BURNS AND GAMBO

Burns & Gambo draft its own Phoenix Suns Dream Team, Day 1

Jun 9, 2020, 6:36 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2020, 12:09 pm
Team Burns (Joey Artigue/Arizona Sports) Team Gambo (Joey Artigue/Arizona Sports) Team Kezele (Joey Artigue/Arizona Sports) Team Byrd (Joey Artigue/Arizona Sports)

They’ve tackled the Arizona Diamondbacks, and now Burns & Gambo will draft their dream teams for the Phoenix Suns.

On Arizona Sports throughout the week, the show’s hosts Dave Burns and John Gambadoro will draft their best 10-men squads, along with producer Jordan Byrd and defending champion/anchor Sarah Kezele.

At the end of the week, judges will determine who has the best team. We will recap that, along with each day of progress assembling the team.

Here are the results from the first four rounds on Tuesday.

All statistics via Basketball-Reference

Round 1

1. Charles Barkley, PF (Team Byrd)

Strategy came into play here for Byrd passing on Steve Nash, as there’s more high-end depth at point guard.

One of the two Suns players to ever win MVP, Barkley is second on the Suns’ all-time leaderboards for both points and rebounds per game.

Most importantly, Barkley was this level of player when it mattered the most. His 26.5 points and 13.4 rebounds per game over 48 playoff games are untouchable compared to anyone else with serious postseason reps in Phoenix.

2. Steve Nash, PG (Team Gambo)

There’s a case for Nash going No. 1 even with the point guards on the board because of how much better he made his teammates, and it’ll be interesting to see if Gambo picks based on that.

Nash’s credentials are absurd. Looking at the single-season records, he’s got six of the top-10 in assists per game and four of the top-10 in true shooting percentage.

The only two-time MVP isn’t a bad accompishment, either.

3. Amar’e Stoudemire, C (Team Burns)

Burnsy made this pick to lock up the best center in Suns history by a landslide, but you could argue Stoudemire deserves to be a first-round selection anyway.

Dipping into the analytics, Stoudemire has the two best win share and player efficiency rating (PER) seasons in franchise history. He also owns two top-seven points per game seasons and the best true shooting percentage in a Suns season ever.

On top of that, he’s got pull as a franchise staple too. Stoudemire is sixth all-time in points, third in rebounds and fifth in blocks.

4.  Shawn Marion, F (Team Kezele)

This will pay off for Sarah if she grabs the right players around Marion to maximize him.

The best swiss army knife and role player to ever come to the Valley, Marion’s career leaderboard rankings are as follows: second in minutes, rebounds and steals, third in blocks and fourth in points.

Marion owns the three best defensive win share seasons by a Sun and six in the top-10. He has a real case, and probably the best one, as the best defensive player to ever don the purple and orange.

Put him in the Ring of Honor please, and the guy drafted a spot before him too while they’re at it.

Round 2

5. Kevin Johnson, PG (Team Kezele)

Johnson being top-five all-time in total offensive and defensive win shares is a testament to his balanced game that held longevity in Phoenix. The only other player to do that by the way is Marion, who Sarah also has on her team.

Not even Nash would reach Johnson’s 12.2 assists per game in the 1988-89 season, and Johnson’s playoff averages of 19.3 points and 8.9 assists per game on a 55.7 TS% aren’t all that far off from Nash’s 18.2 points and 9.7 assists per game on a 60.0 TS%.

Nash is obviously the better player, but the fact that Johnson was even close to him speaks to how great he was.

6. Paul Westphal, SG/PG (Team Burns)

I personally thought Westphal was going to go under the radar and be great value in another round or two but Burnsy didn’t want to risk it and I don’t blame him.

As Dave said on the air, Westphal was First Team All-NBA three times with Phoenix, one of only three players in franchise history to do that.

He is all over the top-10 leaderboards in franchise totals and is one of eight Suns players to average at least 25 points per game.

7. Walter Davis, SG/SF (Team Gambo)

Gambo pairs Nash with arguably the best scorer the franchise has seen.

Davis has 15,666 career points in Phoenix, nearly 2,000 more than anyone else, a throne he has continued to hold for over 30 years now. And even on the second-highest usage percentage over an 11-year Phoenix career, Davis still shot a staggering 52% on 16.3 shots a night.

Yup, I think we can take the arguably out.

8. Dan Majerle, SG/SF (Team Byrd)

In the franchise leaderboards, Majerle appears in the top-10 on games (eighth), minutes played (seventh), rebounds (ninth), assists (10th), steals (fifth) and points (10th).

The three-time All-Star’s best season was probably 1992-93, when he averaged 16.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 46.4% from the field and 38.1% from deep.

Majerle is undoubtedly a franchise legend who was a well-rounded, very good player. His high points were also not nearly at the peak of the players we are discussing in this range.

Round 3

9. Jason Kidd, PG (Team Byrd)

Kidd joins Nash as the only Suns player to make First Team All-NBA three years in a row. His ascent into one of the best point guards of the last 25 years really kicked off in Phoenix, where his time gets forgotten too easily for the levels of play he reached.

It is Kidd and not Nash who ranks first all-time in career assists per game with the Suns at 9.7, and his 2.1 steals per game are second.

Kidd was a tremendous playmaker and defender, but you must frame the right team around a guy who in his Suns career shot a poor 41.9%, and it works for Byrd with Majerle’s shooting and Barkley as the primary offensive option.

10. Connie Hawkins, SF (Team Gambo)

The basketball legend averaged 20.5 points and 9.0 rebounds over his five seasons in Phoenix, and he was an All-Star in his first four.

Hawkins gives Gambo a presence on the boards and someone who can get to the free throw line. Hawkins made 577 free throws in the 1969-70 season, second all-time for a Suns player, and his points and rebounds that year also rank in the top-10 across all Suns seasons.

11. Tom Chambers, PF (Team Burns)

Chambers still has the most points in a Suns season ever, and in fact, has the top-two seasons in that regard for his back-to-back run from 1988-90. The 27.2 points per game he had in the 1989-90 season is still also the franchise record.

He was Second Team All-NBA in those two seasons, and while that was more of the Suns getting Chambers at the height and end of his prime before he regressed in the back-half of his Suns career, he was still one heck of a player regardless.

12. Devin Booker, SG (Team Kezele)

Booker was always going to be the most controversial pick. His career in Phoenix hopefully isn’t even at its halfway point yet, so his accolades aren’t going to compare well to anyone in this range. And he’s struggled immensely to win here thus far.

But in terms of his ability right now, Booker is right alongside the players in this range. Of the 56 seasons a Suns player has averaged at least 20 points per game, Booker’s 61.7 TS% this year on 26.1 points per game ranks fifth. That’s with 6.6 assists as well, higher than any season of Westphal or Davis’.

Booker is an efficient, versatile, high-level offensive player. He’s well on his way to taking Davis’ crown as the best scorer in franchise history.

Round 4

13. Alvan Adams, C (Team Kezele)

I remember scanning Suns programs as a kid and being enamored with how much Adams popped up on the record books.

In the first all-time mark we’ve reached that I am almost positive will never be broken, Double A is the Suns leader in games played by over 200 (!!!!!) at 988. That’s a little over 12 full NBA seasons. With that, Adams leads in rebounds and steals as well, placing second in points, third in assists and fourth in blocks too.

Adams never averaged 20 points or 10 rebounds a game, but you’re getting a solid 14.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.8 blocks per game over a great 13-year career.

14. Jeff Hornacek, SG (Team Burns)

Burnsy’s context here for picking the same position is that he felt Hornacek was by far the best player on the board. I can’t say I agree, even though he’s a good player to add to the roster.

In six seasons with the Suns, Hornacek’s averages were 13.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game. We’ve gotta mention the shooting too at 39.0% from deep.

He’s a fine supporting cast member, and on that basis, I don’t mind the pick. The Westphal/Hornacek backcourt will be fun.

15.  Grant Hill (Team Gambo)

In a first for the dream team draft, Gambo took Hill not knowing that Connie Hawkins was only eligible at small forward. The show elected to give him a re-draft but Gambo didn’t have a backup plan and stuck with Hill for the sake of time.

Hill’s a fine complementary piece to have on the team. He’s nowhere on these all-time leaderboards but was a very good defender and an all-around veteran wing in his four Suns seasons. That’s gonna be big off the bench.

16. Dick Van Arsdale, SG (Team Byrd)

The Original Sun, Van Arsdale’s all over the record books like Adams. He’s fifth all-time in points, eighth in assists and got to the line a ton, where he’s second in free throws made.

The three-time All-Star averaged 17.6 points per game in his Suns career and gives Byrd some scoring pop off the bench or even more in the starting lineup if he wants to go small with Majerle.

Penguin Air

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Burns & Gambo draft its own Phoenix Suns Dream Team, Day 1