1992–93 Phoenix Suns season
The 1992–93 NBA season was the 25th season for the Phoenix Suns in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Suns acquired All-Star forward Charles Barkley from the Philadelphia 76ers, and signed free agent Danny Ainge. The Suns had a successful season posting a 14-game winning streak in December which led them to a 21–4 start, then posted an 11-game winning streak between March and April to finish with an NBA-best 62–20 record. The team set the franchise record for most wins in a season (the record was later tied in the 2004–05 season). Barkley won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and led the team to its second trip to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Suns faced elimination as they trailed 2–0 against the 8th-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. However, they won the next three games to advance in the semifinals, where they defeated the San Antonio Spurs in six games. In the Western Conference Finals, they defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in a full seven game series on their way to the Finals before losing in six games to the Bulls.
The season saw the debut of the new "Streaking Sun" logo, which was featured on the team's new jerseys. The new logo and uniforms would last until 2000. The season was also the Suns first at the new America West Arena (later renamed Talking Stick Resort Arena). The new arena had a regular season attendance of 779,943 in 41 home games, the fifth highest total attendance in the league. The team sold-out the capacity 19,023 arena every game of the season.
Barkley and Dan Majerle were both selected for the 1993 NBA All-Star Game. Point guard Kevin Johnson played just 49 games due to injury, averaging 16.1 points and 7.8 assists per game. Following the season, Tom Chambers signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Utah Jazz.
The Suns used their first-round pick to select center Oliver Miller from Arkansas. Miller averaged 12.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game through four years with the Razorbacks. Miller would go on to play two seasons with the Suns before signing with the Detroit Pistons as a free agent in 1994. He would later return to the Suns in the 1999–2000 season. Second-round picks Brian Davis and Ron Ellis were not signed by the Suns. Davis would later play with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1993–94 season, while Ellis never played in the NBA.
On June 17, 1992, the Suns traded former All-Star Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry, and Andrew Lang to the Philadelphia 76ers for All-Star forward Charles Barkley. Barkley would play four seasons with the Suns before being traded to the Houston Rockets in 1996. Hornacek would play less than two seasons with the Sixers, Perry would play less than four, and Lang only one. Many consider the trade to be the best in Suns history.
The Suns key off-season signing was veteran shooting guard Danny Ainge. Ainge would spend his last three seasons in the NBA with the Suns. Point guard Frank Johnson was signed to back-up All-Star Kevin Johnson. Forward/center Tim Kempton was signed, but played sparingly throughout the season. Small forward Alex Stivrins was picked up in the off-season, but later waived. He would return with two 10-day contracts later in the season, but was again waived.
|Phoenix Suns roster|
In 1992, the Suns moved into their new arena in downtown Phoenix, the America West Arena (now Talking Stick Resort Arena). The arena was not the only new arrival into Phoenix though, as flamboyant all-star power forward Charles Barkley was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers for Jeff Hornacek, Andrew Lang, and Tim Perry. Barkley would go on to win his first and only MVP in his first year with Phoenix in 1993.
In addition to Barkley, the Suns added some key players to their roster, amongst them Danny Ainge. The organization also drafted a player out of UArkansas: center Oliver Miller. Also making his Suns debut was their 1991 first round draft pick, Oklahoma State forward Richard Dumas, who missed the previous season due to a drug-related suspension.
Record vs. opponents
|1992–93 game log|
Total: 62–20 (Home: 35–6; Road: 27–14)
November: 7–4 (Home: 5–1; Road: 2–3)
December: 14–0 (Home: 7–0; Road: 7–0)
January: 10–4 (Home: 3–0; Road: 7–4)
February: 9–4 (Home: 7–1; Road: 2–3)
March: 13–3 (Home: 8–2; Road: 5–1)
April: 9–5 (Home: 5–2; Road: 4–3)
|1992–93 season schedule|
Under rookie head coach Paul Westphal (a former Suns assistant and, as a player, member of the 1976 Suns squad that went to the NBA Finals), the Suns squad consisting mostly of Barkley, Majerle, Johnson and Ainge won 62 games that year. After eliminating the Lakers (against whom they came back from an 0-2 deficit preventing them from being the first eight-seeded team to eliminate the top seeded team in the first round), Spurs, and Sonics, the Suns advanced to the Finals for the second time in franchise history. They eventually lost to the Bulls, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. This series included a triple-overtime game (Game 3) that along with game 4 of the 1976 series are the only triple overtime games in the history of the NBA finals. Approximately 300,000 fans braved the 105 degree heat to celebrate the memorable season in the streets of Phoenix.
|1993 playoff game log|
First Round: 3–2 (Home: 1–2; Road: 2–0)
Conference Semifinals: 4–2 (Home: 3–0; Road: 1–2)
Conference Finals: 4–3 (Home: 3–1; Road: 1–2)
NBA Finals: 2–4 (Home: 0–3; Road: 2–1)
|1993 playoff schedule|
The 1993 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1992–93 NBA season, featuring the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, and the Phoenix Suns, winners of 62 games and led by regular season MVP Charles Barkley. The Bulls became the first team since the legendary Boston Celtics of the 1960s to win three consecutive championship titles, clinching the "three-peat" with John Paxson's game-winning 3-pointer that gave them a 99-98 victory in Game 6.
- The Phoenix Suns won game 3 in 3OT, 129-121. Suns Head Coach Paul Westphal became the only person to appear in both triple-overtime finals games. The first was Game 5 of the 1976 contest against Boston, as a player for the Suns, which thus were the only team to appear in two triple-overtime finals games. In 1976, the Suns lost 126-128 against Boston.
- The Bulls got off to a good start in Game 6 but struggled in the fourth quarter, wasting a double-digit lead to trail 98-94. Michael Jordan made a layup to cut the margin to 2 points, and the Suns missed a shot on their next possession. Trailing 98-96 and facing a Game 7 on the road if they lost that day, John Paxson took a pass from Horace Grant and buried a three pointer with 3.9 seconds left, giving the Bulls a 99-98 lead. The victory was secured by a last-second block from Horace Grant.
- Michael Jordan, who averaged a Finals-record 41.0 PPG during the six game series, became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards. He joined Magic Johnson as the only other player to win the award three times. The NBA started awarding the Finals MVP in 1969.
Awards and honors
- Charles Barkley was named Player of the Week for games played December 7 through December 13.
- Charles Barkley was named Player of the Week for games played March 29 through April 4.
- Charles Barkley was named Player of the Month for December.
- Paul Westphal was named Coach of the Month for December.
- Charles Barkley was voted as a starter for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his seventh All-Star selection. Barkley finished third in All-Star voting with 858,947 votes, behind only Michael Jordan (1,035,824) and Scottie Pippen (932,912).
- Dan Majerle was selected as a reserve for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. It was his second All-Star selection.
- The other Suns player who received All-Star votes was Kevin Johnson (188,545).
- Paul Westphal coached the Western Conference All-Star team to a 135–130 victory over the East.
- Cedric Ceballos participated in the Slam Dunk Contest. After winning the 1992 contest, Ceballos made the final round, finishing third behind Clarence Weatherspoon and champion Harold Miner.
- Dan Majerle participated in the Three-Point Shootout, losing to champion Mark Price.
- Charles Barkley received the Most Valuable Player Award.
- Jerry Colangelo received the Executive of the Year Award.
- Charles Barkley was named to the All-NBA First Team.
- Dan Majerle was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Majerle also finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
- Richard Dumas was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team.
- Cedric Ceballos led the league in field goal percentage, making 57.6 percent of his shots.
- Dan Majerle led the league (with Reggie Miller) in three-point field goals with 167.
- Danny Ainge finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting.
- Tom Chambers finished fifth in Sixth Man of the Year voting.
|GP||Games 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|
* – Stats with the Suns.
† – Minimum 300 field goals made.
† – Minimum 20 field goals made.
|June 17, 1992||To Philadelphia 76ers||To Phoenix Suns|