The 5: Top starts in Phoenix Suns history
Are the 2019-20 Phoenix Suns for real?
After starting the season 5-2 and having a top-10 offense and defense thus far, it is easy to say they are. Devin Booker has looked more dominant than ever and the additions of Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes have added some grit and defensive prowess to the team.
Playing well to begin the season doesn’t always end in strong results, though.
But in the Suns’ case, historically good starts have almost always led to playoff berths.
Here are the top five starts to a season in Suns’ history:
1. 2004-05: 13-2
Steve Nash’s return to the Valley started triumphantly.
The Suns won their first four games by a combined 92 points, lost a couple of nailbiters and then won nine more.
The offense sparked early, as Phoenix scored over 100 points in 12 of its first 15 games.
The “Seven Seconds or Less” offense became a phenomenon and the Suns finished with the highest-scoring offense in the league.
They finished the season 62-20, tied for the greatest record in team history and the best in the NBA that year.
Nash won the MVP and forwards Amar’e Stoudemire and Shawn Marion joined him at the All-Star Game.
Phoenix’s dominance carried the Suns to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1992-93, but they lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
2. 1980-81: 11-1
Longtime head coach John MacLeod’s best season also started off red hot.
The Suns won three straight to begin the year, then lost to the Lakers before winning their next eight.
Four Suns scored at least 16 points per game through 12 contests: Walter Davis, Alvan Adams, Dennis Johnson and Truck Robinson.
Of the Suns’ first 11 wins, only three were by single digits. Phoenix finished the season 57-25, but lost its first playoff series to the Kansas City Kings in seven games.
3. 2009-10 8-1
This is the only Suns team to win its first four games since 1984.
Although Phoenix did not break its record for most wins to start a season (five), it went on a second four-game winning streak after losing game five.
The Suns were a force in the West with 54 wins and a conference final birth.
Phoenix led the NBA in scoring and offensive rating in 2009-10, but its run ended after the Lakers knocked them out in six games to reach the finals.
The Suns have not reached the postseason since.
4. 2000-01: 7-1
The Suns dropped their opening night game in heartbreaking fashion after Chris Mills of the Golden State Warriors sunk the go-ahead three with four seconds left.
But Phoenix bounced back by winning its next seven games, four of which were against eventual playoff teams.
The 2000-01 Suns were nothing like the revolution that took place with Nash and Mike D’Antoni a few seasons later.
They were a defensive-minded team that was sixth in the league in opposing scoring.
Under head coach Scott Skiles and led by point guard Jason Kidd, they won 51 games but failed to escape the first round as the Sacramento Kings took them down.
5. 1984-85: 5-0
The 1984-85 Suns probably don’t stick out to many Phoenix fans.
They won 36 games, the lowest amount by a playoff team in franchise history.
But they jumped out to a 5-0 record, the only team in franchise history to do so.
Through five games, center James Edwards and forward Larry Nance led the way averaging 21 and 20.2 points, respectively.
One of their wins came in triple overtime against the Portland Trailblazers, a game where Nance scored 44 points ande had 17 boards to carry the Suns to a win.
Their season ended unceremoniously, however, in a first-round sweep at the hands of the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.