Phoenix Suns: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
The Phoenix Suns joined the NBA for the 1968-69 season, becoming the first major professional sports team in the state of Arizona. The Suns started out with a flourish selecting two eventual-Hall of Famers in their expansion draft, Dick Van Arsdale and Gail Goodrich, who would both make the All-star game in their first seasons as Suns. However, team success was lacking with a 16-66 record in their debut season.
The Phoenix Suns odds could have changed forever if they could have selected Lew Alcindor with the first overall pick of the 1970 draft, but the Suns lost a coin-flip to fellow expansion team Milwaukee for the pick, and picking second, settled for Neal Walk. The Suns managed to make the playoffs in their second season, despite a 39-43 record, and while few people bet on the Phoenix Suns to upset the Lakers, the Suns forced a Game 7 before finally falling short.
While it appeared that the Phoenix Suns odds were headed in the right direction, they managed to miss the postseason the following five seasons, including seasons where they won 48 and 49 games, but were not in the top four in the Western Conference standings.
Things turned around quickly in the 1975-76 season, as the 42-40 Suns made an incredible Cinderella run in the playoffs, becoming known as the Sunderella Suns. Led by Paul Westphal and Rookie of the Year Alvan Adams, the team stunned Setalle and Golden State to make their first ever NBA Finals, where they would face the Boston Celtics.
Many fans would bet on the Phoenix Suns to win it all when they took a 22 point lead in Game 5 with the series tied at two games each, but the Celtics stormed back and eventually won in triple overtime in what is still considered arguably the greatest game in NBA history. Boston would finish off the Suns in six games, but the Phoenix Suns odds for future title runs looked great at the time.
The Suns would follow that up with a disappointing 1976-77 season, finishing 34-48, but that would be the last time the Suns would miss a postseason for nearly a decade.
The 1977-78 Suns would make the playoffs behind Rookie of the Year Walter Davis before being swept by the Bucks. The next year the Suns would make another unexpected playoff run, as the team stunned the Blazers and Kings, before falling one game short of the NBA Finals when they lost Game 7 of the Western conference finals to Seattle. After a series of postseason disappointments, the Suns would return to the conference finals in 1983-84, following up a mediocre regular season (41-41) with upsets over Portland and Utah, but a bet on the Pheonix Suns to make the NBA Finals would not pay off, as they fell to Magic Johnson’s Lakers in six games.
The Phoenix Suns odds were still long and they did indeed get swept by the Lakers in the first round in 1984-85, before missing three straight postseasons, but in 1988 the team traded for Kevin Johnson and drafted Dan Majerle, and signed Tom Chambers as the first unrestricted free agent in history, and managed to make back-to-back conference finals, losing to the Lakers in 1989 and the Blazers in 1990.
After being knocked out by Portland in the 1992 playoffs, the Suns realized they needed a star to make it to the next level and the team traded for 76ers superstar Charles Barkley before the 1992-93 season. After winning 62 games in the regular season behind Barkley’s MVP season,, Sir Charles led the team past the Lakers in the first round, David Robinson’s Spurs in the second round, and then knocked off the Sonics in seven games. Not many fans bet on the Phoenix Suns to prevent the Chicago Bulls from three-peating, but Barkley and the Suns put up a tough fight before Chicago prevailed in six games.
With Michael Jordan retired, contending teams across the league knew it was their chance to grab a title, but the Suns fell to the Rockets in seven games in both 1994 and 1995.
This would set off a string of four straight first round losses for Phoenix, Barkley would leave for Houston after the 1996 season, and the Phoenix Suns odds of winning their first ever title seemed to be long, as the championship window had apparently closed.
Things would start changing when the team drafted Amar’e Stoudemire out of high school in 2002, hired Mike D’Antoni, and his “seven seconds or less” style, as head coach in 2003, and signed Steve Nash, who had played for the Suns early in his career, in free agency. That group, along with developing star forward Shawn Marion won 62 games in the 2004-05 season, with D’Antoni winning Coach of the Year and Nash winning league MVP. The team raced past Memhis and Dallas in the playoffs before falling in five games to Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
Many experts bet on the Phoenix Suns to finally win their first title in 2006, and the team looked well on its way, as Steve Nash won his second straight MVP award and the team outlasted both L.A. teams, the Lakers and Clippers, in seven games. However, for the sixth time in team history, the Suns would fall in the Western finals, this time losing to Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks in six games.
The group lead by Nash would have one more crack at making an NBA Finals, as the 2009-10 Suns went 54-28, then raced past the Blazers and Spurs, only to run into Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol’s Lakers. The Suns and Lakers were even after four games, but the Lakers’ Ron Artest hit a buzzer-beater to win Game 5 and the Lakers prevailed in six.
Anyone who bet on the Phoenix Suns to make it back to the conference finals in the near future after their 2010 close call would be disappointed, as the team would fail to make the postseason every season from 2011 through 2020, a full decade of futility. However, their bright young core of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton did go 8-0 in the Orlando bubble despite missing the playoffs, and after adding veteran Chris Paul, the team broke through in 2021, earning the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and reaching the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993, winning Games 1 and 2 over Milwaukee before losing the next four to the Bucks and dropping the series in six games.
5: Dick Van Arsdale
6: Walter Davis
7: Kevin Johnson
33: Alvan Adams
42: Connie Hawkins
44: Paul Westphal