1988–89 Phoenix Suns season

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1988–89 Phoenix Suns season
Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons
General manager Jerry Colangelo
Owner(s) Jerry Colangelo
Arena Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Results
Record 55–27 (.671)
Place Division: 2nd (Pacific)
Conference: 3rd (Western)
Playoff finish West Conference Finals
(eliminated 0-4)

Stats @ Basketball-Reference.com
Radio KTAR
< 1987–88 1989–90 >

The 1988–89 Phoenix Suns season was the 20th season for the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association.[1] Cotton Fitzsimmons, Suns head coach for the '70–'71 and '71–'72 seasons, returned to the franchise where he got his first head coaching position. The Suns also enjoyed the benefits of a trade which brought Tom Chambers to the Valley of the Sun, who would have an All-Star season his first year in Phoenix. The Suns' regular seasons successes were carried on through the playoffs, sweeping Denver in the first round and defeating Golden State four games to one in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Suns saw their playoff fortunes reverse in the Conference Finals when they met the season's MVP Magic Johnson and the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, getting swept four games to zero. All home games were played at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Chambers headed a triplet of Suns who averaged 20 points or more for the season, with Chambers leading the way at 25.7 points per game. Eddie Johnson, who would earn the season's Sixth Man Award, came off the bench for 21.5 per while second-year point guard Kevin Johnson obtained his 20.4 average through a starting role. Johnson, enjoying his first full season with the Suns after a midseason trade the year before, earned Most Improved Player of the Year Award while finishing third behind future Hall of Famers John Stockton and Magic Johnson in assists per game with a 12.2 average. Johnson blossomed in his role with the Suns, appearing in 81 games and finishing second in the league in average minutes per game.

NBA Draft[edit]

Main article: 1988 NBA Draft
Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 7 Tim Perry Forward  United States Temple
1 14 Dan Majerle Guard  United States Central Michigan
2 28 Andrew Lang Center  United States Arkansas
2 38 Dean Garrett Center  United States Indiana
2 50 Steve Kerr Guard  United States Arizona
3 55 Rodney Johns Guard  United States Grand Canyon

The Suns used their first-round pick to select power forward Tim Perry from Temple. Perry averaged 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in four years with the Owls. In his first three years with the Suns, Perry would average 4.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game playing in a limited role. After becoming a starter in the 1991–92 season, Perry averaged 12.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. After the season, he was traded, alongside Jeff Hornacek and Andrew Lang, to the Philadelphia 76ers for superstar forward Charles Barkley.

The Suns received the 14th pick from a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1988. With the pick they would select swingman Dan Majerle from Central Michigan. Majerle averaged 21.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in four years with the Chippewas. Majerle would spend his first seven seasons with the Suns, appearing in three All-Star games before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1995. He would return to play for the Suns in the 2001–02 season before retiring. His number 9 jersey was retired by the franchise in 2003.

The Suns received the 28th pick from a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988. With the pick they would select center Andrew Lang from Arkansas. Lang averaged 6.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in four years with the Razorbacks. Like Perry, Lang played a limited role in his first three seasons, averaging 3.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. After becoming a starter in the 1991–92 season, Lang averaged 7.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, before being traded to the 76ers.

In 1987, the Suns traded their second-round pick to the Sacramento Kings for Eddie Johnson. The pick was then traded to the New York Knicks and then to the Detroit Pistons, who selected small forward Fennis Dembo with the 30th pick.

The Suns received the 38th pick from a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1988. With the pick they would select center Dean Garrett from Indiana. Garrett averaged 13.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game in two years with the Hoosiers. Garrett suffered a fractured foot before appearing in any games, and missed the entire season. He was waived before the start of the 1989–90 season without appearing in any games for the franchise.

The Suns received the 50th pick from a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1985. With the pick they would select guard Steve Kerr from Arizona. Kerr averaged 11.2 points and 3.4 assists per game in four years with the Wildcats. Kerr would spend most of his rookie season on the injured reserve, averaging 2.1 points per game in 26 games, before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989.

The Suns used their third-round pick to select point guard Rodney Johns from Grand Canyon. Johns averaged 13.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in two years with the Antelopes. The Suns signed Johns to a contract on September 27, but he was waived on November 1 before the start of the season.

Roster[edit]

Phoenix Suns roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB (Y-M-D) From
F/C 24 United States Chambers, Tom 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1959-06-21 Utah
F 23 United States Corbin, Tyrone 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1962-12-31 DePaul
G 25 United States Dunn, T. R. 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 192 lb (87 kg) 1955-02-01 Alabama
F/C 22 United States Garrett, Dean Injured (IN) 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1966-11-27 Indiana
F 44 United States Gattison, Kenny 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1964-05-23 Old Dominion
F/C 35 United States Gilliam, Armon 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1964-05-28 UNLV
G 14 United States Hornacek, Jeff 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1963-05-03 Iowa State
F 8 United States Johnson, Eddie 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1959-05-01 Illinois
G 7 United States Johnson, Kevin 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 1966-03-04 California
G 4 United States Kerr, Steve 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1965-09-27 Arizona
C 28 United States Lang, Andrew 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 245 lb (111 kg) 1966-06-28 Arkansas
G/F 9 United States Majerle, Dan 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1965-09-09 Central Michigan
F 45 United States Nealy, Ed 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 238 lb (108 kg) 1960-02-19 Kansas State
F 34 United States Perry, Tim 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1965-06-04 Temple
C 41 United States West, Mark 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1960-11-05 Old Dominion
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

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

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Mark West Andrew Lang Dean Garrett Injured
PF Tom Chambers Armon Gilliam Tim Perry Kenny Gattison
SF Tyrone Corbin Eddie Johnson Ed Nealy
SG Jeff Hornacek Dan Majerle T. R. Dunn Steve Kerr
PG Kevin Johnson

Regular season[edit]

Standings[edit]

Pacific Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div
y-Los Angeles Lakers 57 25 .695 35–6 22–19 25–9
x-Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 2 35–6 20–21 23–11
x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 10 31–10 16–25 20–14
x-Golden State Warriors 43 39 .524 14 29–12 14–27 15–19
x-Portland Trail Blazers 39 43 .476 18 28–13 11–30 17–17
Sacramento Kings 27 55 .329 30 21–20 6–35 12–22
Los Angeles Clippers 21 61 .256 36 17–24 4–37 7–27
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Los Angeles Lakers 57 25 .695
2 y-Utah Jazz 51 31 .622 6
3 x-Phoenix Suns 55 27 .671 2
4 x-Seattle SuperSonics 47 35 .573 10
5 x-Houston Rockets 45 37 .549 12
6 x-Denver Nuggets 44 38 .537 13
7 x-Golden State Warriors 43 39 .524 14
8 x-Portland Trail Blazers 39 43 .476 18
9 Dallas Mavericks 38 44 .463 19
10 Sacramento Kings 27 55 .329 30
11 San Antonio Spurs 21 61 .256 36
12 Los Angeles Clippers 21 61 .256 36
13 Miami Heat 15 67 .183 41

Playoffs[edit]

Game log[edit]

1989 playoff game log
1989 playoff schedule

Awards and honors[edit]

Week/Month[edit]

  • Tom Chambers was named Player of the Week for games played January 23 through January 29.
  • Kevin Johnson was named Player of the Week for games played March 13 through March 19.
  • Kevin Johnson was named Player of the Month for February.
  • Cotton Fitzsimmons was named Coach of the Month for April.

All-Star[edit]

Season[edit]

Player statistics[edit]

Legend
  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

Season[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Tom Chambers 81 81 37.1 .471 .326 .851 8.4 2.9 1.1 0.7 25.7
Tyrone Corbin 77 30 21.5 .540 .000 .788 5.2 1.5 1.1 0.2 8.2
Winston Crite 2 0 3.0 .000 . . 0.5 0.0 .0 .0 0.0
Mark Davis* 2 0 3.5 .200 .000 1.000^ 0.5 0.0 .0 .0 2.0
T. R. Dunn 34 1 9.4 .343 . .750 1.8 0.7 0.4 .0 1.0
Kenny Gattison 2 0 4.5 .000 . .500 0.5 0.0 .0 .0 0.5
Armon Gilliam 74 60 28.6 .503 . .743 7.3 0.7 0.7 0.4 15.9
Craig Hodges* 10 0 9.2 .444 .333 .750 0.5 0.8 0.2 .0 3.9
Jeff Hornacek 78 73 31.9 .495 .333 .826 3.4 6.0 1.7 0.1 13.5
Eddie Johnson 70 7 29.2 .497 .413 .868 4.4 2.3 0.7 0.1 21.5
Kevin Johnson 81 81 39.2 .505 .091 .882^ 4.2 12.2 1.7 0.3 20.4
Steve Kerr 26 0 6.0 .435 .471 .667 0.7 0.9 0.3 .0 2.1
Andrew Lang 62 25 8.5 .513 . .650 2.4 0.1 0.3 0.8 2.6
Dan Majerle 54 5 25.1 .419 .329 .614 3.9 2.4 1.2 0.3 8.6
Ed Nealy* 30 0 5.5 .276 .000 .429 1.8 0.3 0.1 .0 0.6
Tim Perry 62 15 9.9 .537 .200 .615 2.1 0.3 0.3 0.5 4.1
Mark West 82 32 24.6 .653 . .535 6.7 0.5 0.4 2.3 7.2

* - Stats with the Suns.
† - Minimum 55 three-pointers made.
^ - Minimum 125 free throws made.

Playoffs[edit]

Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Tom Chambers 12 12 41.3 .459 .409 .859 10.9 3.8 1.1 1.3 26.0
Tyrone Corbin 12 12 25.8 .523 . .760 7.1 2.2 2.0 0.3 9.1
T. R. Dunn 8 0 9.9 .429 . .500 1.9 0.1 0.6 .0 0.9
Armon Gilliam 9 0 14.0 .529 . .864 5.0 0.2 0.1 0.2 8.1
Jeff Hornacek 12 12 31.2 .497 .000 .840 5.8 5.2 1.3 0.3 14.1
Eddie Johnson 12 0 32.7 .413 .342 .769 7.3 2.1 1.0 0.2 17.8
Kevin Johnson 12 12 41.2 .495 .300 .927 4.3 12.3 1.6 0.4 23.8
Andrew Lang 4 0 2.0 .000 . . 1.5 0.3 .0 .0 0.0
Dan Majerle 12 0 29.3 .438 .286 .792 4.8 1.2 1.1 0.3 14.3
Ed Nealy 4 0 1.5 .333 . . 0.8 0.0 .0 .0 0.5
Tim Perry 4 0 4.3 .500 . .000 0.5 0.0 0.5 0.3 1.0
Mark West 12 12 18.9 .640 . .714 4.4 0.5 0.6 1.6 6.2

Transactions[edit]

Trades[edit]

December 14, 1988
To Chicago Bulls---- To Phoenix Suns----

Free agents[edit]