1980–81 Phoenix Suns season

The 1980–81 Phoenix Suns season was the 13th season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association. At 57–25, the team had finished with its best regular season record. For the Suns, they had appeared in their first Finals five years ago but never could claim a divisional title as their own. Atop the Western Conference standings for the first time, the Suns had earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The offense was highlighted by balanced attack, with four starters averaging 15 points or more a game, but none greater than 19. This, despite a trade that meant the departure of four-time All-NBA Paul Westphal, who was swapped for fourth-year All-Star guard Dennis Johnson. In the conference semifinals, the Suns would meet the Kansas City Kings, a team they had defeated in the first round one season ago but found more difficult to handle this season. After a 22-point win in game one, the Suns would go on to lose game seven and the series. The Suns were led by head coach John MacLeod and played all home games in Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Johnson was a tough defender and later earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors. He was also named to the All-NBA First Team. In the All-Star Game, Johnson was joined by teammates Walter Davis and Truck Robinson. It was the first time the Suns sent three players to the All-Star Game.

Johnson and Robinson shared top scoring marks for the Suns with an average of 18.8 points a game, while Robinson also led the team in rebounds per game at 9.6. Davis averaged 18.0 points per game and Alvan Adams chipped in 14.9 for the second consecutive season. Adams, a 6'9" center/forward led the team in assists at 4.6 a game.


NBA Draft

This was the first year in franchise history that none of the team's draft picks played for the franchise. Not only did no selection play for the Suns, none ever played a game in the NBA.


Phoenix Suns roster
Pos.#Nat.NameHeightWeightDOB (Y-M-D)From
C33United StatesAdams, Alvan6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)210 lb (95 kg)1954-07-19Oklahoma
F/C45United StatesCook, Jeff6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)215 lb (98 kg)1956-10-21Idaho State
G/F6United StatesDavis, Walter6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)193 lb (88 kg)1954-09-09North Carolina
G22United StatesHigh, Johnny6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)185 lb (84 kg)1957-04-25Nevada
G24United StatesJohnson, Dennis6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)185 lb (84 kg)1954-09-18Pepperdine
C53United StatesKelley, Rich7 ft 0 in (2.13 m)235 lb (107 kg)1953-03-23Stanford
F50United StatesKramer, Joel6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)203 lb (92 kg)1955-11-30San Diego State
G4United StatesMacy, Kyle6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)175 lb (79 kg)1957-04-09Kentucky
F40United StatesNiles, Mike6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)225 lb (102 kg)1955-03-31Cal State Fullerton
F21United StatesRobinson, Leonard6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)225 lb (102 kg)1951-10-04Tennessee State
F14United StatesScott, Alvin6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)185 lb (84 kg)1955-09-14Oral Roberts
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Regular season


Record vs. opponents


Game log

1981 playoff game log
1981 schedule

Awards and honors


  • Walter Davis was voted as a starter for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his fourth consecutive All-Star selection. Davis finished second in voting among Western Conference forwards with 172,479 votes.
  • Dennis Johnson was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his third consecutive All-Star selection. Johnson finished fifth in voting among Western Conference guards with 123,287 votes.
  • Truck Robinson was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his second All-Star selection.
  • John MacLeod coached the Western Conference All-Star team in a 120–123 loss to the East.


Player statistics

  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG% Field-goal percentage 3P% 3-point field-goal percentage FT% Free-throw percentage
 RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game
 BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game



† – Minimum 20 field goals made.
^ – Minimum 10 free throws made.



June 3, 1980
To Seattle SuperSonics----To Phoenix Suns----
June 9, 1980
To Dallas Mavericks----To Phoenix Suns----
November 25, 1980
To Indiana Pacers----To Phoenix Suns----
February 3, 1981
To San Diego Clippers----

(Sent picks to Phoenix as compensation for free agent Garfield Heard)

To Phoenix Suns----

Free agents



Uses material from the Wikipedia article 1980–81 Phoenix Suns season, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.