Five things Arizona sports fans can be thankful for in 2022

The year 2022 has been full of unexpected surprises for the Arizona sports scene.

However, through the ups and downs, there is a lot for fans to be thankful for across the board.

The Phoenix Suns are still great, the Arizona Coyotes have a small, albeit famous, temporary arena, and the Arizona Diamondbacks debuted the next wave of homegrown talent, just to name a few.

Not to mention, COVID-19 is no longer an everyday sports topic.

As you eat the third course of Thanksgiving dinner wondering what your local sports teams have to be thankful for, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Kyler is here to stay

(Photo by Adam Beecher/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, Kyler Murray is already the fifth all-time among Cardinals players who have been drafted in games played with the organization.

He will also be the first to crack 60 this century since Jake Plummer in 2002.

The first overall pick signed a five-year, $230.5 million extension last summer through 2028.

While 2022 hasn’t been perfect – indeed full of drama – for Murray, he has shown in the past that he can play at MVP level.

The remaining questions are whether Murray can continue to play his MVP caliber for an entire season, if head coach Kliff Kingsbury can help him get there and what roster GM Steve Keim needs to beat him.

If the player plays long enough, they will have seasons in which they find both ends of the hierarchy. This year, Murray and the Cardinals (4-7) have struggled to find consistent success.

But how quickly we forgot that he led the team to the postseason last year for the first time in half a decade. And it’s not easy to find an outstanding quarterback.

Dallas drama the sun never went down

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

What happened to the Suns in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals in May will never be forgotten. At home, with the best record in the NBA, losing by 33 points is something that will sit with fans and players for a while.

Let’s also add the unofficial drama with the investigation and suspension of owner Robert Sarver for racism and misogyny in the workplace, as well as Deandre Ayton’s bizarre free agency and Jae Crowder’s ongoing business situation.

The gifted players have many legitimate excuses for falling behind this season, and they have the best record in the Western Conference (11-6) going into Thanksgiving.

With Chris Paul currently sidelined, guard Devin Booker looks like a candidate for MVP, while forward Micah Bridges scores a career-best 16.3 points per game and shoots 47.4% from three.

The team has already weathered many speed bumps and continues to perform.

New arena, new emotions, new team

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Although the Coyotes have only one point in their past four games, they have played well above expectations in the early stages of this season.

It took him 29 games to reach 14 points a season ago, and 17 this season.

Arizona shares the new Mullett Stadium with the Arizona State hockey team, and the capacity is less than 5,000, but the Coyotes have played three of their four close home games — including a win over the Florida Panthers.

Clayton Keeler hits 20.6% of his shots and is a career best and leads the team with 18 points as well.

A young Outfield is lighting up the future of the D-backs

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are 22 wins over their 2021 total wins this past season, thanks in large part to their young stadium.

The trio of Jake McCarthy, Dolton Farshaw, and Corbin Carroll created a lot of offensive buzz, while Farshaw and Alec Thomas turned out to be two of the best defensemen in the league.

The backs of these young players, along with the escape of first baseman Christian Walker and the 1-2 punch from Zack Gallen and Meryl Kelly in the rotation, D-back fans have a lot to be happy about this holiday season.

A return to the March madness on the horizon?

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Arizona State Sun Devils men’s basketball team is 5-1 to start the season and already has a winning streak.

After beating Michigan by 25 points, ASU went home and beat Grambling State Brakes by 31 points.

Backcourt Frankie Collins and DJ Horn anchor the Sun Devils’ offensive tackle, while Collins, Devan and Desmond Cambridge, as well as Warren Washington anchor the defensive side of the floor.

Forward Marcus Bagley has only played two games this season and ASU is 3-1 in his absence. This team could be legitimate, and if it is, it could make its first NCAA Tournament since 2018-19.

Life changing loans

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