What a painful four months that was, wasn’t it?
The Phoenix Suns arrived at Media Day 2022 with a surprisingly long list of interesting storylines, considering we haven’t seen or heard from the guys in over four months.
Summertime in Phoenix hasn’t been all sunny for Suns fans. In addition to the banning of their owner, the Phoenix Suns capped off a franchise record-breaking regular season in abysmal fashion. The Dallas Mavericks completed a historic Game 7 beatdown of the Suns, handing them a 123-90 loss under their own roof.
Just about every fan who tuned into that series was astounded, and the same goes for the sports media world. Media day marked the first time in which Suns players were able to explain the unexplained 33-point second round loss.
Gifted with the greatest stage in basketball, the Suns bestowed upon the city the largest loss in the history of Game 7’s. As the captain of the team, Head Coach Monty Williams took the blame.
“I just didn’t have our guys ready to play,” Williams said. “That falls on me. I will never go back on that.”
Nevertheless, although Williams feels as if the preparation of his team falls on him, General Manager James Jones cites that it was a collective effort. Jones noticed that the team “fell behind early,” because of the team’s inability to “make shots.”
The nature of a best-of-seven series requires that the series be tied 3-3 going into Game 7. Because of this decisive nature, game sevens are unpredictable. This adds a level of drama to the sport, knowing that everything rides on this one game.
“It’s part of the sport,” Torrey Craig noted. “You can’t predict things that happen.”
In a sport that relies on makes and misses, it’s impossible to predict shooting performances. According to NBA.com, the Suns shot 37.9 percent from the field in Game 7, just a few ticks under what would be their season low for a game.
“It’s just part of life,” Mikal Bridges said. “There’s stuff we can use for next year.”
Devin Booker mentions that “the NBA doesn’t remember what you did last year.” However, Booker knows that obtaining a Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy will get you remembered.
“We fell short of our goal,” Booker stated. “Once you have a finals experience that’s all you want.”
Booker did take the Game 7 loss on the chin, stating that all he can do now is “move forward.”
“I take everything that comes with this. I think that’s what makes this a beautiful sport. It sort of makes it my story,” Booker said. “I’m going to be on the grind throughout my whole career, throughout my whole life, so it’s just the start for me.”
Along with Booker, Cameron Johnson understands that this humiliating loss will be talked upon for years to come. When asked about the impact of the Game 7 loss, Johnson says that he thinks about it “everyday.”
“All the time. Everyday,” Johnson said. “And in a way I kind of wanted to. I’ve learned to embrace it as a part of the process.”
Championship-calibers teams aren’t made in one night. Finding ways to overcome the times of hardships truly separate good teams from championship teams. Despite the fact the season ended in utter shock, the 2021-22 season wasn’t a disappointment.
“It might of been disappointing, but it wasn’t a disappointment,” James Jones said.
Still, Jones and Williams know there’s work to do, beginning with their preseason opener against the Adelaide 36ers Sunday night. This marks the redemption tour part two.