The Suns blew the NBA Finals. Let’s just get that out of the way right now.
From a 2-0 series lead, leading Game 4 until the final 90 seconds, having the ball with a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds of Game 5 to not setting the tone early in Game 6, the Suns will have many Finals regrets.
That doesn’t change the fact that the Suns season was an overwhelming success.
The single most significant accomplishment for the Suns this season wasn’t coming within 49:30 minutes of an NBA championship or the world finally realizing Devin Booker’s skills or the Suns developing a core of young players who all now have career changing Finals experience.
The single biggest achievement of this group of overachievers is that they restored pride in the Suns franchise.
Players are proud to wear a Suns uniform. Suns employees are proud to work for the team. Suns fans are proud to be Suns fans.
This is no small feat. There were many times within the last 10 years where it felt like pride would never be restored. Not anymore.
The job isn’t completely finished. It matters how the Suns bounce back next season.
It won’t be easy to defend their Western Conference title but the west isn’t as daunting as some may have you believe. The Lakers will still face questions of depth around their two big stars, the Clippers may not have Kawhi all season, Denver won’t get Jamal Murray back until late in the season at best, the Jazz have already peaked and a healthy Warriors team will be formidable but they won’t be the 2016 or even the 2014 Warriors ever again.
The Suns have their own questions, which we’ll tackle soon but they also have some answers for the first time in a long time.
James Jones, Monty Williams, Chris Paul and Devin Booker have flipped this franchise. What they’ve accomplished doesn’t get wiped out because the Greek Freak became the Greek god. They have restored pride, credibility and desirability to the Suns.
That might not feel like much after losing in the NBA Finals but I promise it’s still the biggest win the Suns have had in years.