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Richardson: Seven Seconds or Less Suns ‘would’ve won’ if not broken up

(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

The 2004-05 Phoenix Suns are one of the most memorable teams in Valley sports history with its fast pace offense and iconic Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire pick and roll.

However, they came up just short of glory.

Mike D’Antoni’s Suns will never be forgotten though. They have arguably shaped what has become today’s NBA.

“I’ve heard that,” former Suns swingman Quentin Richardson said. “I’ve heard that our Phoenix team inspired what we see in the Golden State Warriors and what a lot teams are trying to do in today’s NBA.”

The team nicknamed by many as the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns finished the season with the NBA’s best record at 62-20, but lost to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

In an era that utilized big men with the likes of Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett and Yao Ming, one could argue that those Phoenix Suns were ahead of their time and comparable to today’s Golden State Warriors.

Much like the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors that finished with an NBA record 73-9 regular season record, the Suns lead the league per game in points (110.4), field-goals made (40.9), three-point attempts (24.7), three-pointers made (9.7), three-point percentage (39.3) and defensive rebounds (32.3).

The Warriors lead the league per game in points (114.9), field-goals made (42.5), three-point attempts (31.6), three-pointers made (13.1), three-point percentage (41.6) and defensive rebounds (36.2).

“You have outside guys playing the four now,” Richardson said. “The way I rebounded, I definitely feel like I could have fit into this NBA shooting the ball, being able to play inside, out and multiple positions as well.”

Both teams’ coaches won Coach of the Year in Steve Kerr and D’Antoni and had eventual back-to-back MVP’s with their point guards in Stephen Curry and Nash.

Ironically, despite having the best record in the NBA those seasons, both teams were unable to bring home the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy.

Curry and Nash are exclusive members of the seven-man 50-40-90 club (50 percent field goal percentage, 45 percent three-point percentage and 91 percent free throw percentage) in a single regular season, a feat Nash achieved four times in his career.

Nash also led the league in assists per game that year with 11.5 compared to Curry’s 6.7.

Both teams had three all-stars each.

The Suns had Nash, Stoudemire and Shawn Marion, while the Warriors had Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

Both teams’ three all-stars were also All-NBA team members, as Nash, Stoudemire and Marion were named to the first-team, second-team and third-team, respectively.

Golden State Warriors Curry, Thompson and Green were named to the first-team, second-team and third-team, respectively.

Both teams also had the Three-Point Shootout winner and the regular season three-point field goals made leader in Curry (402) and Richardson (226).

Unfortunately for Suns fans, it will never be known if a title could have been brought to Phoenix should the team have stayed together, as both Joe Johnson and Richardson were traded the following offseason.

Richardson said he had a conversation with D’Antoni in which the former Suns coach said, “There was a lot of pressure at that time saying that you can’t play this way and that way, so they made the trade to get Kurt Thomas as a big man and it was never the same after that.”

“If we would have had two, three runs at it like a lot of great teams have with our first team before it got broken up, I think we would’ve won one,” Richardson said. “We all do. We all feel that way.”

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