Memphis Grizzlies 92, Phoenix Suns 81 — Offensive offense

Posted by on January 7th, 12:46 am

PHOENIX — When the Phoenix Suns opened their season, it’s doubtful they expected many nights in which P.J. Tucker would lead them in scoring.

Yet in their latest example of offensive ineptitude, Tucker was about the only Sun to shoot well, as the Memphis Grizzlies’ mighty defense smothered the rest of the Suns on their way to a 92-81 victory, Phoenix’s eighth loss in nine games.

“We really could never get anything going really,” said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry. “We got bogged down offensively and struggled to make shots. Had some tough turnovers and never really got any kind of rhythm. We were partly responsible for that, but they did a great job defensively also.”

It ended up being a career scoring night for Tucker with his 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, but he could hardly take any pride in that with Jermaine O’Neal being the only other Sun to make more than half his shots while Luis Scola shot 3-for-12, Shannon Brown 3-for-9 and Markieff Morris 2-for-8.

Phoenix’s usual engine Goran Dragic struggled along with the rest of his teammates with just two points before pouring in seven in the final four minutes once Memphis had already taken an insurmountable advantage. Jared Dudley didn’t even play in the fourth quarter after Tony Allen helped limit him to just 1-for-3 shooting in the first three periods.

The Suns brought their cold shooting over from the last three quarters of Friday’s tilt as they have now averaged 18.6 points per quarter on 37.5 percent shooting these past seven quarters after going for 24.6 a quarter on 47.6 percent marksmanship their previous 21. They also scored a porous 90.1 points per 100 possessions overall for this game.

The Suns have now been held to 81 points or fewer in consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 17-19, 2005, and yes, those games came during Phoenix’s six-game losing streak sans Nash that propelled him to his first of two MVPs.

The starters and reserves were equally ineffective with the starters shooting 40.8 percent and the reserves 36.7 percent, and this came with the inefficient Michael Beasley receiving a DNP-CD.

“It was just a night where they did a good job defensively and we didn’t shoot the ball well,” Gentry said. “They do a great job of playing on ball, and then they really play tight defense. You’ve got to be strong with the ball and you’ve got to set good screens. They just really got us out of anything that we were trying to do.”

Added Tucker, “We struggled offensively. We’ve got to find a way to put the ball in the basket. We’ve just got to find a way to get it done.”

Even with the West’s most efficient defense locking them up all game, the Suns still trailed by just six 31 seconds into the fourth quarter when they forced Memphis turnovers on a ridiculous five consecutive possessions.

Yet it was fitting for a game like this that the Suns could not shave a single point off the Grizzlies’ lead in this time, and Memphis soon exploded on a 15-5 run to put the game out of reach.

“That’s when we thought it [would happen],” Tucker said. “I was on the bench there, and I thought, ‘Here we go, we’re going to make a run,’ and we couldn’t get it in the basket. We couldn’t score. We were right there as always, we just couldn’t finish it off.”

The game did see Wes Johnson’s inaugural journey into the Suns’ rotation in place of Beasley. To some degree this could be seen as a move of Gentry grasping at straws and being willing to try anything, but in the place the Suns are at, why not?

Johnson drilled a couple three-pointers, blocked Rudy Gay in transition and overall looked like a guy who could play a role on this basketball team.

“I thought he did a good job,” Gentry said. “He made a couple of shots for us. You know it is the first time that he has played, guys. So we just figured that we should give him an opportunity to see what he can do. I thought he was pretty good defensively. I thought he did a good job on Rudy when he was in there and he made a couple of shots for us. So we will use him and see if he can help us out.”

Johnson had no idea Gentry would call his number tonight, but he said he’s continued to prepare for this opportunity every day at practice. He felt he got some of his early season jitters out tonight and that he can build on a performance like this.

However, it isn’t easy for a guy two and a half years removed from being the No. 4 overall pick to ride the pine all season on a struggling team.

“You just really can’t think about it too much,” Johnson said. “It is frustrating a little bit, but you can’t really let that bother you. Just come out there and be prepared. You’ve got to be a professional about it. Whenever you do get your number called, go out there and play.”

The Suns have now lost eight of nine after a brief four-game winning streak that followed a seven-game losing streak for an overall 5-15 mark since a 7-8 start.

This franchise has fought mediocrity in three of the past four seasons, but an organization that will soon become the fourth fastest to win 2,000 games (I think it’s soon) isn’t used to years like this at the bottom of the league’s standings.

Gentry’s message to the team is that first they must stay together. He understands the easiest thing to do is to point fingers and fragment, but along with Dudley he vows not to let that happens. Furthermore, Gentry said the players must believe in themselves, which can’t be easy after such a rough stretch.

“We have to believe that we can get this turned around and we’ve got to believe we can make a positive out of this,” Gentry said. “We’re not just going to play out the season or anything like that. We’re going to continue to work at it.

“We have to try different people, do different things. We’re in a bad situation, we’re in a bad spot right now, but the thing about this league is that the only one that can dig us out is ourselves.

“We have to do it within our team, and we have to be committed to each other, and we have to be committed to getting it turned around.”

It’s noble for the Suns’ coach to continue to preach such optimism, but with a brutal upcoming schedule it won’t be easy for Gentry to keep this team from fragmenting and tumbling further down the standings.

And 1

The Grizzlies outscored the Suns 19-1 on fast-break points. Seven Seconds or Less seems like a long, long time ago.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Memphis Grizzlies · P.J. Tucker · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Recap · Wesley Johnson

70 responses so far ↓

  • 1 jones // Jan 7, 2013 at 12:54 am

    “Gentry’s message to the team is that first they must stay together. He understands the easiest thing to do is to point fingers and fragment, but along with Dudley he vows not to let that happens. Furthermore, Gentry said the players must believe in themselves, which can’t be easy after such a rough stretch.”

    Very hard to do when the coach has shown no faith in a lot of his players.

    Gentry has done very little to foster unity/togetherness. A lot of the players – Dragic, Scola, JO play for themselves and not the team. Who can blame them – after all one day you’re a starter and the next, you can’t even crack the rotation. I’m not surprised this team can’t string together any wins.

    Gentry was the one that started the finger pointing.

  • 2 Luka // Jan 7, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Great loss for the Suns tonight. We’re right on pace for a decent draft pick this summer.

    The Lakers are also in a tailspin right now, which gives us hope for a higher pick as well.

    If you think the Suns had problems scoring against Memphis, just wait until they face the scrappy Bucks.

  • 3 Luka // Jan 7, 2013 at 1:24 am

    @Jones

    I agree with you. Gentry has been shuffling so many guys around it does seem impossible for any one guy to be consistent game to game.

    I don’t know why Wesley Johnson has been on the bench so long. He showed some promise in preseason. Many felt he’d have started ahead of Brown at the 2. Gentry is only now getting around to playing him.

    I think Alvin should get Tucker back on the bench and roll with Dudley and Johnson in the starting line-up. I’d then move Morris to the 5, give Beasley a shot at the 4, have Tucker at back-up SF, Brown and Telfair in the backcourt. That group would be a lot quicker and Beasley could get some pick and roll plays from Bassy.

  • 4 Alvin Gentry // Jan 7, 2013 at 1:58 am

    We didn’t do a good job to win the game. We just couldn’t make shots, and we didn’t do a good job defending them. Anytime you can’t score, and you let them score it just makes it hard to win. We gotta do a better job to make shots, and then do a better job to get stops.

  • 5 Rex Chapman // Jan 7, 2013 at 2:07 am

    When do I start?

  • 6 Luc Longley // Jan 7, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I’m still a free agent.

  • 7 azbballfan // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:41 am

    I was wondering what happened to Tom Leander

    i hear Eddie Johnson is still doing the games right?

    all i usually get to have is the radio feed from espn

    Anyway

    Suns didnt get it done tonight against a very good Grizzlies team

    Any NBA coach and his assistants put in endless hours preparing for games

    im just a fan but at some point i would have to say look

    Coach Gentry has been here a long time, alot of great things have happened since he has been here

    you have to have the talent to defend, and have someone to get the ball to when you really need a basket

    The Suns have been searching for someone this season to be the guy that gets them a crunch time basket

    that was the intention when they signed beasley

    I think Gentry is a real positive guy and will never say

    “We cant do it”

    I think hes doing what he can at this point

    Its got to be very frustrating to work, and work, and work and drill concepts into your players and then you go on the court and they forgot or misunderstood half of what you went over with them

    The Suns gotta commit to rebuilding and look at things from the ground up

    its nearly impossible to win and rebuild at the same time

    and i think fans expect the Suns to just magically win because we have gotten spoiled the last 10 years with the greatness of stoudemire, and marion, and joe johnson and steve nash

  • 8 SHAZAM // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:49 am

    @ scott i agree with you about what is the right type of gm for our club..i would also like to point out that Childress, Warrick, and Turkoglu were picked by sarver it was that period when we didnt have an FO..right after kerr left…sarvers biz resume isn’t how you imagine it..he is a trust fund baby who almost lost the entire family fortune in the real estate crash

  • 9 Robert Sarver // Jan 7, 2013 at 4:04 am

    We’re trying to win basketball games. It’s still early in the season. I feel Alvin is making progress. We’re a playoff team.

  • 10 john // Jan 7, 2013 at 8:10 am

    @VotS

    I’m not much for moderation in a forum like this, but I think something has to be done about bill.thomas. It’s simply not fun to comment with someone like that clogging things up. I doubt I’m the only one who feels that way, but I know you’ll do what you think is best.

  • 11 Luka // Jan 7, 2013 at 8:14 am

    @John

    Yeah B.T pulled an Alvin Gentry here. He apologized and said he was going to shorten his posts, then one day later he’s posting incessantly again.

  • 12 Lon Babby // Jan 7, 2013 at 8:26 am

    To do list:

    1. Get pastrami sandwich for lunch.

    2. Pick up supplies for team “togetherness” collage.

    3. Get mustard stain out of suit from last pastrami sandwich.

    4. Deliver Beasley updated medical marijuana card.

    5. Deliver adult diapers shipment to Robert’s office.

    6. Tell media we still feel the Suns are a playoff team.

  • 13 Andres // Jan 7, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Well I think the different lineup experiments have shown that the Suns desperately need a go to scorer to be able to win games. They have shown that with the current roster they are actually able to hang in there with most teams but not really win games. Sad but true. The season is over. Not even a good trade can save this season.

  • 14 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 8:58 am

    And the beat goes on. They don’t give up, but they’re just not that good. 35 games without significant injury or other turmoil, seems like more than enough to see that as a front office. The question is still how do they handle it? Will they stand pat and only make moves that make sense from a long term standpoint or will they try panic moves to try and stimulate interest right now?

    They’re barely above water at home,awful on the road, and awful in back to backs. Iow another long losing streak or two could materialize and as football winds down over the month, the attention turns to hoops. The pressure to do something will probably be high, but the market looks poor so far. The new luxury tax curtain and the ability to simply stretch new contrast you don’t like seem to be having an effect on the market. Why take garbage back for a Beasley or Courtney Lee that haven’t worked out,when you can make their cap hits minimal in the offseason and get a roster spot?

    Don’t make a dog deal Suns, and don’t start falling head over heels for every big name has been that gets squeezed our in the coming year as squads get ready for the new tax thresholds.

  • 15 Michael Schwartz // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:03 am

    I moderated all his comments on this thread, and as much as I hate banning people, I’ll do it if this continues to be a problem.

  • 16 Andres // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:03 am

    @DBreezy – I think they will continue as they are right now unless they can get a good player or 2 in exchange of Gortat.
    By having a team that is able to hang in there with the majority of the teams with such a low payroll (second to last lowest payroll in the whole league) they are not giving signs of wanting to tank but they are actually tanking to try to land the next star of the franchise without admitting it in public while keeping cost down. That next “star” doesnt mean via draft but it could also mean trading a high pick for a good player

  • 17 john // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I think one player (assuming it’s the RIGHT player, of course), would be enough to turn this team into a 5-8 seed, but it’s clear that the offensive scheme the coaching staff is pushing is not working for this group of players, and I don’t think it’s solely because of lack of talent. Every player with a significant role on this team has averaged more PPG at some point recently in their careers. They’re capable, but the system isn’t working for them.

    Also, please note that I’m not saying more points would necessarily equate to more wins. They still have to play defense (another thing I don’t think the coaching staff is doing a very good job with). More points would simply mean they might be able to get out of that terrible habit of going scoreless for five minutes while their opponents go on 13-0 runs. Plus, more points would at least add a little more entertainment value.

  • 18 Andres // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

    @ John – I do think is lack of star latent. Which of the current Suns player has been the #1 or #2 option on previous teams? None of them. I agree with you that one right player can turn this team into a playoff team.

  • 19 THE REAL LON BABBY // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Andres has nailed it shhhhhhh

  • 20 Voqar // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:20 am

    @jones

    I don’t agree. It’s not Gentry’s job to coddle people. Players who don’t defend or do squat on offense or at all (Beasely) need to sit.

    @Luka
    We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. It’s possible the FO wants Gentry to play/not play people based on contracts they’ve handed out since sitting the people they selected makes them look (deservedly) bad.

    I would like to see Johnson play more to see what he can do since he has barely played.

    I don’t think any lineup this team fields is going to win much. Overall the team defense is weak most of the time with only flashes of good. The offense may be even worse.

    It’s tough to win a lot when your team’s talent is lower than your opponents. Tough to pin that on the coaching.

    The coach can’t make players make the wide open shots they do get. For ex Scola was on fire but missed a lot o jumpers last night and other players were throwing up some serious bricks too at the same time.

    Maybe the suns do need a new voice but it’s not like a new coach is gonna turn this bunch into contenders.

  • 21 THE REAL LON BABBY // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:22 am

    @ john..we are trying to win a championship..adding one superstar wont do it..we would then need a number 2 star and robert cant afford that so we are going to pretend to play b ball..lose a lot and hope for good drafts..we will not hire a new coach this season we have one paid for..you cant polish a turd so why spend coach money on trying..robert disagrees he thinks a new coach will create excitement and sell tickets for a couple of weeks..thats all he cares about..im looking long term

  • 22 Elviro (Italy) // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

    BLACK HOLE SUNS !

  • 23 john // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:24 am

    One more thing. As much as I love hustle guys who put forth effort, comeback stories, redemption stories, etc etc etc, no one on this team who is less efficient than Shannon Brown should ever see the floor.

    Using PER as a metric, that would exclude the following players from floor time:

    PJ Tucker – 11.4
    Sebastian Telfair – 11.1
    Michael Beasley – 9.9
    The rest of the guys lower than Beasley are the ones already warming the bench (Zeller, Garret, Marshall, and Johnson)

    I want to see those three succeed, but they’re just not going to, and they’re all killing the team’s chances when they’re on the floor. I know the rotations would be impossible to manage, and the minutes required for the remaining 7 players who are somewhat decent would be unsustainable, so it won’t happen, but if this team could somehow run with a 7-man rotation, I don’t think they would be that bad (Read: 0.500).

    If this team can draft well this year (get a rookie capable of playing defense who can post a PER between 15-17 or a rookie who can flat-out score the ball (~20+ PPG)) and/or swing a trade that can get them one more guy with a PER around 18 while hanging onto Dragic, Dudley and either Marcin or O’Neal, the future could get brighter quickly.

    There are a lot of ways the future could get brighter, I guess. The bad part is that this season will be very, very dark in the Valley of the Sun, and that’s the only sure thing we have, as fans, at the moment.

  • 24 SHAZAM // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:34 am

    @john ..what about intangibles w/ tucker?..i keep hearing about him getting the 50 50 balls and blocking out well..you say keep him on the bench..hmmmm ..your posts are math based and i believe in that as well but break down better for me why he should be benched..if you will

  • 25 john // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:34 am

    @Andres – I agree. I think there a serious lack of star talent. The hopes of the SSOL era died when Amar’e went to NY (not that I think the Suns should have kept Amar’e). Finding that next star will be tough.

    @Shazam/Lon

    You certainly can win a championship with one superstar. It’s not extremely likely, but it can most definitely happen. Recent examples: Chauncey Billups (yes, he was a superstar for a couple of years with the Pistons. Check out his numbers. He was Chris Paul before Chris Paul was Chris Paul), Dwyane Wade (no, Shaq was not a superstar in those Finals. If I remember correctly, Shaq’s numbers were something like 10/10. Dwyane Wade put up the single best Finals performance the NBA has ever seen, and that’s why the Heat won that first ‘ship), Dirk Nowitzki.

    Goran and Dudley are good enough to fill the shoes of the Rip Hamiltons and JJ Bareas of the world.

    Regardless, I wasn’t even trying to say the Suns are close to a championship in the first place. I’m saying one player of star calibur (again, assuming it’s the right player) would put this team in the hunt assuming Dudley, Dragic, and one of the bigs stuck around for the ride. Everyone else is expendable.

  • 26 Forever is2long // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Where is Clyde Drexler? He predicted the Suns would be a 4th or 5th seed in the playoffs. I thought it was the dumbest statement I heard before the season started. I never thought this was even a .500 team so their struggles are not surprising. I do hope they play Wesley Johnson more.
    We could get help in the draft if we had someone other than Babby and Blanks leading the cruise ship. I get sick everytime I think of the fact we drafted Morris and Marshall with consecutive lottery picks and in my opinion neither one has the potential to be an NBA starter.

  • 27 SHAZAM // Jan 7, 2013 at 10:04 am

    shaq qualifies as a number 2 star…not many opponents drove to the rim that season

  • 28 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

    @ Andres,

    I think they’ll continue to stand pat too, but I’m never sure with these guys. The key with Gortat is knowing when to pull the trigger as I don’t think the offers are going to be what they want. Even with superstars there is a tendency for the trading team to overvalue what their player is worth on the market and Marcin is not a superstar. I have a nagging suspicion they get close to moving him by the trade deadline, but ultimately don’t compete a deal. Then they end up trading him during draft time for a lesser package.

    At some point tanking, for lack of a better name, just makes sense though. They’re not going anywhere and have 25 of their 47 remaining games on the road where they have won twice. Why harm your draft position for that? I’m not advocating shameless moves with fake injuries and other garbage, but it’s probably time to start playing the younger guys more if for no other reason than to see what you’ve got for this front office or the next one.

    As for where the future star comes from, playing the odds you have to say that it will be from the draft at this point. The Suns have moved all of their best trade pieces and didn’t get stars, prospects, or high draft picks in return. They haven’t set themselves up to be so far below the cap to be able to attract multiple stars to join together here. There’s always a chance that a Harden type deal occurs, but do the Suns have the assets to pull it off? Do they even end up with a Harden who is a winner on top of being very good or do they get an Eric Gordon who has been very good but not much of a winner everywhere he’s been?

    If I had to guess, I’d say best case scenario is that they get a #2 type option in this draft along with some other picks, while also shedding guys like Gortat, Scola and maybe others for more picks and young assets. Another turd of a season yields a potential lead star perhaps in Wiggins or Parker. Then a promising season that yields one more lottery pick before they’re finally good again. Is that a fugly scenario depending heavily on luck in both draft positioning and front office chops? Absolutely. But it’s the corner they’ve painted themselves into as they don’t really have any assets-an official Suns fire sale wouldn’t attract much attention around the league.

  • 29 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 10:51 am

    @Foreveris,

    I thought you were asking about Clyde because the Suns could use a reliable scoring wing. Who do you like in the draft so far? Looks like the Suns should be top 8-ish.

  • 30 azbballfan // Jan 7, 2013 at 10:53 am

    PER is a great tool for sure

    but PER doesnt capture plays you wont find in a box score

    it doesnt capture fundamentals like boxing out

    running down a loose ball

    forcing the other team to change their shot

    No wonder the Suns are mediocre if the real lon babby says sarver cant pay for some super star players and only cares about selling tickets for a few good weeks or barely making the playoffs

    and then sarver supposedly comes in and says this is a playoff team.

    this is the internet soy you never know if its actually them

    but if Sarver cant afford it, then the Suns gotta look at getting players that they could turn INTO stars

    i mentioned in a previous post players who could be had who are you, talented, and barely play on their own teams

    surely we can get Anthony Randolph

    i dont think his contract was that big and he is getting a paltry 7 minutes a game

    atleast have Babby make a phone call to OKC about the pick their getting from Toronto if that pick is indeed unprotected.

  • 31 john // Jan 7, 2013 at 11:12 am

    @Shazam – Shaq’s 2006 NBA Finals per-game stats per NBA dot com:

    PTS/REB/BLK/AST : 13.7/10.2/0.83/2.8

    I’m not saying Shaq was terrible in those Finals, but to call those superstar (or even number 2 star) numbers is more than a bit of a stretch.

    And @Shazam & azbballfan – I agree that PER isn’t the only metric to consider when evaluating players. Like I said, I root for guys with heart. I root for the comeback kids. I want those types of players to succeed. PJ Tucker is my favorite player on this Suns squad (man, that really nails it home how pathetic this team is, haha), but he’s just not good. He has been given enough time to prove his value, and he simply isn’t good for this squad. A highly offensively efficient squad lacking a perimeter defender would do well to pick up Tucker for the 10-15 minutes per game he could provide to pester likes of Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant. However, that’s just not what the Suns need. He’s lacking in every other area of his game besides hustle and smarts.

    Hustle and intelligence can be used by inferior athletes to boost good teams (LeBron can make up for the faults of his teammates, for example), but the Suns don’t have the loaded roster to make up for the faults of a PJ Tucker.

    Like I said, I love the guy. I want him to succeed, but I really don’t believe he’s a good fit for this team.

  • 32 Sillmarillion // Jan 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Is there any player on this team who started every game? I don’t think so… So this shows us how clueless everybody in this organization is :(

  • 33 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Hasn’t Gortat started every game? Goran would have if not for injury or illness.

  • 34 Cam // Jan 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    So a trade rosterbation for everyone:
    Milwaukee gets- Gortat, Beasley, PJ Tucker
    Suns get- Ilyasova, Dalembert, Doron Lamb and maybe pry 2013 or 2014 1st round pick.

    The Bucks get a little bit of cap relief, a legit C, and take on a crappy contrac that is two years shorter than Ilyasovas. The Suns get an underperforming SF in Ilyasova, who does have a contract that could become a burden if he doesn’t live up to last years performance, a young SG that had some promise coming out of Kentucky and was known as a shooter.
    Go Suns

  • 35 Scott // Jan 7, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    I see Tucker as an 11th man.

    You have him on the team because he can adequately fill a hole on the wing, but other than that, the players ahead of him should be so skilled that Tucker doesn’t have a chance of getting on the court.

    If the Suns had a healthy Frye and a star SG, they’d be in a lot better shape than they are now.

    As for Drexler’s comments … I think he was not far off, if Gentry was a better coach.

    Gentry has lost most of the games this season by a relatively small margin. He has done it by playing Beasley, and by not using Telfair and Dragic together on the court to close out close games. He’s done it by not playing Johnson (assuming Johnson is as good as he looked against Memphis). He’s done it by under-utilizing Gortat at times.

    IMO, probably 10 of this team’s losses, so far, can be put at the feet of the coach.

  • 36 Scott // Jan 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    @SHAZAM -

    While I realize Sarver has the ultimate responsibility for picking Warrick, Childress, and trading for Turkoglu, I’m inclined to believe someone advised him on those picks. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the combination of Kerr and Gentry, with some influence by Babby before he was installed in the Suns’ FO.

    I just don’t see Sarver as the kind of guy who makes a pick on his own and then foists it on the team, with the possible exception of the bid on Scola and the insistence on getting Dragic. (Considering those last two, maybe Sarver is developing some assertiveness. I have no idea.)

    As for Sarver’s banking acumen, keep in mind he’s still in business while so many banks are not.

    Here’s a list of banks that failed …

    http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist.html

  • 37 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    @Scott,

    Idk, I was just reading Marc Stein’s latest power spankings and his note on the Cavs point out that they lead the league in losses by 3pts or less. Iow the Suns aren’t alone or special there and the avg point differential of both squads seem to bear that out. It’s not like either squad is close to zero or positive like teams that are close to turning the corner tend to be.

  • 38 Lon Babby // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Will the real Lon Babby please stand up?

    Will the real Lon Babby please stand up?

    We’re gonna have a problem here…

  • 39 Jeff from Jersey // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    yall act like you never seen a lottery team before

  • 40 azbballfan // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I think Gortat has started over 100 straight games at center for the Suns

    I read that somewhere

    Hopefully the Suns can make a move at the deadline

    they said they were not gonna make any moves a few years ago and traded dragic away so anything can happen

  • 41 Polish_fan // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    trade beasley morris telfairfor one solid shoter

  • 42 Concerned Suns Fan // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Bring back michael redd, and acquire the white mamba.

  • 43 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Jaws all on the floor like Pam, like Tommy just burst in the door….

  • 44 Scott // Jan 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    @DBreezy -

    I’m not making the argument that the Suns lost close games and that’s what makes them special. I’m making the argument that the Suns had close games and lost them because Gentry didn’t use his best players and best lineups.

    To me, Dragic is the Brandon Roy of this year’s Suns. He can play either guard spot, but he’s more of a scorer than a pure point. He plays well along with other combo guards, as he demonstrated playing with Barbosa against the Spurs in that old playoff series. Late in the 4th you want the ball in his hands to score, and you want a PG by his side to lock down on defense and to either shoot the 3 or hit the open man.

    In the Dragic / Barbosa combo, it was logical to put Barbosa at SG because he was a little bigger / longer, and of the two, Dragic was the better distributor.

    Speaking of Dragic playing with combo guards, it was interesting for me to see how much creation Brown did while starting at SG. He took a lot of the play making load off of Dragic, and it helped keep the ball moving.

    When it was clear (in pre-season) that Beasley was not the team’s best go-to scorer, Gentry should have moved Dragic to SG in crunch time and put Telfair in as PG (he’s a better defender than Brown, and Telfair is shooting nearly 10% better from 3 than Brown).

    Gentry spoke of doing something like this early in the season. He may have even tried it once, but he went away from it; I’m not sure why, but I suspect it has to do with PG minutes, and Gentry’s unwillingness to sub in one of the junior PGs for a bit.

    For the heck of it, here’s the Suns roster sorted by PER.

    18.36 Dragic
    17.44 Scola
    17.21 Gortat
    16.95 O’Neal
    15.89 Dudley
    14.18 Morris
    13.44 Brown
    11.47 Tucker
    11.16 Telfair
    9.98 Beasley
    9.07 Johnson
    8.21 Garrett
    7.05 Zeller
    0.92 Marshall

    As we all know, PER is not PER-fect, but it gives a general sense of player quality. It’s not the best indicator of defense, hustle, or creation, it is influenced by who else is on the court, and it needs a lot of player minutes to give an accurate reading.

    For the Suns, a lineup of Dragic, Scola, Gortat, Dudley, and Brown is the best grouping you can put on the floor based on PER. Not surprisingly, this has also been the most successful starting unit for the Suns this season. The problem is that of this group, Brown is below the league average in PER, he’s on the small side for his position, and while he has his good moments, he’s not an excellent defender. His scoring is also very streaky.

    For many games, Gentry started Beasley, who is the 10th man on this list. He’s the team’s 10th best man, and he was not only starting, he was given the green light to take the ball on his own and score. It’s no wonder the Suns lost many early games.

    Johnson has a PER of 9.07, making him the 11th man, but that is in severely limited minutes. The PER reading is probably not accurate. As we saw in the last game, he appears to play defense at least as well as Beasley, and he can spread the floor with 3 point shooting. His 3 pt accuracy is not great at this point, at 33%, but it’s slightly better than both Brown (29%) and Beasley (32%). Johnson should be a better defender than Brown with his greater size and length.

    Taking all of this into consideration, I think the rational move is to start the four best players (Dragic, Dudley, Scola, and Gortat), and have the starting SG based on match-ups. If the opposing SG is small, go with Brown. If the opposing SG is taller, go with Johnson.

    As for Tucker, he would get played according to match-ups as well. He would get subbed in at SG if either Brown or Johnson is ineffective at defending their man.

    Johnson and Tucker would also vie for the role of 2nd string SF.

    When to use Tucker? For defense, obviously, but also for efficient offense. Tucker is shooting 39% from 3, but he’s a high efficiency / low volume type scorer, so he’s best paired on the wing with a high volume player. Good combinations would be SG Brown / SF Tucker, SG Tucker/ SF Johnson, SG Dragic / SF Tucker, and SG Tucker / SF Beasley, but normally not SG Tucker / SF Dudley, as Dudley tends to be a low volume / efficient scorer type too.

  • 45 Kevin // Jan 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    For me, I enjoy the “season” more than any particular game. I love being a fanatic fan of a sports team like the Suns because I love the story arcs of the season. I invest in watching 82 games because I want to experience the whole narrative of the team’s season, good or bad.

    A .500 team can be very interesting, or very boring. A team at the extremes, either very good or very bad, is sure to be interesting.

    If the Suns turn it around, then we’ll have experienced a great story in Suns history, and we’ll have been there through thick and thin. If this turns out to be historically bad, then relish in the extreme badness–you might only get to see a team tank like this once or twice in a lifetime.

  • 46 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    @Scott,

    Nice analysis and great comments on PER and it’s proper context. It sadly reminded me of when I used to do longer analysis of the individual gameplay over on the AZC forums. I still watch a lot or the little things, I just don’t comment much on them because I don’t think this is a very good team and I wish to keep my sanity.

    You are probably correct that the Suns have most likely lost opportunities to win a few more games if the right combos on the court. Part of the reason I chose the Cavs in my prior post wasn’t just what I read in the Power Rankings, but because they have a solid coach in Byron Scott. He has two finals appearances on his resume and did a nice job with the Hornets as well. However his squad also suffers from an inability to close out games despite have two players with closing shot capability. They’re just not a good team despite having far fewer rotation questions then the Suns and a much clearer idea of who’s going to take the shots down the stretch.

    Outside of Dragic, I don’t think anyone has been consistent for this team although Scola and Tucker have come closest. That’s really added to the woes of finding the right combos. Beasley’s presence didn’t make Dudley miss wide open shots early in the season or cause Gortat to finish like Michael Flatkey at the rim. Brown could hit 6 3′s in a quarte but he could also shoot you out of a game just as easily with D that’s every bit as bad as Beasley’s.

    IMO that’s the original reason that Gentry went with the two pg lineup. Teams with quicker, combo guard types at the two kill the Suns because neither of their 2′s are good defensively. Dudley gets blown by and Brown backs up so much that jumpers are easy. Gentry got sick of watching Dion Waiters go off so he tried the two pg lineup. I don’t think he really likes it for the reasons you stated, the fact that it somewhat let’s Dudley/Brown off the hook for their D, and because of the logjam it creates at the 3 in theory at least.

    In any case without consistent play it’s little surprise that the rotations have changed and they will change again. EJ was talking about this the other day on KTAR. The amazing thing is that they still play hard night in and out for Alvin. That fact may hurt Beasley more than anything as scouts watch him if he keeps sulking his way down the bench.

    Bright Side made a good point that from now to the trade deadline is basically a big audition for Gentry, Babby and Blanks. I suspect that we may see some more of the things you would like to see rotation wise after that time period, perhaps earlier if the long losing streaks continue. I honestly wonder how long a team containing players who have every reason to go on personal agendas (Gortat, Wes, Brown, Scola, O’Neal, Tucker, Telfair, etc) is still fighting together.

  • 47 azbballfan // Jan 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    The Suns might be mediocre but atleast it makes sense with their roster

    I have no idea why the Lakers and all their talent cant get it together

  • 48 DBreezy // Jan 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    @azbbalfan,

    I think a lot of it starts with Gasol and Howard. They’ve got a lot of convenient excuses(brown, D’Antoni, Nash injury, back injury, age, etc) but it really comes down to two main guys who are basically acting like babies.

    Pau, quit whining you’re past your prime but can still be a very effective player if you just hold down your role and stop listening to every dumb thing Magic says. Phil took you out of the post 2+ seasons ago in favor of Bynum, stop acting ‘confused about tour role’ because Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni have done the same.

    Howard and his BK buddy Deron Williams never seem to be happy and it always seems to be someone else’s fault. I could line with that if they still played hard, but they don’t. I half expected D’Antoni to take a jab at Howard in his recent remarks in response to Amar’e saying that at least Amar’e played hard for him even if he wasn’t always happy. Not to bring up old stuff with my man Foreveris, but as I said with Lopez a bad back may affect your elevation and timing off the floor, but it shouldn’t hurt your ability to be in the right position defensively. Howard should look at his role on this team like KG did when he got to Boston. Set the tone defensively and get together with Gasol and Artest especially and say that nobody scores easy inside on us. Make a deal with Kobe and Nash that if they play proper position D, they’ve got their back. Protect them on D so they can close on O and everybkdy’s scoring numbers wil be good in D’Antoni’s offense. Instead he’s a pouting joke.

    No way those guys get a high seed, but an attitude change on D from Howard and Gasol and I could see them going on a big run at the same time Nash begins to assert himself more within the offense. I want their pick, but they’re not far enough out of the playoff picture for me to believe the Suns will get it especially with so many new and young squads trying to get postseason spots.

  • 49 Tony // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    @SHAZAM,

    once again Scott is absolutely wrong. It’s getting to a point in which he totally ignores reality in favor of fantasy and dictates his uncredible opinions as facts. Sorry to sound harsh Scott, but you’re getting ridiculous with blaming Kerr for the Suns predicament instead of where the blame truly belongs and your insistence on blaming Gentry for the Suns woes is also complete nonsense.

    Firstly, Sarver has a well-known and infamous reputation for being a micromanager. Reportedly, after his first season as Suns owner, he chased out Bryan Colangelo, who was then the team’s GM, because Sarver wanted to cut his salary on his then upcoming contract. Sarver was instrumental in JJ’s departure from the Suns, so much so that Joe Johnson publicly complained abouit Sarver’s involvement in his contract negotiations. Sarver was also instrumental in not extending Marion’s and Amare’s contracts. Just read about what those guys had to say about Sarver. You can’t find anything positive said by them about how Sarver’s run the organization. Finally, Sarver was reportedly one of the major proponents of the most recent NBA lockout.

    As far as Gentry is concerned, there is no rational basis to conclude that he has much authority in terms of the players he wants on the roster. It’s absolutely absurd to claim the contrary because that were so, then that would mean that Gentry prefers coaching an almost entirely new roster each season as Suns head coach, it would mean he preferred replacing superstar players, such as Amare and Nash with role players, and it would mean that he was no longer interested in coaching his favorite player, Grant Hill.

    Contrary to Scott’s assertion, Gentry is probably one of the least influential head coaches in the entire NBA. Just look no further than his contract. He’s one of the lowest paid head coaches in the NBA. Not only that, it’s been well documentated that the FO, primarily Blanks, have not been fans of Gentry. The forced hiring of “defensive-specialist” coach Turner to be his assistant was a sign of disrespect against Gentry. Lastly, by refusing to extend Gentry’s contract, the FO has placed him in the unenviable position of trying to achieve immediate success with a roster full of role players while also developing some of the younger role players.

    In conclusion, Scott is absolutely wrong about Kerr’s influence, about Gentry’s influence regarding roster changes and about the Suns losses. That’s not to say Gentry is a great coach because he certainly isn’t. However, the fact the Suns were nationally-ranked in the bottom-tier of the NBA, in conjunction with a record that is slightly better than what many national pundits predicted the Suns record to be, and the fact that at the very least, the Suns continue to fight hard and remain competitive in games instead of just giving up and getting blown out, is a testiment to what a good job Gentry has done with this horrible roster.

  • 50 Tony // Jan 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    @Dbreezy,

    good stuff you posted as usual. Since I live in LA, I get to watch the Lakers play on most nights and based on watching them, I couldn’t agree more with you. In addition to Gasol being a baby, he simply has become so slow and unable to generate any lift that he’s no longer an asset to the team. I know he’s been dealing with knee and foot injuries throughout the season and I have no doubt that’s what is the root cause of his lack of agility and quickness, and I think it’s getting to a point in which Gasol should probably consider taking a substantial amount of the season off to just rest and heal his knees and feet.

    I can tell you that one of the most critical problems facing the Lakers, which also happens to be the least reported, is that although Kobe is having one of his best statistical seasons in his career, he’s killing this team’s chances of success. Typically, through the first three quarters of Lakers games, the ball movement on the offensive-end is good, with Nash leading the offense and getting others involved. But when it’s the fourth quarter of games, for whatever reason, Kobe goes into full blown-isolation mode, and the offense becomes stagnant because of him. Sure he makes a lot of tough shots, but the team usually loses games as a result of him trying to take-over games and him hogging the ball.

    Of course the dummies in the media, i.e., Steven A. Smith, refuse to criticize Kobe, but to any person with some understanding of basketball it is obvious that if Kobe would just simply play 4th quarters like he has been doing in through the first three quarters of games, that the Lakers would win many more games. Instead, as of now however, he continually kills the Lakers team chemistry and offensive flow in fourth quarters by continuing to hold the ball for too long and only looking to shoot then.

  • 51 SHAZAM // Jan 7, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    funny world both pau and dirk need to be traded but not many takers.

  • 52 Michael // Jan 8, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Dirk has a no-trade clause.
    Dallas is done anyway, they will be in this hole we’ve been in (just missing the playoffs, bad lottery picks, aging stars).
    I see a realistic chance the Lalas could really miss the postseason. What a sweet draft pick would that be, even if it turns out to become only a low lottery pick…

  • 53 Luka // Jan 8, 2013 at 2:41 am

    The Suns have a pretty good chance to get this situation turned around.

    Treloar and Blanks just need to do their damn jobs right for once. The scouting on this team has been piss poor. This roster can’t handle anymore draft busts.

    As far as LA goes… Kobe is a ball hog, and Nash hasn’t been able to really get control of the offense. I do think Dwight and Pau are legitimately battling injury. Outside of that they have a horrific bench, and no shooters. I think the Lakers will deal Gasol for several players by the deadline and try to add more depth to their roster.

  • 54 azbballfan // Jan 8, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Yeah i think the Lakers dont have any picks for like the next four drafts

    The Lakers are a money making machine

    so its not like they couldnt have added quality depth to their bench

    I think everyone in the Lakers organization just assumed the team was going to 65-17 or something and would just cruise to the playoffs

    Yeah i think Dallas is going to be in a rebuilding process soon as well

    in fact, how many formerly elite teams are NOT struggling this season?

    i hear Golden State is doing well even without Adrew Bogut

  • 55 Michael // Jan 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Trading Bogut for Gortat 1 on 1 makes no sense. Gortat is better and has the much smarter contract.
    If we could squeeze out sth from GSW, this deal could be a win/win. 2014 unprotected 1st rounder from GSW plus Barnes or Thompson, but I doubt Golden State would accept anything like that, as they have a great team chemistry with their two young guns at the 2 and 3. And they have a smart owner and intelligent FO (you can see how important that is).

  • 56 john // Jan 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

    @Michael – “And they have a smart owner…”

    Last year, that same man was booed off the court by his own fans at a ceremony offering Chris Mullins, if I remember correctly. He was being called every name in the book by his community. Amazing how losing brings out the boo birds and winning shuts them up, and somehow, even when the same people are involved in both situations, the hypocrisy (and lunacy) of the maniacal, bloodthirsty bandwagoners rarely gets pointed out.

    Consider this to be pointing them out.

    In a couple of years when the Suns begin to win again, I’ll be pointing the same thing out to all the Suns fans who are blaming the owner for the woes of this team.

    I’m not trying to knock you or anything, I just think it’s funny how quickly the perception of an individual can change once they start winning. See: Donald Sterling, Jerry Reinsdorf, Mark Cuban, etc etc etc.

  • 57 Tony // Jan 8, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    @John,

    are you seriously comparing the job the Warriors new ownership has done with the Suns ownership????

    Firstly, Sarver has never been regarded as a good owner and in fact, the general consensus of the national sports pundits has consistently been that Sarver is a meddling and cheap baffoon. His reputation as such is well deserved.

    Secondly, the reason why the Warriors fans’ booed Joe Lacob, the Warriors owner, was because he traded away fan favorite Monte Ellis, which coincidentially, was the appropriate thing to do. The fans did not boe him because he was cheap or because he decimated a highly talented roster to save money. Thus, his situation in no way compares to Robert Sarver’s, whom in addition to doing the latter two, has also been a meddlesome owner.

    Now is it possible that Sarver turns this franchise around? Of course it is, but how likely is that to happen? In my opinion, the Suns franchise is doomed so long as Sarver is the principal owner of the organization. Either it’s because he’s cheap or because he doesn’t have the financial resources to turn things around; regardless, he’s been a disaster since taking over and our best hope of seeing this franchise return to relevancy is only going to come via new ownership.

  • 58 john // Jan 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I made no comparison to the jobs of either front office.

    I made the observation that bandwagon fans are fickle, volatile idiots.

    Win and I love you. Lose and I want to see heads roll.

    You fall very much into that camp.

  • 59 john // Jan 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Also, I keep hearing that Gentry is one of the lowest paid coaches in the NBA. Where are you getting your numbers?

    As far as I know, coaches’ salary numbers are a little hard to come by. He’s making somewhere around $2M, which would be bottom half in the NBA, but I’m really struggling to see why it would be justifiable to pay him more… what has he done? Also, it’s worth noting that Terry Porter is being paid more than Alvin Gentry to NOT coach (another brilliant Kerr move, *rolls eyes*). The Suns are actually paying out somewhere in the neighborhood of $5M to head coaching this season. That would be near the top of the league. I have looked at zero numbers on this, but I would bet that less than a handful of coaches make more than $5M. Rivers, D’Antoni, and maybe Popovich and Adelman…

    Scott Skiles was making something like $4.5M before he got sacked. Does that prove that the Bucks are such a great organization because they’re willing to pay for “top tier” coaching?

    Sorry I’m all over the place with this, but I am just truly baffled at what you think is so wrong with paying Gentry *just* ~$2M, putting him in the bottom half of coaches. What’s the alternative that you’re proposing that is so much better? Do you even have an alternative? Or do you just like to whine?

  • 60 Michael // Jan 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    In my opinion not only “bandwagon fans” (whatever definition about that might be suitable for you) are allowed to criticise Mr. Sarver and the FO for the developement the whole Suns team has made for the last couple of seasons.
    As you have pointed fingers to the Warriors situation from last season, where Mr. Lacob made a huge change by trading their franchise player and fan favourite, you have to see the results of that move.
    He got the franchise from a losing one to a very entertaining and successful, pretty much the reputation the Suns had for years. Isn´t it ok to applaude for that?

    And Mr. Sarver took over the Suns when the franchise was entertaining and successful, traded the franchise player and one of the fan favourites and the organisation is on a steady decline. Isn´t it ok to blast him for that?

    I have no clue what your point is in berating anyone who dares to blame the responsibles for this horrible developement.

  • 61 john // Jan 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    “…you have to see the results of that move.”

    Right, which is why I pointed out that it was so stupid of Warriors fans to react with such vitriol when Ellis was traded and the Warriors were in the midst of a terrible season (and a terrible few years). Fans reacted irrationally with vitriol, hatred, and a complete lack of class and decency. That “irrationally” qualifier is unnecessary, actually. It goes without saying that it’s irrational to act like a barbarian.

    Sarver had a run of 7 years or so that was rivaled in Suns history by only the Barkley Suns. Whether or not you want to give most of the credit to Jerry for making that team happen, I don’t care. I’m not going to get into that. The point is that until 2008, there is hardly even a WHISPER of a negative comment related to Sarver among fans or media members. Seriously, google it, you won’t find anything before the Johnson trade. The whispers grow after the Johnson trade and escalate to their highest point at around 2010, to the point that Sarver gains such a reputation that he is blamed by some for holding up the lockout when most reputable people who were actually in the rooms have said that Sarver was one of the biggest reasons basketball actually happened last season…

    The whining of fans isn’t noble. It’s the ear-piercing screaming and stomping of two-year-olds who had their shiny new toy plucked from their hands.

    Blaming is easy. I think that’s my biggest issue. It’s EASY to point fingers. And there is no retribution. Being an armchair bully carries absolutely no threat of retribution. Presenting solutions is a much more challenging and worthwhile endeavor.

    And lastly, NONE of the people who sit in their chairs and throw insults at the coaching staff, FO, or ownership would ever want those things said to themselves. I think, most of all, I’d just like people to maintain SOME level of decency when they’re “criticizing.”

    Btw, Michael, I’m not directly accusing you of contributing to some of the awful things that have been thrown out there about the Suns FO in hyperbole (in what twisted minds believe to be “good fun”). You just happened to bring up the talking point.

    I have no problem with cricism. It’s a good and necessary aspect of development and progress. Most of what I read regarding the Suns FO does not fit that bill, however. It’s purely infantile, nonsensical, tasteless insults with no merit whatsoever. I DO have a problem with that.

  • 62 Michael // Jan 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I do not insult Sarver, I just think he as the owner is clearly the one being responsible for the massive decline of our Suns.
    He competes with/against other owners, and he has fallen off heavily the last seasons.
    You can see decisions that were so obviously bad that you cannot ignore that.
    I think we both can agree that criticism has to have a certain quality/ level, but you HAVE to criticise for these decisions that turned or franchise at the bottom of the league.

  • 63 Michael // Jan 8, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Well, and I would be very pleased and would certainly praise him if he doesn’t go for Gay or at best gets us Gay plus tons of future drafts in exchange for some Beasleys, Browns, … Well, simple as that, a trade where the whole league clearly states: “Well done, PHX!”

  • 64 Tony // Jan 8, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    @John,

    From Arizona Republic’s Paul Coro, “Gentry still ranks among the lowest paid coaches for the coming season at $1.95 million…,” cited to Arizona Republic in regards to his salary for the 2011-2012 season. Now, although that was last year’s salary, I think you would be hard-pressed to claim that he received a significant increase this season.

    Anyhow, my only point about Gentry’s salary was that to some degree it indicates the degree of influence , or lack thereof, he has with Sarver. In other words, if Gentry had as much influence on the team’s roster as Scott contends, I highly doubt he would fall into the bottom-tier category of coaches salary, especially since the Suns still rank 10th in terms of NBA market value. In short, my belief in whether Gentry’s salary is proportional to his ability and success as Suns head coach was not the issue.

    Regardless, it’s useless debating with someone drinking Sarver’s koolaide. I suppose ignorane is bliss for you.

  • 65 Tony // Jan 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    “The point is that until 2008, there is hardly even a WHISPER of a negative comment related to Sarver among fans or media members. Seriously, google it, you won’t find anything before the Johnson trade.”

    Right John, because Sarver was the Suns owner for so many years prior to the JJ trade, right????? Sarver was only in his second year as the Suns owner when he traded JJ and when his infamou reputation for being a lousy owner began. So, are you seriously suggesting that because fans didn’t criticize Sarver for his first year as team owner, in which he inherited an immensely talented roster left to him by Jerry and Bryan Colangelo, that therefore, Suns fans have been fickle?

    Secondly, please verify your source(s) that claimed Sarver was instrumental in ending the lockout. The only source I have ever seen to suggest that Sarver wanted the lockout to end was Sarver himself. It was repeately reported from ESPN and other national pundits that Sarver and the Cavs owner Dan Gilbert were the primary ones preventing a deal. From ESPN, “Cleveland’s Dan Gilbert and Phoenix’s Robert Sarver expressed their dissatisfaction…The sources said that the Knicks’ James Dolan and the Lakers’ Jerry Buss were visibly annoyed by the hardline demands of Gilbert and Sarver.” From ProBasketballTalk.com, “Once again, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver was the most vocal proponent of the owner’s case, and he befuddled players by insisting that his wife had asked him to bring back the middle level exception in a designer bag.”

    So John, either your terrible at research which is why you were unable to formulate any rational basis for your opinions or you prefer to remain disinterested of facts.

  • 66 john // Jan 8, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    @Michael

    I think the Suns had a “Well done, PHX” deal with the Gortat trade… HOWEVER, I don’t really count that in their favor because they were dumb enough to get Hedo in the first place. So, like you, I’m waiting for that trade to happen as well.

    The thing I criticize Sarver most heavily for is that I believe the owner is integrally involved in the acquisition of GMs (and in the case of the Suns, the two-headed dragon that is a PBO + GM). In that arena, I think he has failed miserably. And that’s really where I believe the influence of an owner ends for the most part (or should, at least).

    I don’t think it was Sarver himself who said, “Heck no, I’m not giving JJ another $5M!” A lot of other things like Amar’e leaving, Nash leaving… I’m not so sure those were bad things for the Suns, and I’m also not so sure Sarver was the one pushing those two occurrences along in the first place.

    Regardless, there are ZERO teams in the NBA that are impervious to decline. No one is good forever. No one. The Lakers have bad years. The Celtics have bad years. The Heat have bad years… everyone does. That doesn’t necessarily mean the brass made the wrong moves along the way. Sometimes it just means that players get old. Everyone knew Amar’e and Nash couldn’t last forever. So, in all honesty, what was the plan to prevent the Suns from entering into an eventual decline once that happened? Could it really have been avoided?

    Those are the types of thinks I think blind critics don’t take the time to consider. What were the alternatives? In the case of the Suns, I think fair criticism would inevitably lead to the conclusion that different choices could have been made (Give JJ his $50M, keep Marion, don’t hire Porter, keep Amar’e, keep Nash), but ultimately every one of those decisions was defensible… in fact, some of them were LAUDED at the time they happened by fans and media alike.

    Anyway, that was a lot of words to simply say I appreciate the fair criticism and civility you’re displaying. It’s severely lacking in the sports world.

    @Tony

    The amount of money you make might not determine your “influence” within an organization. Have you ever considered alternatives? Do you really think that just because Gentry’s salary was reported to be $2.15M he has less influence over team decisions than Scott Skiles did over in Milwaukee just because Skiles made twice as much? Does Thibodeau making $2M last year (not sure about this year) mean he didn’t have much control over the direction of the franchise?

    Maybe, just maybe, Gentry isn’t getting paid very much because he’s still coming off a deal where he got promoted from being an assistant coach to the head coach… Should an assistant coach immediately be bumped into the ranks of the highest paid among the league?

    Listen, I think the Gentry hire was a bad move in the first place. I never wanted Gentry as the coach of the Suns. I thought he was a D’Antoni clone all along, and I’m all about defense and the mantra that defense wins championships. Gentry isn’t that kind of a guy.

    There’s some Sarver criticism for you (assuming he was heavily involved in that process, which I believe he was). Gentry should never have been the head coach of the Phoenix, Suns, in my opinion. I believe that move was made with the primary intention of resurrecting the SSOL era, and I never believed that brand of basketball was good enough to win in the first place.

    Anyway, main point, consider this: Coaches’ salaries are based on what they have accomplished, not their influence on the team.

  • 67 john // Jan 8, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Ugh, I’ll briefly entertain the source question:

    The ESPN reference you’re citing was actually originally a Yahoo reference. Wojnarowski (or however you spell his name). He is similar to Bill Simmons as far as his use of hyperbole, and his hatred of Sarver has been well documented over the years. I don’t take one word Woj says about Sarver seriously because the man has never had anything good to say. Anyone who has only negative things to say about an individual or organization simply can’t be trusted. For instance, if you have a friend that you know is a die-hard Apple fan who will buy ANYTHING Apple no matter the cost, no matter what negatives there are, no matter if it’s a completely abysmal product that no one in their right mind would believe to be worth having… would you ask them for their opinion on whether or not you should purchase the latest Apple gadget? If you would, you’d be crazy, because you would know their answer before they gave it.

    Woj is the same way with Sarver (as is Simmons, by the way). They latched onto train that began steamrolling through Sarver’s reputation around 2008 and never looked back. Honest, trustworthy sources will show both sides of the coin. Bill Simmons and Woj are not the kind of people I trust for honest analysis. I read their stuff for laughs and entertainment. Also, a little-known guy on ESPN reported that Gilbert and Sarver banded together to halt a deal that Dolan and Buss were pushing, forgive me if you were referring to that, but I can also tell you for sure that guy wasn’t in the room, and even if he was, that guy was from ESPN Los Angeles. Whose side do you think he’s going to take on an issue where Buss is involved? Yeah.

    That said, here’s a source that claims Sarver was instrumental in getting the deal done (other links to outside sources are in the article):

    http://valleyofthesuns.com/2011/12/13/robert-sarver-tells-side/

    Believe what you want, but Robert Sarver and David Stern were in those negotiation rooms, and I haven’t heard ONE quote from anyone who was in those rooms that Sarver was truly a hardliner. If you’re going to call them liars, then try out Ken Berger and Marc Stein.

    You can believe what you want, but if you’re going to maintain any shred of personal credibility, you must admit that there are conflicting sources, and it’s impossible to know what’s true unless you were in those negotiation rooms yourself.

  • 68 Tony // Jan 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    @John,

    hahahaha!! So your “source” is in fact what Robert Sarver said! How pathetic! What’s next, are you going to use an article in which Dan Gilbert asserts that he too wasn’t one of the owners pushing for a lockout? This isn’t Fox News, you need to present some independent source(s) to establish any credibility. Let’s take your logic a step futher-a criminal defendant should be found not guilty merely beause he took the witness stand and proclaimed his innocence! LMAO.

    I presented two different independent sources, yet you resort to an article in which Sarver claimed he was innocent and in which David Stern, who represents the owners and not the players, to back up your claims. You do realize that David Stern actually works FOR the owners right? So don’t you think there’s a possible conflict of interest there?

    I didn’t know you had a personal relationship with Bill Simmons and Wojnarowski…I mean you must know them personally to claim they have a “hatred” of Robert Sarver. Of course, I highly doubt you do in fact know either of them and what you regard as hate, is simple reporting the facts. Oh and in addition, their sources who learned of Sarver’s behavior during the CBA negotiations were actually NBA players and NBA representatives inside the meeting room.

  • 69 Tony // Jan 8, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Thanks for the laughs though John, it’s always fun debating a pro-Sarver supporter! It never ceases to amaze me what kinds of information they will resort to in an effort to back their fancyful claims. With that said, trying to prove that Sarver was one of the owners most committed to restoring the NBA season during the lockout by using his own statements defending himself really takes the cake!

  • 70 john // Jan 9, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I presented you with four sources. Stein, Berger, Stern, and Sarver.

    Your obsession with hating Sarver is quite sad. I hope this type of maniacal obsession doesn’t become a habit or problem for you when you grow up. I’d like to believe you’re not as insane as you act on the Internet, and I’d also like to believe not all teenagers want to watch the world burn. Here’s to hoping.

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