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Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver on 51-win season: ‘I finally got it right!’

Owner Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns attends the NBA game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Phoenix Suns Arena on February 08, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has a complicated history with the franchise’s fanbase, and he was the first one to joke about his past faults in the position.

“I finally got it right!” Sarver told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Monday. “We did a rebuild and, jeez, I wish we could have saved about four years there.”

The Suns finished the 2020-21 regular season with a 51-21 record. The second-best mark in the NBA gave Phoenix its first playoff berth in over a decade and the fifth-highest winning percentage in franchise history.

“I’m excited [about] what we’ve accomplished,” Sarver said. “My hats off to (head coach) Monty (Williams) and (general manager) James (Jones) and our players.”

The biggest moment in the rise of the Suns this year was acquiring All-NBA point guard Chris Paul, who was an All-Star this season and is very likely going to be All-NBA for the second straight season.

Sarver went back to the days of the deal being discussed before the Suns traded with the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul. Like many during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sarver was working from home with his kids.

“They all just looked at me and said, ‘Dad, that’s just a slam dunk. You get a chance to get an All-Star here like that just got to do it,'” Sarver said.

The owner of the franchise since April 2004, Sarver has had his ups and downs.

He was asked what he’s learned the most now with over 15 years at the helm.

“I think you learn from experience,” Sarver said. “There’s no substitute for experience in any business you’re in … You learn, so it just boils down to better decision-making.”

As for one specific lesson, Sarver said that a young team doesn’t necessarily have to have a young coach, a common practice across many sports. The Suns hired Williams two offseasons ago and have had large amounts of success with him in charge.

“Sometimes I’ve gotten them right and sometimes I’ve gotten them wrong,” Sarver said of hiring GMs and coaches. “As I said, I’m blessed to have James and Monty. The three of us work together really well and they work together well and they’re just both very good at what they do.”


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