Phoenix Suns Franchise Five

Every summer, there is a lull in basketball news between free agency and the beginning of training camps throughout the league. In the dog days of the NBA summer, LWOS is bringing you the best five players to play for every NBA franchise in our Franchise Five series. The #LWOSFranchiseFive gives props to the best to ever lace up for each NBA team. Agree or disagree? Let us know at @LastWordHoops with the hash tag #LWOSFranchiseFive.

Pacific Division: Phoenix Suns Franchise Five

The Phoenix Suns have been in a rebuilding mode the last few seasons, despite a surprisingly successful 2013-14 campaign that saw them win 48 games. Despite never winning an NBA championship, the Suns have been on of the most successful teams in the NBA’s history in terms of winning percentage, and have featured some of the best players in NBA history. Here are the best five:

Alvan Adams: Adams played his entire 13 year career in Phoenix and was an NBA all-star his rookie season when he led the Suns to the NBA Finals. Adams finished his career with modest numbers, but was a fixture on the Suns throughout the late 70’s and 80’s. Voted to the Suns’ All-Century team as its Center, Adams also had his number 33 retired by the franchise. He still remains the team’s all-time leader in games, minutes, rebounds, and steals.

Walter Davis: Davis played 11 seasons in Phoenix and made six all-star teams and two All-NBA teams during his time in the desert. Davis was a prolific scoring guard, averaging over 20 points per game during his decade-plus in Phoenix. Davis joined the Suns after their NBA Finals appearance in 1976, but helped lead the team to the playoffs seven times in eleven seasons. Davis had his number 6 retired by the franchise and was selected to the second team of the Suns’ All-Century team.

Kevin Johnson: Kevin Johnson may be considered by many the greatest Sun in franchise history due to the length of his tenure and his on-court performance. Johnson played point guard for the suns for parts of 12 seasons and was a three time all-star and four time All-NBA teamer who, in his prime, had seasons of 20-plus points and 10-plus assists per game. His averages as a Sun are an impressive 18.7 points and 9.5 assists per game. He became only the third player after Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas to average over 20 points and 12 assists per game. Johnson led the Suns to the playoffs eleven times and helped them reach their second NBA Finals in 1993. Johnson’s career will be remembered as one of the best in Phoenix Suns history.

Charles Barkley: Barkley may not have played for the Suns for a long period of time, but he is certainly the best player to have ever played for the franchise. Barkley came to the Suns in a trade before the 1992-93 season and Barkley instantly had success after developing into a perennial all-star in Philadelphia. In his first season in Phoenix, Barkley won the NBA MVP Award and led the Suns to the best record in the NBA and a trip to the Finals that postseason. Barkley was an all-star all four years he played in Phoenix, and made the All-NBA in all four seasons as well. The trade for Barkley revived the Suns and gave them their best chance at a championship until more than a decade later. He may not have been a Sun long, but his time their solidified him as one of the greatest ever.

Steve Nash: Nash, a two-time NBA MVP played ten seasons in Phoenix over two separate stints with the organization. After being traded by the Suns after his rookie and sophomore campaigns in Phoenix, Nash returned to Phoenix in 2004-05 and joined a loaded Suns team, which he piloted to the NBA’s best record and the MVP award that season. He followed up his MVP performance with another MVP award the following season. Although the merit of his MVP awards can be debated, Nash was one of the best players in the league and ran the NBA’s most exciting offense. The Suns were unable to reach the NBA Finals after some tough playoff exits with Nash at the helm, but his tenure left him as arguably the most successful individual in Suns history, with six all-star appearances and five assist titles in eight seasons during his second tenure with the team. Nash may ultimately be remembered for not being able to bring Phoenix a championship, but his run with the Suns was one of the most successful and entertaining runs in NBA history.

Honorable mention goes out to Dan Majerle, Jason Kidd, Tom Chambers, Connie Hawkins, and Amare Stoudemire.

 

Main Photo via getty images