Suns Ring of Honor: Jerry Colangelo, Dan Majerle loving Suns playoff run
The buzz around the city of Phoenix is still booming as the team is fresh off of defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs and continues to grow as the Suns prepare for their second round matchup vs. the Denver Nuggets.
Former Suns owner and executive, Jerry Colangelo stopped by 98.7 FM’s Bickley & Marotta on Friday to talk about the Suns’ playoff success and the turnaround the team has made this season.
“It’s difficult to even talk about it without being a little emotional about it,” Colangelo told 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “Obviously, there’s great pride in giving birth to a franchise and then watching it succeed.”
Colangelo went on to say that beating the Lakers in the playoffs “has always been special”, as Los Angeles has been the Suns biggest competition throughout the years, according to the Suns’ former owner.
Former Suns guard Dan Majerle, who was apart of several Suns teams to take down the Lakers in the postseason, took some time to reflect on the Suns’ big playoff series victory with 98.7 FM’s Bickley & Marotta on Friday.
“It’s always nice to beat LA especially when they have a great player in LeBron and coming off a championship last year,” Majerle said. “It probably gives you a little bit more confidence but I think this team has a ton of confidence where they played all year. And with the makeup they have and the chemistry they have, so it’s exciting.”
Suns head coach Monty Williams has done a great job so far in the playoffs preparing Phoenix for each game as well as his in-game coaching adjustments.
Colangelo and Williams have a relationship that dates back to their days with Team USA. Williams spent some time on Colangelo’s USA basketball staff as assistant coach from 2013 to 2016.
“(Williams) has great character, great moral capacity. He’s a caring person. He’s a competitor,” Colangelo told Arizona Sports. “He knows his business. He’s a communicator. And so the way I’ve always described him and I said this to Robert Sarver before he met with Monty. I said ‘he checks all the boxes, he really does. And if I were in your role, I would sign him in a minute.'”
Along with having a great coach on the sideline, the Suns’ role players have stepped up for Phoenix this season.
Veteran forward Jae Crowder has knocked down some crucial shot from deep against the Lakers in the first round and didn’t back down from the challenge when guarding Lakers’ star LeBron James.
“You have guys who just play their roles and that’s Crowder’s role,” Majerle said. “He’s gonna be a physical guy, a guy who has been in the playoffs and has been there. It was great to see him hit threes and that’s what he’s going to have to do.
“That’s why the Suns has been so successful this year is that they have those role players, along with guys who are Hall of Famers and great superstars like Chris (Paul) and Devin (Booker), who know exactly what they have to do to help this team win.”
Suns point guard Chris Paul brings 13 years of playoff experience to this young Suns team and continues to provide veteran leadership to Phoenix both on and off the court.
“Enjoy the moment with Chris Paul, he’s that special,” Colangelo told Bickley & Marotta. “I think he’s had a big, big influence on what’s happened with this team and (Booker). I think there’s a confidence that he exudes that you can see translated to the other players.”
The former Suns owner had a chance to work with Paul as the Suns point guard was apart of the 2008 and 2012 gold medal Olympic squads for Team USA.
Paul and the Suns will look to carry their momentum into the next round against the Denver Nuggets.
Game 1 of the second round vs. Denver will be on Monday at 7 p.m.