although this Suns team clearly is statistically the best...

angelofthesouth

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...and it would surely have made a deep playoff run without Devin Booker's injury, I personally am not comfortable saying unqualified that it's the "best" Suns team and that it beats every other Suns team; and it is definitely not the Suns team I'm most emotionally attached to. There are a few reasons to feel skeptical of it, and it's not about the rebounding. Let me explain what, then.

I question this team's heart and overall effort: not in absolute terms, but in comparison with two other Suns teams I had the honor of watching: the 2010 team and the 2012-2013 team. The 2010 team came back from treading water or thereabouts in the first half of the regular season (if I recall) to absolutely destroying the Spurs and then almost defeating the Lakers (but for one mistake by Jason Richardson) in the WCF, and was widely admired for it by fans. And the 2013-2014 team: obviously not as good, but probably my favorite Suns team. It was one injury away from breaking into the playoffs when nobody expected it to and, frankly, when certain people probably didn't much want it to. (Figuring that out was the main reason I walked away.) But it seemed to be a team that didn't care about expectations; and because of that, I found 2013-14 inspiring. After all, the team most entertaining to watch is not an unbeatable behemoth like the 1995-96 Chicago Bullls; it's a come-from-behind team that was believed a loser.

And this 2012-22 team? It doesn't lose often; but when it loses or even almost loses, it tends to lose because the players blatantly got caught screwing around. It's been disturbing. I'm hardly the only person to notice that that was exactly what happened the other night: the players didn't play defense as hard as they're capable of. In the regular season, the near-loss against the Rockets really made me mad. There is no reason the best team in the league should almost lose to a team trying not to win, even with a player injured. (Uh...wasn't it Payne that time?) It's the same thing the Barkley-era Suns were notorious for, but that was easy to explain. It was all because teams take a cue from their leader, and every Suns fan knows that among superstar players who got near a championship, Charles Barkley was defiantly lazy. But it's much harder to explain for the 2021-22 team: due undoubtedly to Chris Paul's leadership, they're said to be focused and disciplined. Except when...they're not. There is an old quotation in Suns history, given by Finals-wrecker Danny Ainge after a loss in the 1993 WCF against the Supersonics, that can apply uncomfortably well to the 2021 team. "That was the first time I've felt we quit all year long. You saw what I saw. It just wasn't important enough to us.." More uncomfortable still when I realize: the Pelicans loss was not the first game when the 2021-22 Suns "just quit."
 

AzStevenCal

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Well there's a reason that fans just love those 82-0 teams.

Every team has off nights, every team has nights when the effort isn't where it needs to be and maybe we've had a few more of them than most great teams (not sure but maybe). Regardless, I've followed the Suns since the day the commissioner announced Phoenix was getting a team and I've never seen a team as strong mentally in the 4th quarter as this team has been. Am I disappointed in the occasional lapses, absolutely, but you won't find another team that doesn't have them.
 

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I'm not worried about THIS team at all, and while its nice to take a trip down memory lane that lane has lots of not so good memories.
This IS the best Suns team I've seen.
DA IS the best Center this team has ever had.
CP3 is proving every night that he is STILL The Point God.
Fine BOOK is out for a bit, the "fellas" are MORE than capable of holding down the fort.

This is the same team that Strutted into the bubble and WAXED everyone. If thats not a RUDY like story i dunno what is. Then they signed CP3 and Co.
The rest will be history maybe it will be as Champions maybe it wont.
But I'm a long time fan and my hat doesn't come off when they play poorly.

IMO maybe losing to the lowly Pells is the kick in the ass this team needed.
 
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Phrazbit

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I am not as confident in our depth as I was a month ago but I still am 100% convinced this is the best overall team we’ve ever had by far.

This is probably the best 1-7 team we’ve ever had, easily the best defensive team we’ve ever had, one of the best offensive teams we’ve ever had and one of the best coached teams with ever had.

I still believe in Mcgee and Johnson (I don’t doubt he will hit his stride again) but my faith in Payne, Craig, Shamet (although he was alright tonight) and Biz is not what it was in March.

I think Payne and Holiday should start splitting minutes in the first half and in the second go with whoever played better… or struggled less. Frustrating because while Paul was out Payne played extremely well.
 

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Frustrating because while Paul was out Payne played extremely well.

This is so true. I've never seen a player so up and down. When Paul is out, Payne really plays way above his station as a backup PG. When Paul is available, and playing well, Payne is a serviceable backup but not really anything to be excited about.

I'm happy we kept him, especially at the price he was re-signed, because he's a likable guy that you want to see do well but if he was paid what some of us predicted, and he probably would have received if he truly tested the market, I'd be pulling my hair out because of how he hasn't been worth the cost.

I think that's part of why Shamet has been blasted here throughout the season. He hasn't earned his extension. If he were playing as a soon to be restricted free agent then I think we'd be split on keeping him for more than the $6-7 million that Payne is currently making. No one would consider paying him the $12m annually he'll be getting.

I think it can subconsciously effect how we view players when you're more than a casual fan and keep up on the inner workings of how a team is built and kept together.
 

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I'm assuming you meant 2013-14 Suns? Cause 2012 was garbage...I stopped reading as soon as either one of those teams was mentioned...those teams couldn't match any Jason Kidd team let alone be mentioned with this team
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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I'm assuming you meant 2013-14 Suns? Cause 2012 was garbage...I stopped reading as soon as either one of those teams was mentioned...those teams couldn't match any Jason Kidd team let alone be mentioned with this team
Some people prefer the little engine that could stories…
 
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angelofthesouth

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I'm assuming you meant 2013-14 Suns? Cause 2012 was garbage...I stopped reading as soon as either one of those teams was mentioned...those teams couldn't match any Jason Kidd team let alone be mentioned with this team
Of course--2013-14. SOrry, I thought I fixed that.
 

Covert Rain

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I will say it again. Best Regular season team ever? Yes. Best Suns team ever? Not if they don't make it back to at least the WCF. The best Suns team EVER IMO should still win without Booker this round, then when he returns, take us back to at least the WCF. I think we will. Likely not a popular opinion but I am sticking to it.
 
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angelofthesouth

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Some people prefer the little engine that could stories…
Absolutely; and I pretty much said I do, by saying a come-from-behind team like the 2010 team is more inspiring than a team expected to win, like the current Suns team. To make it even clearer: I have read the old Suns book The Little Team that Could (about the Sunderella team of 1976), and enjoyed it so much that I once wrote a post about it on another site.

If the team makes that kind of effort--displays that much heart--when it has less talent than a team such as the 2011-22 Suns, I'll forgive it for not winning. That's exactly what happened in 2013-14. I was inspired by that team; and the fact that Robert Sarver wrecked it a year later for no good reason (in 2015, that is) is a large part of why I walked away from fanhood--I resented it.
 
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angelofthesouth

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I will say it again. Best Regular season team ever? Yes. Best Suns team ever? Not if they don't make it back to at least the WCF. The best Suns team EVER IMO should still win without Booker this round, then when he returns, take us back to at least the WCF. I think we will. Likely not a popular opinion but I am sticking to it.

Your demand that this Suns team prove itself, and your avoidance of reflexively calling it the best overall Suns team ever, makes you seem open-minded about considering the possibility that a few other Suns teams with less talent could possibly match up with it. For instance, perhaps the 2010 team could, considering that it destroyed the Spurs and almost took Kobe Bryant and Paul Gasol to seven games.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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Absolutely; and I pretty much said I do, by saying a come-from-behind team like the 2010 team is more inspiring than a team expected to win, like the current Suns team. To make it even clearer: I have read the old Suns book The Little Team that Could (about the Sunderella team of 1976), and enjoyed it so much that I once wrote a post about it on another site.

If the team makes that kind of effort--displays that much heart--when it has less talent than a team such as the 2011-22 Suns, I'll forgive it for not winning. That's exactly what happened in 2013-14. I was inspired by that team; and the fact that Robert Sarver wrecked it a year later for no good reason (in 2015, that is) is a large part of why I walked away from fanhood--I resented it.
See I think you’re missing the narrative with this team. It may not be the “little engine that did better” (because let’s be clear, none of those teams you mention were the little engine that could because they didn’t win it all, they just exceeded expectations), but rather it’s the “team of misfit toys.”

Think of it this way: this team, in many ways, shows a sum that’s greater than its parts . . .

Booker was the “star” that was dismissed as empty stats his whole career
Paul was the used up star that was being offloaded to get rid of salary
Bridges was a role player
Cam Johnson was derided as being way overdrafted
Cam Payne had been left for dead
Javale was the punchline for shaqtin’ a fool
Ayton is an exception . . . to a point. He was the #1 pick, but was considered an afterthought behind luka and young

No one expected them to make the finals last year. And despite being a regular season juggernaut they weren’t the darling of the league until like the last two-three weeks of the season.

This is a special story team.
 

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Those other 62 win Suns teams were not as good in the Center positions. Arguably our bigs are better when you factor in the threes ours bigs hit (at least during the regular season, LOL). Also, starting PG and SG are arguably one of our best tandems in franchise history.
 

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I don't usually enter the best team arguments as it means little to me. I will say this is the best 4th quarter team we've ever had, the best defensive team we've ever had and the most balanced team we've ever had.

It's not the most entertaining, the most exciting, the most dominant night in and night out nor is it the most dynamic offensive squad. But best ever? The proof is in the record.

And if we get knocked out early in the playoffs, it won't change our regular season although it will surely change the way some fans think of our regular season. It's disappointing that we are playing well below our mid-season form but regardless, I'd gladly put this team two months ago up against any team we've ever had.
 

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The way I look at right now, I hoping the Suns can tread water long enough until Devin Booker returns.

There is nothing wrong with this version of the Suns other than they peaked too early. When they get Booker back, I think they will take off again. They are actually a better team than last season if everyone plays up to their potential. Unfortunately that may not be good enough to get them back to the Finals.
 

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The way I look at right now, I hoping the Suns can tread water long enough until Devin Booker returns.

There is nothing wrong with this version of the Suns other than they peaked too early. When they get Booker back, I think they will take off again. They are actually a better team than last season if everyone plays up to their potential. Unfortunately that may not be good enough to get them back to the Finals.
I agree that they are a better team than last season but as I've said several times, IMO the entire league is quite a bit better than last season. If we can get Payne and Booker fully back while we're still in the playoffs, I like our chances to face Boston in the finals. But we need Payne at the top of his game almost as much as we need Booker.
 

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I agree that they are a better team than last season but as I've said several times, IMO the entire league is quite a bit better than last season. If we can get Payne and Booker fully back while we're still in the playoffs, I like our chances to face Boston in the finals. But we need Payne at the top of his game almost as much as we need Booker.

Of course any chance the Suns have of getting out of the West depends on Devin Booker returning healthy.

The Suns have more options if Payne doesn't return to form with Holiday and possibly using Shamet at point guard. Actually I think Payne needs some competition to settle him down. I wish Monty would play Holiday with him or give Holiday some backup minutes at point guard.
 

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92-93 Would probably win a best of 7 against this team. This team is heavier on the top , but 93 was much deeper We had bonafide starters coming off of the bench in Chambers, Dumas and Miller.

Ayton >> West
Crowder <<< Barkley
Bridges < Ceballos
Booker > Majerle
Paul > KJ

McGee = Miller
Johnson < Chambers
Craig << Dumas (no coke)
Shamet < Ainge
Payne/Holliday = Knight/F. Johnson
 

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2004-2005 tale of the tape. Would probably give the current team the edge because D’Antoni only played 8 guys

Ayton < Stat
Crowder << Matrix
Bridges < Joe Johnson
Booker >>> Q Rich
Paul = Nash

McGee > Hunter
Johnson > Outlaw
Craig << Jim Jackson
Shamet = Jacobsen
Payne/Holliday < Barbosa
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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92-93 Would probably win a best of 7 against this team. This team is heavier on the top , but 93 was much deeper We had bonafide starters coming off of the bench in Chambers, Dumas and Miller.

Ayton >> West
Crowder <<< Barkley
Bridges < Ceballos
Booker > Majerle
Paul > KJ

McGee = Miller
Johnson < Chambers
Craig << Dumas (no coke)
Shamet < Ainge
Payne/Holliday = Knight/F. Johnson
Don’t know that I’d consider chambers a real starter quality guy at that point. That said, here’s my breakdown:

Ayton >>> West
Crowder <<<<< Barkley
Bridges > Ceballos
Booker >> Majerle
Paul > KJ

McGee = Miller
Johnson > Chambers
Craig << Dumas (no coke)
Shamet << Ainge
Payne/Holliday = Knight/F. Johnson

Overall really close with ‘92-93 netting a single > advantage. Was surprised at that outcome.

Guessing how it would play out is kinda interesting too. Barkley would thrash crowder, but I could see crowder getting Barkley thrown out of a game.

Bridges would guard KJ. That would be an interesting battle as KJ was quicker than most of the pgs bridges today, but the wing guarding a pg wasn’t a thing back then, so who knows how kj would’ve handled it.

Park Paul on majerle as thunder was just shooting ridiculous bombs at this stage and wouldn’t have posted him much.

Book would’ve been fine on ced.

Ayton would’ve had an easy night defending west.

The bench matchups would’ve been interesting. I think cam Johnson on dumas would’ve been a fun battle. I think Craig would pick chambers and block his shot over and over again. Mcgee and Miller would be interesting battle with skinny length against tubby long arms. I think ultimately Ainge would’ve been the difference maker on the benches.

Definitely 7 game series. With close games I think.
 

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I think this Suns team could beat the 92-93 Bulls but would have it's hands full against the 92-93 Suns. I'd give this years squad the edge because ultimately if they could beat the team that knocked that squad out then they'd be more successful.

What's odd is I also think the 92-93 Suns would beat the Bucks from last year. It's matter of matchups.
 

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I agree that they are a better team than last season but as I've said several times, IMO the entire league is quite a bit better than last season. If we can get Payne and Booker fully back while we're still in the playoffs, I like our chances to face Boston in the finals. But we need Payne at the top of his game almost as much as we need Booker.
I would love a Boston Finals rematch. This time with different results. Havlicek ain't coming out of that tunnel. My love for the Suns began in that era.
 

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I would love a Boston Finals rematch. This time with different results. Havlicek ain't coming out of that tunnel. My love for the Suns began in that era.

Facing Boston in the Finals is my fantasy but it's going to be tough getting out of the West. I'd rather face them than the Bucks.
 

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