When Steve Nash got shipped off to the Lakers, the Phoenix Suns were no longer the Phoenix Suns we’ve come to know. The Suns organization was all the sudden overflowed with uncertainty. The main uncertainty being, what kind of team are they going to be?
Suns head coach Alvin Gentry who carried on Mike D’Antoni’s seven seconds or less offensive style when he took over the head coach position upon the firing of Terry Porter back in 2008. Heading into the 2012-2013 NBA season Gentry remains adamant about the continuation of the well-known Phoenix Suns’ up tempo offense.
“At one time, everyone was a student. It’s a pretty simple system, really,” Gentry said. “The guys are excited. We’ll have a full month to get ready, before our first game against Golden State. You have got be in really great shape, and play the basketball you’ve been playing your whole life. We’re going to be up-tempo.
So it’s clear at this point the Suns will continue to run their up tempo offense but without Steve Nash at the helm, is that the right way to go?The Suns have added a lot of new talent this off-season, but can the new additions compensate for the loss of Nash? Objectively speaking, although I would love nothing more to watch the Suns continue to push the ball, it’s not their best option.
The Suns even with Steve Nash was not the elite offensive team they were when they had both Nash and Stoudemire. The Suns best option at this would to play a slower pace style of basketball which puts more emphasis on playing tough defense and run the court off turnovers.
At this point Alvin Gentry has to realize he no longer has the personnel to play that style of basketball anymore; he hasn’t had it for the past two seasons. Statistics back that up, the Suns ranked 9th in the league last season in pace and 8th in offensive efficiency. During the 2010-2011 season the Suns came in 8th in pace and 9th in offensive efficiency, very mediocre numbers for a team that’s lead by Steve Nash. The Suns also came in the bottom 20 both seasons in defensive efficiency.
It’s time the Suns changed their philosophy, and if Alvin Gentry’s system doesn’t have a lot of success this upcoming season, he may have to coach elsewhere. All the uncertainly around the Suns right now and Alvin Gentry is probably the reason why Gentry has yet to receive a contract extension.