It’s been less than a week since the last time the Suns hit the floor, but my how things have changed.
Last week when the Suns got destroyed by Cleveland to finish off their pre-break slate, the team was engulfed by a general malaise, getting blown out nearly every night while Amare rumors enveloped a team that seemed on the verge of being broken up.
Phoenix still enters play tonight a game out of a playoff spot, but with Terry Porter out and Alvin Gentry and the Run and Fun Suns in, the storm clouds have passed and a rainbow is appearing in the distance.
Now we hear reports from ESPN’s Marc Stein that Amare Stoudemire won’t be traded at the deadline, which could be a smoke screen to drive up offers, but at least it looks like the Suns won’t settle for a bad deal just to cut Amare’s costs. And that’s all we could really ask for.
It looks like Kerr and Sarver will give this team a chance to gel, and maybe it’s just that everything is happy after a coaching change, but now it feels like there’s hope that the Suns could make a run up the Western Conference standings, whereas before they seemed lucky to squeak into the eighth playoff spot.
ESPN’s John Hollinger cautions that it will take time for this unit to gel, but what a perfect schedule for that to happen with three straight games against 13-40 teams coming out of the break, starting with tonight’s contest against the Clippers.
Taking care of business during this stretch is critical because in a couple weeks the schedule becomes just brutal, and wouldn’t it be something if Gentry finishes off the team’s first four-game winning streak of the year on Sunday with a national TV win over the same Celtics squad that wiped the floor with the Suns in January?
OK, I’m getting way ahead of myself, but Gentry represents change we can believe in.
I don’t think it will take long for the Suns to get comfortable running and gunning, and I think we’ll immediately see a different team spirit-wise than the club that’s been dragging the last month or so.