summer, and there's no point guard in the NBA more productive at the moment.

"When I first made the statement (about retiring) three years ago, I knew I'd be in my prime," he said. "But I didn't think I'd be this healthy."


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1997-04-03/sports/9704030075_1_suns-all-star-retirement-plans-playing


Well, no one waved a wand. What happened was that for the first time in five seasons, Johnson was playing without a sports hernia.
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Re: Tank Watch 

Post#5 » by Villalobos » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:52 pm

Have the Suns ever had a top 3 pick before?
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Re: Tank Watch 

Post#6 » by darealjuice » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:00 pm

Villalobos wrote:Have the Suns ever had a top 3 pick before?

#2 in 1969 (we missed out on some guy named Lew Alcindor) and #2 in 1987 (missed out on The Admiral)
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Re: Tank Watch 

Post#7 » by ATTL » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:53 pm

darealjuice wrote:
Villalobos wrote:Have the Suns ever had a top 3 pick before?

#2 in 1969 (we missed out on some guy named Lew Alcindor) and #2 in 1987 (missed out on The Admiral)


Both were coin flips. How different our franchise would be, but for the flip of a coin.
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Re: Tank Watch 

Post#8 » by DirtyDez » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:06 pm

ATTL wrote:
darealjuice wrote:
Villalobos wrote:Have the Suns ever had a top 3 pick before?

#2 in 1969 (we missed out on some guy named Lew Alcindor) and #2 in 1987 (missed out on The Admiral)


Both were coin flips. How different our franchise would be, but for the flip of a coin.


I'm convinced the Suns would've been a dynasty had they got The Admiral. Remember he was drafted in 87' but of course didn't play his rookie season until 1989-90. So it's not out of the question that they still would've traded for KJ and signed Chambers. Then added Robinson to an already great team in 90'.

I'm too young to comment on the 70's but Kareem would've joined a team that had a star in Gail Goodrich and a really good player in Van Arsdale?

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fromthetop321 wrote:I got Lebron number 1, he is also leading defensive player of the year. Curry's game still reminds me of Jeremy Lin to much.
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Re: Tank Watch 

Post#9 » by bwgood77 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:37 pm

DirtyDez wrote:
ATTL wrote:
darealjuice wrote:#2 in 1969 (we missed out on some guy named Lew Alcindor) and #2 in 1987 (missed out on The Admiral)


Both were coin flips. How different our franchise would be, but for the flip of a coin.


I'm convinced the Suns would've been a dynasty had they got The Admiral. Remember he was drafted in 87' but of course didn't play his rookie season until 1989-90. So it's not out of the question that they still would've traded for KJ and signed Chambers. Then added Robinson to an already great team in 90'.

I'm too young to comment on the 70's but Kareem would've joined a team that had a star in Gail Goodrich and a really good player in Van Arsdale?

@GMATCallahan


Imagine that team with Robinson instead of West. West as a backup C. That team would have been crazy good. No need for Barkley either. You just keep team intact and you are probably set. Could have still traded for Barkley but we would have been fine for rebounds and better defensively. I'll point GMAT here for his thoughts on this.
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Re: Tank Watch 

Post#10 » by DirtyDez » Wed Feb 1, 2017 3:56 am

bwgood77 wrote:
DirtyDez wrote:
ATTL wrote:
Both were coin flips. How different our franchise would be, but for the flip of a coin.


I'm convinced the Suns would've been a dynasty had they got The Admiral. Remember he was drafted in 87' but of course didn't play his rookie season until 1989-90. So it's not out of the question that they still would've traded for KJ and signed Chambers. Then added Robinson to an already great team in 90'.

I'm too young to comment on the 70's but Kareem would've joined a team that had a star in Gail Goodrich and a really good player in Van Arsdale?

@GMATCallahan


Imagine that team with Robinson instead of West. West as a backup C. That team would have been crazy good. No need for Barkley either. You just keep team intact and you are probably set. Could have still traded for Barkley but we would have been fine for rebounds and better defensively. I'll point GMAT here for his thoughts on this.


He would've been great next to Chambers although starting in 91' TC started declining a bit. So dynasty was a bit strong but those Suns teams would've been a tough out in the western conference. Robinson was putting up incredible numbers from the start of his career and anchoring top-3 defensive teams.
fromthetop321 wrote:I got Lebron number 1, he is also leading defensive player of the year. Curry's game still reminds me of Jeremy Lin to much.
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Re: Season Speculation, Trade Ideas and Discussion 2: End This Knightmare! 

Post#11 » by GMATCallahan » Thu Feb 2, 2017 9:19 am

Scutt wrote:Barkley came to a Suns team that already made the Conference finals, and had a leader in KJ. They were a legit playoff team that was trying to add the piece that would put them over the top. This current Suns team has one of the worst records in the league, and getting Cousins might not even get them into the playoffs. I fail to see how this situation is anything like when we got Barkley, other than both players having attitude issues.


From September 2015-February 2016, I went back and studied each game of the 1992 Western Conference Semifinals between Phoenix and Portland—I would spend a few weeks with each game, studying every possession. And I will tell you that Suns certainly could have won that series—and thus perhaps made the NBA Finals—with better luck.

I will go into detail sometime in another thread that would be more suitable, but consider how the 2002 Sacramento Kings could have made the NBA Finals with better luck—it was that type of situation.

(Of course, the Suns also could reached the NBA Finals in 1990 with better luck—luck of a different kind in that case.)
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Re: Season Speculation, Trade Ideas and Discussion 2: End This Knightmare! 

Post#12 » by ChrisInAZ » Thu Feb 2, 2017 9:37 am

GMATCallahan wrote:...but consider how the 2002 Sacramento Kings could have made the NBA Finals with better luck—it was that type of situation.


Kings didn't need better luck in 2002, they just needed a fair chance. Game 6's forth quarter in the WCF against the Lakers was a travesty.

This coming from someone who never complains about the officiating, or sees ref bias.

Great stuff Callahan. Love the historical, detailed analysis.
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Re: Season Speculation, Trade Ideas and Discussion 2: End This Knightmare! 

Post#13 » by GMATCallahan » Thu Feb 2, 2017 10:50 pm

ChrisInAZ wrote:
GMATCallahan wrote:...but consider how the 2002 Sacramento Kings could have made the NBA Finals with better luck—it was that type of situation.


Kings didn't need better luck in 2002, they just needed a fair chance. Game 6's forth quarter in the WCF against the Lakers was a travesty.

This coming from someone who never complains about the officiating, or sees ref bias.

Great stuff Callahan. Love the historical, detailed analysis.


... right, that was what I meant by "luck"—and the Suns went through something similar in that 1992 series.

I will break it down in another thread sometime.
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Re: Season Speculation, Trade Ideas and Discussion 2: End This Knightmare! 

Post#14 » by ChrisInAZ » Fri Feb 3, 2017 1:40 am

GMATCallahan wrote:
ChrisInAZ wrote:
GMATCallahan wrote:...but consider how the 2002 Sacramento Kings could have made the NBA Finals with better luck—it was that type of situation.


Kings didn't need better luck in 2002, they just needed a fair chance. Game 6's forth quarter in the WCF against the Lakers was a travesty.

This coming from someone who never complains about the officiating, or sees ref bias.

Great stuff Callahan. Love the historical, detailed analysis.


... right, that was what I meant by "luck"—and the Suns went through something similar in that 1992 series.

I will break it down in another thread sometime.


I'd like to know...If I re-watch the double OT Game 4 of that '92 Blazer-Suns series, would it contain any of the Luck that you promise to break down some time in the future? If so, no spoilers. Just confirm if some occurred in that game.
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Re: Season Speculation, Trade Ideas and Discussion 2: End This Knightmare! 

Post#15 » by GMATCallahan » Fri Feb 3, 2017 2:16 am

ChrisInAZ wrote:
GMATCallahan wrote:... right, that was what I meant by "luck"—and the Suns went through something similar in that 1992 series.

I will break it down in another thread sometime.


I'd like to know...If I re-watch the double OT Game 4 of that '92 Blazer-Suns series, would it contain any of the Luck that you promise to break down some time in the future? If so, no spoilers. Just confirm if some occurred in that game.


... yes; one of two such games in that series.

Let me note that as I recall, outside of one call, the TNT broadcasters do not make a deal out of it all, so some of it could be easy to miss. But if scrutinizing matters ... yes.
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Re: Tank Watch 

Post#16 » by GMATCallahan » Fri Feb 3, 2017 12:50 pm

DirtyDez wrote:I'm convinced the Suns would've been a dynasty had they got The Admiral. Remember he was drafted in 87' but of course didn't play his rookie season until 1989-90. So it's not out of the question that they still would've traded for KJ and signed Chambers. Then added Robinson to an already great team in 90'.

I'm too young to comment on the 70's but Kareem would've joined a team that had a star in Gail Goodrich and a really good player in Van Arsdale?

@GMATCallahan


It gets better than that: the '69-'70 Suns also featured Connie Hawkins, who averaged 24.6 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists, shooting .490 from the field and .779 from the free throw line in 9.1 attempts per game. Hawkins' swooping, slashing actions were similar to those of Elgin Baylor and Julius Erving.



And then, yes, that team featured Van Arsdale, who averaged 21.3 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds, shooting .508 from the field and .798 from the foul line in 7.5 attempts while being rather renowned for his defense. And then there was Goodrich, who averaged 20.0 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds, shooting .454 from the field and .808 from the free throw line in 7.5 attempts (lots of foul calls in those days, too). Goodrich had some Steve Nash in his game, in terms of flair and trickery, and three years ago, when the Suns routed the Pacers at home on January 22, 2014, in a game televised by ESPN, the topic late in the game somehow turned to the best shooting back courts in NBA history. Maybe the play-by-play guy was talking about Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and he prompted Hubie Brown to cite the best shooting guard tandems that he had ever seen (at least prior to Curry and Thompson). Brown named three: John Stockton and Jeff Hornacek in Utah, Kevin Johnson and Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix, and Gail Goodrich and Jerry West with the Lakers (where Goodrich played before and after his two-year stint with the Suns).

It is funny in a sense, but in just their second season of existence, '69-'70, the Suns ranked third (out of fourteen teams) in the NBA in Offensive Rating (points scored per possession) and came close to a break-even record, finishing only four games under .500—four games over .500 after Jerry Colangelo came down from the front office and took over as head coach—while making the playoffs.

http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/PHO/1970.html

I had not thought about it before, but had the Suns won the coin flip (or had Colangelo called tails instead of heads), they may well have embarked on a dynasty. If you put Lew Alcindor on that roster, flanked at forward by Hawkins and rebounding ace Paul Silas (12.8 points, 11.7 boards), and with Goodrich at point guard and Van Arsdale at shooting guard, that starting lineup might have been the best in the NBA. Phoenix probably would have been the best offensive club in the league in that case, and its defense (the second-worst in terms of Defensive Rating, or points allowed per possession) would have improved enormously. Indeed, consider that one of the two teams more efficient than Phoenix offensively that year was the Milwaukee Bucks—who of course had won the coin toss and drafted Alcindor. A Suns' club with Alcindor certainly could have won the championship in 1970, not to mention future years.

Instead, still searching for a center after the 1970 playoffs, the Suns traded Goodrich back to the Lakers for journeyman center Mel Counts. Somehow, they won 48 games the next season under this thirty-nine-year old coach named Cotton Fitzsimmons.

As for your first point, it is one that I have thought about before, and I have to agree: the Suns easily could have become a dynasty had they won the 1987 lottery, thus enabling them to draft David Robinson (instead of selecting the late Armon Gilliam with the second overall pick). I concur that Phoenix still would have traded for Kevin Johnson in that case: the Suns would have still been a bad team in '87-'88 (as you note, Robinson would not debut in the NBA for two years after that draft in order to fulfill his Naval obligations), and Phoenix would have still been looking to offload veterans at the February 1988 trading deadline in an effort to restock the roster and revamp the team after a passage marked by losing and a drug scandal. Fitzsimmons, by then the Suns' director of player-personnel (the de facto general manager), would have still loved what he saw in Johnson, and he still would have had a confidant in Cleveland's front office telling him how good the twenty-one-year old point guard happened to be even though he was playing behind a second-year Mark Price. That confidant was Gary Fitzsimmons, Cotton's son. And, yes, there is no reason to believe that Phoenix would not have still inked Tom Chambers as the NBA's first unrestricted free agent in the summer of 1988. Colangelo wanted to rebuild quickly, and he would not have wanted to just sit around and wait for Robinson's arrival.

And David Robinson would have constituted a perfect fit for Kevin Johnson, the Suns, and how they preferred to play—perfect. K.J. could have meshed with any of the superstar big men of that era, or in history—after all, despite being dynamic off the dribble, he meshed with Charles Barkley, who was a major ball stopper (albeit a terrific passer when he was not stopping the ball), as Phoenix finished first in the NBA in Offensive Rating in Johnson and Barkley's first two seasons together and third in their third year together (and may have ranked first that season, too, with better health). But Robinson would have represented such an ideal fit that there would have hardly been any adjustments at all. Although he improved his low-post game over the years, Robinson was the most New Age of all the centers back then—he was like a bigger, more powerful Anthony Davis in certain respects. Rather than dominating the ball on the low block, he would step out, face up, and shoot jumpers or slash to the hoop and finish thunderously. If the defense did not honor his jumper, Robinson would bury it, and once the defender came out to contest, Robinson could explode past him. Those abilities rendered him an optimal option in the pick-and-roll/pop, which was Kevin Johnson's favorite play—he was arguably the best in the league at running it. Jeff Hornacek was effective at running it, too (sometimes in a pure pick-and-roll/pop, sometimes turning a down screen into a pick-and-roll/pop if both defenders went to Hornacek), and in Chambers, Phoenix already possessed one great roll/pop man who could both shoot from outside and go to the hole. Robinson would have fit right in as another, and he would have certainly become the primary option on that play as Chambers aged.

Moreover, Robinson would move the ball and execute dribble hand offs—when he led the NBA in scoring in '93-'94 at 29.8 points per game, he also led the Spurs in assists per game at 4.8, an extremely figure for a true center. And of course, the Suns loved to run, with K.J. pushing the ball or firing long passes down the floor. Along with Bill Russell (who was an Olympic-caliber track-and-field athlete in college), Robinson might have been the fastest running center in history—except that whereas Russell was 6'9" (which probably means that he would be listed at 6'10", at least, these days), Robinson was a legitimate seven footer. He was also a great leaper who slammed with two hands fluidly, so he would have been a perfect fit for the Suns' fast-break style. And then, if the break failed to materialize, Phoenix would get into a pick-and-roll and/or run Hornacek or Eddie Johnson off a down screen on the weak side (often featuring both plays at the same time, with K.J. running a pick-and-roll and Hornacek running off a down screen to keep the weak side defense occupied). Robinson would have fit right in with all those actions. He would not have been planting himself in the low post, repeatedly calling for the ball, demanding that everything orbit around him. (By the way, those comments are not intended as a criticism of Barkley per se—most superstar front-court players have operated that way. When the Knicks hired Don Nelson in 1995 to diversify New York's offense, Patrick Ewing resisted and Nelson failed to last one full season in New York.) Defensively, meanwhile, Robinson would have complemented K.J. as well and compensated for Chambers' defensive inconsistency, which sometimes rendered him a liability on that end of the court.

Finally, even though Robinson won a scoring title and once scored 71 points in a game, there were critics who felt that—especially in the playoffs—he was not aggressive enough or dominant enough, that he lacked the gritty "alpha" mentality needed to lead a team over the top. In fact, during Game Two of the 1996 Western Conference First Round between the Suns and Spurs on NBC, Greg Gumbel asked Bill Walton about Robinson's reputation as a "soft" player. Walton said something like, "He's not soft at all—look at those muscles." But then Walton noted that Robinson, at thirty, was just now learning to play with the passion of Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson, because the Admiral's size and exceptional athletic attributes had turned him into a basketball player, as opposed to athletic ambitions turning him into a basketball player.

Yet with K.J., Robinson's arguable diffidence would have been less of an issue, because he would have had a co-star with a feistier demeanor who could also score explosively if necessary. When Phoenix defeated the 63-win Lakers in the 1990 Western Conference Semifinals, not only did K.J. outplay Magic Johnson in the clutch, but he also diagnosed—ahead of time—that Jeff Hornacek was primed to enjoy a big series, and he challenged Hornacek to take advantage.



K.J. did the same with Mark West prior to the series, and West responded in kind. So whatever intangible weaknesses that Robinson may have possessed as a franchise player and a de facto team leader would not have been as much of an issue in Phoenix.

Overall, I feel that K.J. and Robinson would have complemented each other as smoothly and ideally as any guard-big man combination in NBA history. They would have complemented each other as well as Stockton and Malone, except that K.J. was a better scorer than Stockton and Robinson was a better defender than Malone. If the Suns had won the 1987 draft lottery, they likely would have won at least one championship—and they may well have become the Team of the Nineties.

I will end on the following note.

In the early-to-mid nineties, some media outlet asked Robinson how he would characterize his game musically—what would be the musical analogy to David Robinson's playing style? Robinson replied that he would liken his game to John Coltrane, the legendary tenor saxophonist with the robust, athletically powerful, "sheets of sound" style. Meanwhile, on February 25, 1998, on an off day in Salt Lake City prior the Suns' game against the Jazz the following night, a newspaper report stated that K.J. was in a bookstore purchasing a CD of Kind of Blue, the classic 1959 album by Miles Davis' band, which included Coltrane at the time. Davis was the passionate yet cerebral trumpeter equally capable of profound soloing and visionary musical leadership; Coltrane was his most virtuosic sideman and soloist, with the ability to harmoniously blend into Davis' visions. (Then, in the sixties, Coltrane broke off to form his own group.)

Miles Davis and John Coltrane constituted one of the greatest duos in the history of modern jazz. In basketball, Kevin Johnson and David Robinson could have been the equivalent.

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Suns History 

Post#17 » by bwgood77 » Tue Feb 14, 2017 3:13 am

I thought we had a thread about this at one time, but I couldn't find it, so I thought I'd start one. I will probably move some great write ups about our history that currently reside in various threads, here, for those who have interest.

I decided to start this up now because I just went to youtube and saw this new video recommended. Interestingly enough, I came across that Nobody Touches Jordan archive of write ups a while back while researching some KJ stuff.

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Re: Suns History 

Post#18 » by bwgood77 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:53 pm

If you'd like to see video of Nash's best assists from each year, go here...and give this guy an And1 for putting some nice Suns content out there... viewtopic.php?f=64&t=1138553&p=53679418#p53679418
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Re: Suns History - Last post - twenty years ago tonight 

Post#19 » by GMATCallahan » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:10 am

With all the controversy over resting stars these days (and I am not necessarily taking a position on the matter, as there are good arguments both ways), I might note that twenty years ago tonight, on March 28, 1997, when Phoenix hosted Golden State on a Friday night, the Suns' Kevin Johnson and the Warriors' Latrell Sprewell both played all 53 minutes of an overtime game; neither rested for a second of game time.

And that is not to say that the game was not taxing. Jason Kidd left the game in the third quarter with sore feet and did not return. The late John "Hot Rod" Williams left the game for several minutes in the first half with a bruised knee, but he returned to play 46 minutes overall, scoring 18 points on 7-9 FG and 4-5 FT with 10 rebounds, 6 blocked shots, 3 steals, and 0 turnovers. Rex Chapman was doubled over with stomach cramps at halftime and played on an ankle and foot that needed icing after the game, but he made his way through 49 minutes and scored 7 points in the final two minutes of overtime.

And guess who else played in the game? The Warriors' Melvin Booker, Devin's father! So did a rookie Steve Nash for the Suns (and he played in the fourth quarter, after Kidd went down).

http://www.databasebasketball.com/teams/boxscore.htm?yr=1996&b=19970328&tm=PHO

The win represented the Suns' fifth in a row as they eventually built an eleven-game winning streak, becoming the first—and only—team in NBA history to post double-digit losing and winning streaks in the same season as they surged to a playoff berth despite an injury-riddled 0-13 start.

Through the first five games of the winning streak, Kevin Johnson was now averaging 28.4 points, 11.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 0.6 blocked shots, a .500 field goal percentage in 17.6 attempts, a .538 three-point field goal percentage in 5.2 attempts, and a .930 free throw percentage in 8.6 attempts, posting a .664 True Shooting Percentage while averaging 44.8 minutes per contest.

Over his last six games concluding with the one twenty years ago tonight, K.J. was now averaging 29.8 points, 11.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 0.5 blocked shots, a .500 field goal percentage in 18.0 attempts, a .500 three-point field goal percentage in 4.7 attempts, and a .934 free throw percentage in 10.2 attempts, posting a .664 True Shooting Percentage while averaging 44.7 minutes per contest.

Over the the last nine games (concluding with the Golden State battle), in which the Suns were now 8-1, K.J. was now averaging 27.1 points, 10.2 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 steals, a .521 field goal percentage in 15.6 attempts, a .513 three-point field goal percentage in 4.3 attempts, and a .929 free throw percentage in 9.3 attempts, recording a .689 True Shooting Percentage while playing 43.0 minutes per contest.

He received the Player of the Week Award for the final week of March and was the runner up for the March Player of the Month Award, behind Karl Malone, who would eventually receive the MVP Award that year. K.J. would receive the Player of the Month Award for April (back when there was only one award per month and week), and his best month of the season was actually February.
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Re: Suns History 

Post#20 » by GMATCallahan » Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:56 am

Twenty years ago last night (April 25), Rex Chapman set a new NBA playoff record with 9 three-pointers in a game as the Suns stole the opener in Seattle.



... such a fluid shooter.

I remember watching the game and Chapman's climatic shots at the end; great memory.

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