When the Chicago Bulls reported to training camp in the fall of 1995, guard Steve Kerr knew that NBA season was going to be different from his previous seven.
“Michael Jordan was absolutely obsessed with winning that year," said Kerr, now a minority partner with the Suns. “He had come back from retirement the season before and we had lost to Orlando in the playoffs so he was sort of embarrassed about his performance.
“Every day in training camp was a war and every game we lost that season felt like the end of the world."
The Bulls didn't lose many. On the way to its fourth NBA title, Chicago set an NBA record with 72 wins against 10 losses — a record that seemed untouchable, until now.
With a 30-4 record the Suns are on pace to tie the Bulls' mark while defying conventional notions of what it takes to win in the NBA.
But can the Suns actually win 70 games?
“I think, realistically, you have to ask that question in about six weeks," said Kerr, noting the Suns are now in the toughest stretch of their schedule. “But the way they're just bludgeoning teams it's not out of the question."
Aside from Jordan, who often carried Chicago on his back, Kerr said there were several other factors that allowed the Bulls to accomplish that unprecedented feat.
“A team has to have incredible resilience and drive because there are so many games and so much travel and so many nights where you just don't feel like you have it," he said. “You also have to have a lot of luck. If any one of our main guys had been hurt it wouldn't have happened."
Kerr sees one very big similarity between that Bulls team and this Suns club.
“Versatility," he said. “The Bulls had four guys who could guard three or four different positions in Michael, Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper and Dennis Rodman, so matchups were never a problem. “The Suns are the same way with Shawn (Marion), Joe (Johnson), Quentin (Richardson) and Amaré (Stoudemire), and both teams create matchup problems for others."
Kerr thinks a matchup between the teams would be entertaining, but he didn't hesitate when asked who would win.
“I would take that Bulls team against anybody. It just seemed like Michael was too good — so dominant that that team could have beaten anybody," Kerr said. “But, for the record, I'd like to say that I wouldn't have been able to play in any of those games because (Bulls coach) Phil Jackson wouldn't have found anybody on the Suns that I could have guarded."