It was a season that would not be matched in terms of moves until both the 2014–15 and the 2015–16 seasons came and went. Still, the Suns finished fourth in the Pacific Division with a 40–42 record. This team would also be the first and only NBA team to start out the season with a 10+ losing streak, yet make it to the playoffs by the end of the season. Not only that, but they would also be the first team to record a 10+ game winning streak after recording a 10+ game losing streak earlier in the season. As the #7 seed in the Western Conference, the Suns faced the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the playoffs, losing 2–3 in a closely contested series. Following the season, Wesley Person was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Wayman Tisdale retired.
The Suns used their first-round pick to select point guardSteve Nash from Santa Clara. Nash averaged 14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in four years with the Broncos. On July 24, the Suns signed Nash to a three-year rookie contract for $3.2 million. He would spend his first two seasons with the Suns playing a limited role behind All-Star guards Kevin Johnson and Jason Kidd, before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 1998. Nash would later return to the franchise as a free agent in 2004, winning consecutive MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 and ultimately making it to the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor on October 30, 2015.
The Suns used their second-round pick to select power forwardBen Davis from Arizona. Davis averaged 12.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in two years with the Wildcats. On September 25, the Suns signed Davis to a one-year rookie contract for $220,000. Davis spent much of the year on the injured reserve with a finger injury. He would appear in 20 games, average 1.5 points and 1.4 rebounds in 4.9 minutes a game. Davis would sign as a free agent with the New York Knicks after the season. He would later return to the Suns shortly in the 1999–2000 season, appearing in just five games before being waived.
The Suns came into the playoffs as the seventh seed, facing the 1996 Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics in the first round. In game one, Rex Chapman set a playoff record with 9 three-pointers, finishing the game with 42 points and leading the Suns to a 106–101 upset in Seattle. The Sonics responded with a 44-point blowout in game two, evening the series 1–1. The Suns recovered at home in game three. After an early 15-point deficit, Wesley Person led the team to a comeback 110–103 victory with 29 points and 10 rebounds. The Suns had a chance to close the series at home in game four. Behind by eleven points in the final two minutes of regulation, the Suns cut to lead to two before fouling Detlef Schrempf with 5.4 seconds remaining. Schrempf would miss the second of two free throws, giving the Sonics a 107–104 lead. Rex Chapman would respond with a famous turnaround three-pointer to send the game into overtime. The Sonics would outscore the Suns 15–8 in extra time to gain a 122–115 victory. The Suns would head back to Seattle tied 2–2 for a deciding fifth game. The Suns turned to small ball, starting four guards (Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson, Rex Chapman and Wesley Person) along with center Hot Rod Williams. The Sonics would dominate the first half, leading by 22 at the break. A third quarter rally would bring the lead to eight, and a Wesley Person three-pointer to open the fourth quarter brought the lead to just five. But the Sonics would go on a 19–7 run in the final six minutes to claim a 116–92 victory.