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2023 NBA Playoffs: The Phoenix-Denver Connections

Suns Nuggets
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The Phoenix Suns maintained their status as one of the top teams in the West during the regular season and are already gearing up for the second round of the NBA Playoffs. They are facing the Denver Nuggets in a matchup that has turned out to be a reunion or homecoming for some of the personnel involved.

Let us examine some of the connections in this particular series.

Coaching Staff

People might not know this but coach Monty Williams played for the Nuggets. It was only for one game and, get this, it was against the Suns. What a strange coincidence. Another connection is assistant Mark Bryant. Back in the 2002-03 season, Bryant played for three teams. He started out in Philadelphia, made a stop in Denver, and then finished out the year by playing for Boston.

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Sonics

Jeff Green and Kevin Durant go way, way back. They played together for the Seattle Supersonics and remained teammates when the franchise became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both of them made it to the NBA Finals back in 2018 but were on opposite teams; Durant played for the Golden State Warriors while Jeff Green was a Cleveland Cavalier.

Journeyman

Ish Smith has been team-hopping his whole career. He just could not find a permanent home and was always on the move. Smith joined the Houston Rockets back in 2010 and was there when Yao Ming played his last game. 13 years later, Smith is still in the NBA playing for the Nuggets. His claim to fame will be his “13 teams in 13 years” slogan. His connection to the Suns? Simple. He was a member of the 2013-2014 Phoenix squad.

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Prodigal “Sun”

Torrey Craig is one of the most important members of Phoenix’s supporting cast. His coach knows he can score 15 or more points if he plays close to 30 minutes per game. His NBA career started in Denver back in 2017 and he is now on his second stint for the Suns. The team executives, probably because they missed him too much, decided to bring him back through a trade.

Lob City

Remember the “Lob City Clippers” during Chris Paul’s time in Los Angeles? Well, one of the players on the receiving end of those lob passes was DeAndre Jordan. Both players are in this series right now. Jordan is with the Nuggets while Paul is guiding the Suns. They won’t be meeting on the court that much, though, as Paul recovers from a groin injury and Jordan doesn’t really get high playing minutes.


Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images

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