Alvin Gentry: 'We need that go-to guy'


PHOENIX — When the Phoenix Suns lost Amare Stoudemire in free agency and Jason Richardson to a trade, the offensive burden on Steve Nash became unbearable.

The Suns slipped from their perennial spot atop the offensive efficiency rankings all the way down to ninth, and they lacked a player Nash could just throw it to for a basket that Two Time didn’t need to create himself in crunch time.

Thus amid all the talk of improving the NBA’s 25th most efficient defense, the Suns know they must acquire an elite scorer as well this offseason.

“I still think that we need that go-to guy, a guy that we can throw the ball to at the end of games where he can go get us a basket,” said head coach Alvin Gentry. “I think that’s asking a lot of Steve to do it all the time, you know, screen and rolls or whatever. I think he needs to be able to have a guy that we can throw it to that we know is either going to get us foul shots or be able to facilitate a play for someone else or be able to get a basket for himself.”

The hope on Planet Orange after the Orlando was that Vince Carter could take over the go-to guy role he has played for the majority of his career, especially with Nash setting him up for easy hoops, but that never materialized.

Instead Channing Frye became a player the Suns often went to in crunch time but those baskets were often scored on set plays that freed Frye up for jumpers. Aside from Grant Hill on a limited basis with his pull-up jumpers and Aaron Brooks off the bench, the majority of the team is reliant on Nash to create for them.

Gentry mentioned how all of the teams that enjoyed success in the playoffs this season have a player like that, with LeBron and Wade for the Heat, Dirk for Dallas, Rose for the Bulls, Durant for the Thunder and so on down the line.

“It’s something that you have to have really,” Gentry said. “You’ve got to have that guy you can throw it to, so that would be the thing that I think we would try to address.”

The go-to guys on the teams Gentry brought up are perhaps the league’s five best players. Phoenix isn’t going to acquire anybody close to them of course, but the Suns’ coach was just trying to show how badly his team needs somebody who can create his own shot.

There won’t be any reasonable facsimile of an immediate go-to scorer at 13 (although Jordan Hamilton is perhaps the best of the bunch in this department), so Gentry said the team will “explore all the avenues” to acquire such a player.

“There’s a lot of different things and a lot of situations we can look at to try to address that, and I think we’ll look at all of those and try to see,” he said. “And it might not happen, and if not then we have to create an environment where we’re confident enough that we can score at the end of games and come up with stops.”

And 1

According to The Arizona Republic, the Suns worked out Texas’ Hamilton and Washington State’s Klay Thompson on Friday — serious possibilities at 13 — along with a host of players not expected to be selected with Phoenix’s lottery pick.

Tags: Alvin Gentry

  • shazam

    give vince carter another chance…bwahahahahahaha

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    I hate to be the one to keep saying it, but at every turn it seems like Nash is part of the problem doesn’t it?

    He can’t do it on his own. Okay, that’s fair enough. You still have to consider what he actually does need and how that fits into the ‘domino effect’ for our Suns team.

    People have been talking about Milsap or J Smoove. Lets even add Amare Stoudemire into that.

    “Somebody we can throw the ball to late for a basket or, at the very least, get us to the foul line.”

    Remember, this has to come within the flow of the offense as it is designed for Nash. You couldn’t throw the ball to STAT in the box and get a bucket or a foul. He always started at the elbow whether it was a drive from there or a jump shot or a catch on the PnR.

    It worked because his mid range jumper was assassin-like. It made people have to close out which gave him an advantage.

    J Smoove’s jumper isn’t nearly as delicious as Sun Tzu. Milsap – is he that kind of player? Also, how will he fare with THORTAT??!!?!ONE!!ONE! and his POLISH HAMMER SMASH!! on the other side?

    I think for any of this to work with Nash still running the show, he’s going to have to give up some of that dribbling and probing for more traditional sets in crunch time and that means working on them over all quarters of all games. It also means Gentry has to adjust his coaching like he did 2 years ago and make it work.

    I know I will get strapped to a wooden pole and stoned to death for what I type next, but I think Channing Frye could be that guy.

    In **OUR SYSTEM** as it is run, he spaces the floor and fires missiles from Yuma, AZ.

    People forget, that dude has an awesome mid range jump shot and he shoots a HIGH turn-around fade too.

    If we had some weak-side back-screen action in our system that forced switches between the 3 and the 4, Frye would destroy shorter 3s at around 12 feet from the basket.

    Alas, our system doesn’t adjust.

    If Hamilton or Jimmer aren’t there at 13, I’d be fine dealing that pick if it helped us land a major threat like Iggy or Love or Smoove. I think it’d be one of those instances where the Suns love for giving picks away would be warranted.

  • john marzan

    the suns never really needed a go to guy, because nash always had the ball 95% of the time.

    amare never had a go-to move other than drive to his Right or shoot a midrange jumper.

  • john marzan

    as if nash is willing to change his style now and just feed the ball to his scorers and let them create their own shots.

  • HankS

    “We need that go-to guy”–so much is clear. Equally clear: we’re not getting him with No. 13. So?

  • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

    And less clear but nearly as certain he’s not coming in free agency. So I assume that means the Suns would be in the market for a trade, but as Rich spelled out in the previous thread the Suns don’t exactly have the assets to acquire a go-to player. Just because of the economics of the situation they may have to make due with what they have, but on Thursday Gentry was spelling out the obvious that this team needs to improve defensively and find a go-to scorer.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Adding onto that…

    @Hanks – If Hamilton is there at 13, he can be that go-to scorer.

    As much as I don’t support the Nash-driven system anymore, (mainly because we don’t have the pieces and Nash can’t drive it like he used to), Hamilton would be the perfect piece for Nash.

    You know, I’m getting my hopes up for this guy. That means he either won’t be there or he will be there but PHX will draft some guy out of Eastern Europe.

    Anyway, in the 2 slot, (in our system), he’d be parked on the base line on either side floating at an angle to the elbow.

    This is common law. Raja did it. Matrix did it. Joe Johnson did it. JRich did it. Vinvisible did it.

    Raja never moved – he waited and banged jump shots. Hamilton can do that.

    JRich did what Raja did, but he also cut baseline, (The Barbosa cut), flashed for a quick post-up, and floated out for a 3. Hamilton can do that.

    Matrix was a second PnR man for Nash when Amare wasn’t there and he also crashed the glass. Hamilton can do that and screen when Gortat is taken away.

    JJ did all of those things while also taking over as ‘the man’ as far as attacking went when Nash sat.

    That is the one basic principle that PHX has not replaced since Joe left.

    Hamilton, playing next to Dowdell, JMZ, (sorry bro. If we get JH you have to be 6th man), Childress, and / or Lawal / Lopez would break the opposing bench because everybody would fall back into their natural roles while having a dominant presence in the bench mob without the musical chairs issue.

    Yep, like two years ago.

    Then the youngster can rest when Nash comes back in, and Frye / Gortat do their thing.

    It’d be… beautiful.

  • Cam

    @Rich,
    The more you talk about Jordan Hamilton the more I buy into him being a better fit for us than Burks. Burks is a prototypical 2 guard but Hamilton sounds like he has more to offer with a comparable shot to Burks, but more length, a better nose for the boards, and hopefully a chip on his shoulder. Knowing the Suns though, either Hamilton won’t be there or we will take an undersized PF that won’t be able to contribute right away, leading us to trade him away in two years. Oh the joy of being a Suns fan. Go Sun.

  • Phx suns fan in la

    I think that if gani lawal can take some of warricks minutes he can show gentry that he can be that guy to drive to the basket and get fouled…hes a big body and he has a decent jumper..

  • Tony

    Ah, we did have that go to scorer in first JJ, then Amare, then J-Rich. Of course the arrogant and incompetent Sarver got rid of all three. Go to scorers don’t simply grow on trees, they are few and far between. It is not like the Suns can simply go out and replace what any of those three guys did for the Suns. They have no tradeable assets with the exception of Gortat and with Lopez as the only other center, the Suns can’t afford to trade Gortat. The idiot Sarver spent so much money on role players that there’s not going to be enough money to sign an elite scorer. And the Suns have a 13th round pick in a weak draft.

    It’s highly unlikely the Suns get any better next season. In actuality, they will be much worse than this past season.

  • shazam

    im just concerned that we keep finding pieces for a nash driven system…in 2 years nash wont be close to his diminished skills of today….TRADE HIM…find some tough dudes to play w/gortat

  • Marley

    The Suns need a go-to Coach first!!!! LMAO!

    Gentry trying to blame player personnel for the Suns sucking this year.

    It’s YOU Gentry! It’s the offensive system you are employing with Nash.

    You can’t have a go-to guy when your go-to guy is already Steve Nash.

    You have to let your go-to guy create and take shots as many as he needs to through out the entire game no matter how bad a shooting night he might be having. Look at other go-to guys like Dirk , LeBron, Durant, or Kobe. Even if they have a bad shooting game the first 2-3 quarters the team keeps going to them!

    Your go-to guy must be able to mess up without being scared of getting benched or getting called out publicly by his Coach!

    Gentry is basically calling out Vince Carter! Gentry wanted Vince Carter to be the go-to guy but often showed a lack of respect for him.

    It is clear Gentry is only trying protect his JOB!

    Good-luck finding a go-to guy to want to come to the Suns as long as Gentry is the coach.

    Vince Carter is just hoping the Suns don’t pick up his team option on his contract. He is either Chicago or New York bound next year if they don’t pick it up.

    The Suns should be happy they are losers right now. In a few more years, they can be the worst team and get the top picks in the lottery.

    And trade Nash for JJ Barrea! He can be the new go-to guy! LMAO!

  • Steve

    El-Mou, rofl-copter, that was funny, Marley!

    Getting rid of JJ (at the price we could have had him) was a serious mistake. Getting rid of Amare and Marion was not. Marion was unhappy here and pretty much wanted to play for the max. He wasn’t worth it. He’s a good player, but only as a third option at best. Amare is a chump. He doesn’t play D, gives up in big circumstances, and cares more about his image than his team. He’s LeBron, but not even that good. Paying Amare the $120M he would have wanted in order to stay here would have been $40M too much. $40M is a lot of money for any owner. I guess I’ll have to eat some crow if Amare is ever THE MAN on a championship team, but I would be willing to bet my children’s college fund that won’t happen.

    As far as Gentry being the problem, I’m not in complete disagreement. I think the majority of the burden falls to the players. Lopez, Warrick, Pietrus, Dragic, and Carter all GREATLY underacheived. But I don’t think Gentry did anything to hold them accountable. When Carter was waltzing through games without a care in the world, Gentry didn’t yank him. He let him play. When Warrick was busy throwing the ball to the other team on two inbounds passes in a row, Gentry wasn’t in the man’s face telling him he wouldn’t have a job if he ever did that again. When Pietrus was putting up brick after brick after brick, always pulling the trigger early and in bad situations, Gentry left him on the floor. He started Lopez for more than half the season. Enough said.

    Gentry is stubborn. If he picks someone, he’s way too reluctant to say he was wrong. He sticks with his guns far too long. So, I agree Alvin is not the greatest coach in the world. However, he didn’t force half of his team to suck this year. Those guys did that on their own. If Gentry wants to keep his job this year, he needs to preach defense, defense, and a little more defense after that. If he doesn’t get this team into the top 15 in defensive efficiency, I want him gone. I can only watch so much poor effort before I lose my mind/interest.

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