Houston Rockets 111, Phoenix Suns 81-- Getting Montiejunased

It was a nice touch that the Houston Rockets acknowledged the return of Luis Scola, and a fun storyline that Goran Dragic and Marcus Morris also returned to their old stomping grounds. But there are new faces in Houston. The home court for the Rockets added to the obvious revenge factor after Saturday’s 107-105 Suns win, and the result was a 111-81 rout on Wednesday.

Rookie big man Donatas Montiejunas led Houston with 19 points, and the Rockets’ frontcourt obliterated Phoenix as the Suns struggled to do the fundamental things that made the three-point shooting of the Rockets the only thing going for them two games prior. The Rockets outrebounded the Suns 46-29 as the starting frontcourt outscored Phoenix’s 34-13 – that doesn’t count Thomas Robinson’s 12 off the bench. In fact, the frontline production of the Morris twins and Scola was so poor that unknown bench forward Greg Smith grabbed 12 rebounds to nine total by the three Suns starters.

So Houston’s 10-of-21 shooting from three-point range didn’t matter. Neither did James Harden’s relatively quiet night of 18 points and four assists.

And allowing the opponent to close the first half on a 20-2 run is a recipe for a big loss as well. For a team that shoots so well from the outside, the Rockets penetration and slick passing broke down the Suns’ interior defense to spell “blowout,” and that was a pleasant surprise from their perspective.

To start the game, Phoenix tacked point guard Goran Dragic onto Harden, firstly, to keep the Rockets’ All-Star in front of the defense, and secondly, to put pressure on his three-point shot that had torched the Suns for seven three-pointers on Saturday.

In one way, it worked.

Dragic actually played well against Harden, a sign that any future involving Dragic playing alongside Kendall Marshall in the backcourt wouldn’t be a defensive liability. Yet in another way, the plan backfired. Dragic picked up three quick fouls by the second quarter, and the point guard’s final departure in the first half yielded that 20-2 spurt.

During that span, Montiejunas, Smith, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik scored, but it was Harden who had the final say, hitting a layup and then a three for the final five points to put Houston ahead 58-45 at the break.

Montiejunas, a 22-year-old rookie, filed in a career-high 19 points to lead the Rockets attack, which had five other players score in double-figures on Wednesday.

Wes Johnson continued his hot shooting that began in the second half on Monday against Denver, and he led Phoenix with 15 points. Dragic was the only other starter in double-figures with 11 to go with his four assists and five rebounds, but foul trouble and the ensuing blowout saw him play just 20 minutes.

Michael Beasley and Marshall added 10 each off the bench, but again, it came back to the ineffective frontline.

Hamed Haddadi was rendered not useful in the fastpaced game that was filled with 45 combined turnovers, and the return of Jermaine O’Neal didn’t have the results the Suns could have hoped for. O’Neal looked rusty and turned the ball over four times. By the end of it, Houston won the paint battle – as Denver did a game prior – 50-32 and had 19 second-chance points to four for the Suns.

And just as Denver did a game prior, the Rockets shot nearly 10 percent better as the Suns were again stuck to doing something they’re not great at — scoring from the perimeter.

Young point guards shine

Kendall Marshall’s one issue when he struggled in the scoring department on the Bakersfield Jam several months ago was an over-aggression of sorts. First, he was shooting at the requests of his advisors – one was Hunter – but he soon returned to the pass-first point guard that had earned him the status of a No. 13 draft selection.

So far in the NBA, he’s been more of a game manager than anything as both his scoring and assists number have been subpar. If there was anything to take from the blowout against the Rockets on Wednesday, then it was Marshall’s meshing of both his own scoring and his passing.

The rookie finished with six assists and 10 points. His shooting looked both smart in selection, reactionary rather than hesitant, and then effective. He hit 4-of-6 shots, including going 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. Marshall even hit a pull-up 14-footer in transition.

Marshall has hit 5-of-11 three-pointers in his last three games.

In the blowout, Diante Garrett got some burn alongside Marshall. He scored nine points by way of impressive attacks of the rim in transition and even hit a three-pointer.

And 1

Former Suns point guard Aaron Brooks made his debut for the Rockets after being acquired off waivers earlier this month. An apparent fan favorite, Brooks began his second stint with Houston with a bang, hitting a three-point during garbage time that gave his team a 36-point lead, its largest of the game.

  • foreveris2long

    Missed the game but looks like Marshall, Garrett and Johnson played reasonably well. On another note Kobe was injured at the end of the Hawks game with I believe an ankle injury.

  • Azbballfan

    Great loss for the Suns

    they stopped fooling around with this “win against people they should lose against” stuff

    How the Suns can be so jekyl and hyde…..sometimes they look like they can beat anyone and most of the time they look terrible

    Marshall had his best game at 10 points and 6 assists in 28 minutes

    The Suns still need to nuke this front office and coaching staff but hey you might as well get a good lotto pick for the 2nd worst season in franchise history

    They cant possibly screw up a top 5 pick right?

    I swear if the Lakers make the playoffs by virtue of the Suns beating the rockets in the 2nd to last game of the season i will be pretty angry as a long, long time fan

    Remember Suns! a win is really a loss and a loss is really a win!

    Just do what your supposed to do and keep getting bludgeoned by 30 every few games and we will have a new start playrr yet!

    By the way i would see if could pry the Raptors pick from the Thunder for, say, the 30th pick, 24th pick and Marcin Gortat for Kendrick Perkins and whatever slot Toronto ends up in

    By the time the draft rolls around

    Gortat will be an expiring deal

    Haddadi and Oneal will need to be resigned to have them continue to be on the team

    We could probably get Jeff Withey pretty easily or Reudy Gobert with the Grizzlies pick if we cant get the Toronto pick

    I still think the Suns should have traded marshall and kept telfair

    Telfair in my opinion was way better than Marshall and making basically nothing as the backup point

    But hey if the Suns front office that hopefully wont be around in a couple seasons wants to save their jobs and deevelop a guy because he is there guy, go for it

    i expect more from a lotto pick than a 10 point 6 assist game but thats just me

  • foreveris2long

    Good stuff AzBball. I think if the Lakers make the playoffs it will be because Utah sucks. They are struggling to even win two games in a row.

    It sure seems as though the Suns need a young power forward with size and hops. Markief is not the answer and never will be.

  • Azbballfan

    I really like Markeiff but the Suns got to look at the future

    They are terrible at rebounding, defense, and lack a consistent scorer

    No matter who the Suns pick, they just have to be productive.

    the fact that if you combine Marshalls and Markieffs stats togther they dont even get to double figures points, you know you made a mistake in the drafting process

    I think we should try and get a power forward in the draft, trade scola, cut beasley.

    Morris is a good backup PF but cant seem to defend well enough to start

    We have too many power forwards that dont defend, or dont rebound well

    We have Scola but i am sure we will trade him in a draft day deal and he isnt the long term answer.

    Starting over with a rookie center rather than overpaying for Gortat is fine for me

    you dont want to destroy your cap space just to go from 21 games under 500 to maybe a 500 middling playoff team.

    You might as well be cheap and plan for the summer of 2014 and the 2014 draft

    To do anyhting next year we would have to improve by 30 something wins i dont see that happening

    right now Charlotte is ahead of us in the rebuilding process

    lots of cap space combined with high draft picks in recent years

    They have Walker, Biyombo and MKG plus a top 3 pick in this draft

    Rebuilding is painful but it is better than being mediocre and winning nothing.

    I think the Suns have actually played worse overall after Hunter took over but they have had a couple of miracle wins so it looks better than it really is

    I am not fooled by one off performances in games

    We just gotta get rid of this front office and their picks (except marcus morris)

    The fact that the front office tried to go and make a competitive team by getting veteran players and now the team is having its worst season since atleast the 87-88 team shows you how badly out of touch they are

    This is with exactly one injury the entire year to a key player (Gortat)

    Look at the future Sarver, blow it up and get draft picks

    its cheaper and faster than giving max money to players that dont deserve it, having that fail, and then having to rebuild again in a few years when your team gets to the 1st round after you spent gazillions on Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.

  • DBreezy

    That’s your ass Mr. Postman…….

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    Beasley should be fined if he shoots anything more than a 15 footer…..when he concentrates on getting to the hoop he is effective.

    The Morris twins are nothing more than back-ups….how long will it take the front office to realize this ?

    Suns are now tied for 4th in the Draft Sweepstakes.

    Utah is 2-8 in their last ten games….only teams worse during that stretch are the Pistons & Bobcats…. kobe’s sprained ankle won’t matter if Jazz keep playing like this.

    Fast NCAA Tourney fact:
    Since 2001, a 13 seed has defeated a 4 seed 12 times.
    last year, 13 seed Ohio defeated 4 seed Michigan 65-60.

  • john


    Completely agreed about Beasley. I really wish he would get that young Amar’e look on his face at some point. That look that says, “I don’t care who you are, I am going to drive straight at you and throw it down on your face.” Beasley is actually a fairly good finisher around the hoop, and his short-range touch is impressive. I think one of his biggest problems (I’m only talking about inside 10 feet right here on the offensive end, let’s not even get into his other problems) is that he loves to settle for floaters and off-balance layups rather than using his quickness, agility, and leaping ability to get all the way to the rim.

    No matter what people say, I’m happy the Suns took the (small, mind you) chance on Beasley. It’s pretty clear now he simply doesn’t have the mind to be a great basketball player, but I think he deserved one last shot at this level before he was written off.

  • Forever is2long

    Hawk, Yeah Utah seems as though they are Dead Man Walking. Coaches can get fired for collapses like this should it continue. With that said, Dallas could sneak in there at number 8 should the Lakers begin to struggle again.

    As for March Madness I think we will finally see a #16 upset a #1 seed this year. I think the field is more wide open than ever in 2013. As I sit here today I have no idea who I will predict to win it all.

    I sure hope we can steal a lottery pick for Gortat this summer. Then again I have been singing that song the past two summers so nothing has changed.

    I have always hated Beasley since college but considering we did not have to give up any draft choices to get him it was probably worth the risk. With that said I cannot wait to dump him anyway possible.


    Lets be honest, Azbballfan is right about a lot of things he has said, we have problems defensively, rebounding and scoring the ball, i agree that we should trade scola and gortat in looking for a higher pick in either this year or next years draft. One thing i disagree on is Beasley, the guy is a talent, a real talent who has some issues, but they are for the most part with his head. He doesn’t seem to be a distraction or a decisive force within the team and at 6mil per year, we could do ALOT worse as a scorer off the bench( who has the potential to be an allstar) The problem for beasley is this, we are constantly playing him out of position at the 3 spot, he is NOT a 3, he is a 4 that has the skills of a 3man, just like Carmelo and just like Lebron, he has those same type of skills,

    The problem is his mental state, part of that could be induced by the fact that since he has entered into the NBA people have looked at his skills and said “mike your a 3man” when that is not the best position for him. Carmelo, like Beasley is a one way player who is lucky enough to play with some decent defensive centers that can cover his defensive flaws and allow him to focus on what he does best, play offense. A SMART move by PHX would be getting a defensive center (GORTAT IS NOT A DEFENSIVE CENTER) who can block shots, rebound and just intimidate those that come into the lane. With a good defensive center along side him beasley become as viable starter in the mold of Carmelo at the 4.

    There are a few with expiring contracts for next year, Bogut and Okafor immediately spring to mind. Playing Beasley next to one of them, using our draft picks on a 2way sg/sf and another on a defensive young center is the smart play for PHX.

    I like Johnson and the Morris twins, but they are backups, not starters, gortat will leave at the end of the year and scola is not the future, trading these players opens up time for those players that are our future (this years draft picks) and saves cap space for 2014. Not seeing what is in front of us is the worst thing we can do.


    and as a followup, for those that dont believe me about beasley being a 4… he is just as bad defensively, a better rebounder when played at the 4 and just as explosive as athletically gifted as our last “great PF” STAT. oh and physically they are 1inch and 10 pounds different… beasley is a skilled 4 being forced to play as a 3. plane and simple

  • john

    There are physical comparisons to be made between Amar’e and Beasley. However, Beasley has nothing anywhere close to the mindset of Amar’e.

    Amar’e was a killer. Amar’e made it personal every night. He WANTED to play the best and beat them. Do you remember the nights he would have against the likes of Duncan, Garnet, Howard, etc? Amar’e played the game with the sole intent of humiliating his opponent (as long as Amar’e was on the offensive side of the ball). Beasley is nothing like that in the slightest.

    Don’t get me wrong, I thought Amar’e was one of the dumbest basketball minds around… but what does that tell you about my thoughts on Beasley?

  • Luka

    The only players I’d keep around are Dragic and Dudley.

    The Suns need a SG who can create his own shot and take pressure off Dragic.
    A lot of people don’t agree with me on this, but I’d try and sign Ellis in the offseason. I can just see a very explosive backcourt, and lots of fast break opportunities.

  • Scott

    @Luka -

    I don’t agree with you on Ellis specifically, but he’s the type of SG the Suns need in that he’s got a motor, he can create his own shot, he wants to score, and he can drive in or shoot.

    What I’d prefer is that the Suns have a SG who has a higher IQ, better team temperament, and greater size.

  • Ty-Sun

    After this season ends the Suns should just concentrate on the draft, check into any and every trade possibility and ignore the free agent market unless they can pick up 1 or two solid vets for the bench on minimum 1 year contracts.

    I like Scola but he’s best on a team that can use him as a 3rd option or possibly a sixth man at this point in his career. Gortat is pretty much the same but for different reasons. If you could somehow combine the best of the two of them (Scola’s smarts and Gortat’s athleticism) you would have an NBA all-star… but we can’t and neither of them are part of this team’s future from my point of view.

    Give Dragic a better supporting cast and I think he will flourish. I wouldn’t mind keeping JO for another season at the same price if he wants to stay. And Tucker is the kind of high energy guy you want to keep on the bench for times when you need him.

    Everyone else is trade bait. Sorry to be so blunt but I don’t see anyone as being safe from being traded, even the guys that I want to return to the Suns next year.

    But the main thing that the Suns’ FO has to do is to avoid trying to bring in a big FA contract!

  • DBreezy

    Not even bad knees Amar’e belongs in the same sentence as Beas.

  • DBreezy

    Out of bore curiosity, what’s everyone’s latest guess as to the futures of Blanks, Babby, and Hunter. My gut still tells me all three stay, although I vacillate on Babby. He’s the oldest of the three, has an expiring deal and could be a sacrifice to show that they’re doing something after a rough season with a rougher one likely next fall.

  • john


    I think at least one of them is gone, and my money would be on Babby first (I’d say somewhere between 60% to 75% he’s gone), Hunter second (50% he’s gone), and Blanks third (10% he’s gone). Heads have to roll after a season like this, no matter whose fault it was.

  • Forever is2long

    DBreezy I have no idea who stays or goes anymore under Sarver’s watch as he is the same guy to let Kerr walk after the Suns went to the Western Coonference Finals. With that said I wish the league would take over the team and Babby, Blanks and Sarver all be gone. Will likely ever happen but I am hoping.

  • Scott

    @DBreezy -

    I could see where all three could stay. IMO, Hunter’s the best of the lot by far, and Babby may not be that bad if you consider his job is just contracts, not hires.

    Blanks is the question mark for me, and I tend toward the negative side on judging him, mainly because of the Dragic trade and the Brown, Beasley, and Telfair signings. However, it could be that it was Gentry who was pushing for Brown, Telfair, and Beasley, and if so, maybe the mistake Blanks made was in not asserting himself more over the coach. As for the Dragic trade … it doesn’t seem to me that Dragic is inexplicably better now that he’s been re-signed. He looks like the same player to me.

    If Blanks is as bad as it seems, I don’t know what will snap Sarver out of the idea that he hired the guys for a certain number of years and he should let them do their thing. I guess part of the issue there could be whether it was by Sarver’s authority that Blanks was hired, or if it was a selection made by the whole ownership group (which is, I think, how it went). It could be that the ownership group isn’t ready to give up on Blanks.

  • Tony

    Oh nice, VOTS reverted back to the old log-in method! Because of my long absence from VOTS, I’m entitled to at least a little bit of Sarver-bashing!;)


    Sarver actually said on the Doug & Wolf show awhile back when Hunter was hired, that he didn’t believe Suns fans are upset with him. Based on that comment his prior conduct as Suns owner and his refusal to accept any blame for the mess the Suns are in, at this point I really question his mental competency to remain the principal owner of the Suns Franchise.

    Now, it’s not unusual for people, especially males, who are born into a wealthy family, to hide their insecurities with being born into privilege by acting as if they themselves were the cause of such wealth, trying to forget that they inherited it. I had always suspected Sarver of this type, but now I wonder if he’s just become delusional or so isolated in a bubble cut off from reality? I mean, assuming he wasn’t trying to be willfully blind or otherwise dishonest when he said it, I cannot fathom how he could truly believe that most Suns fans are not upset with him??

    My point is that based on his mental competency, or lack thereof at this point, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he retains Babby, Blanks, and Hunter next season. Heck, he will probably give Babby a three-year extension.

    As far as this ridiculously stupid comparison between Beasley and Amar’e, even at this stage of his injury-riddled career, Amar’e has still consistently out-played Beasley, and it’s not even close.
    Beasley’s two main issues are his lack of any basketball IQ and his physical characteristics. In particular, he’s too small to play pf, but not fast or athletic enough to play sf. While Amar’e wasn’t exactly a prototypical pf at the time of his early career, he was still bigger and stronger than Beasley and he had a better vertical.

  • Azbballfan

    I want everyone to be gone in the front office but i dont think Sarver will do the right thing and nuke it all

    If he got rid of Steve Kerr after we went to the WCF, then well then nothing that babby and blanks do is gonna make him get rid of them

    I personally think Sarver is some kind of narcissist

    the fact that the Suns tried to make the playoffs this year and it totally blew up in their faces tells me that babby and blanks shouldnt be retained

    The ugly way hunter was granted the job, because he was blanks guy, and the way that marshall and beasley appeared to lead the mutiny is even more a sign of a bad owner letting this stuff go on and a bad front office

    Majerle and Turner and Gentry were right to get out while they had the chance

    I wish david stern would come in and take over, and i really dont like david stern

    With the Suns in freefall, signing max players who are not worth the max this summer would be a huge mistake

    barely anyone deserves the max, and i dont see anyone going on the market that is a sure thing

    Sarver needs to rebuild, and he needs to clean house and get a real GM and player development guys who are all on the same page

    Hunter is trying to show he can win and be the coach next year, but that comes at the expense of the long term health of the team

    Markieff and Haddaddi and Beasley have only gotten minutes because Gortat went down for probably the year

    I think the Suns were right to gamble on beasley, but i mean there were other guys out there

    O.J. Mayo would have been great but the Suns lowballed him

    I think Beasley, especially with the ascention of Hunter as coach has gotten every chance possible to work out

    I know everyone looks at Zach Randolph and goes man Beasley is the next Z-Bo

    But if getting rid of your coach and 2 assistants and being on a 22-43 team or whatever we are now isnt gonna do it, what will?

    i say use the stretch provision (after giving him a lot of minutes in the next 5 weeks just to make sure)

    and let him walk

    this team is a 20 something under 500 mess and no one on the market is worth paying the max to turn us into a middling 500 team

    and no, D-12 and Chris Paul are not gonna leave and join forces in Phoenix

    Not unless Hunter, Sarver, Blanks, and Babby are all secretly Ninjas and come together like the fantastic four and sneak into the staples center and babby black jacks chris paul while the other 3 take out Howard

    But until then, rebuild and be patient

    You dont want to have to do this all over again in a few years because you blew your cap space on guys that will only get you to the 1st round of the playoffs

  • DBreezy

    My other post should have said ‘bored’ curiosity not ‘bore’-perils of typing quickly on a cell phone. While I think there’s more than enough reason(s) to let all three go based on this season, my question was more from the standpoint of what people think Sarver will do vs. what we feel he should do.

    In that vein, I think Blanks gets to stay. Not just because of the year he has remaining on his deal, but because Sarver seems to think that he’s done a good job everywhere except his relations with the fanbase. I base a lot of that off Sarver’s interview with KTAR after the Hunter hiring. He seemed happy with his acquisitions so far, especially the draft and since then we’ve seen more of Marshall and added another Morris. Sarver said he makes a point of looking at their predraft rankings and how many people they got on that list and adding Marcus probably is a bonus in that vein for Sarver. The improved play of Wes probably helps Lance as well.

    Leaving aside his last acts as an agent before hiring on, I don’t know that Babby has done too much to deserve to get fired, but he seems like the most likely candidate nevertheless. Because of his position, Sarver’s past faux pas, and Blanks’ being a recluse, Lon has been the face and mouthpiece of the Suns’ precipitous decline. He’s had to sell a directive from above (imo) to milk Nash for all they could, and also put an official face on the personnel moves recommended to him by Blanks. Outside of the Dragic trade, he’s done pretty well in trades as far as assets transferred and he’s been solid in cap management with contracts. He’s told a lie or two along the way getting there. I won’t miss him if he goes, but I don’t know that much will change if just Lon goes and Lance stays. It could get worse depending on who ultimately gets the responsibility for negotiating trades and contracts.

    I think Hunter really epitomizes the situation the team and front office is in. The squad is a mess. Outside of Dragic, no one has really solidified themselves as a starter on the team going forward or even part of the team at all. I think we could all come up with scenarios where the rest of the guys are no longer here and quite frankly their losses wouldn’t be too earth shattering. The team will have at least two draft picks on the roster next season, possibly more but this draft is mediocre. Hunter is a rookie coach, with a hodgepodge staff outside of Igor, and it shows often. That’s not unexpected and I don’t have a problem with it, but it still is what it is.

    When you step back and look at it all, who really would want Hunter’s job that would be better than him? I’m sure we all could come up with people who are viable candidates, but would they actually want the job? They’d be looking at a team that’s unlikely to be making a splash in free agency with potentially two lottery picks in a unhearlded draft as far as franchise players go. The team isn’t long on impact veterans as it is, and figures to lose a few of those this summer one way or another.

    Then you toss in a front office that will likely be in the last year of their deals with 3 lottery seasons under their belt and a likely 4th uglier one coming and how appealing can the job be? If I’m a top assistant candidate like Shaw, Budenholzer, or Malone in a good situation, that doesn’t sound like the kind of situation I’d want to make my first head coaching gig. That seems like a recipe to be the next Jim Cleamons.
    So my bet is that there’s a lot of talk about a deliberative review process on the coaching situation, possibly lasting through the playoffs, they ultimately decide to keep Hunter and try to round out his staff going forward.

  • Scott

    @DBreezy -

    I could still see Blanks steering the Suns toward Mike Malone as a coach, if Malone wants the job and Blanks sees that as a fulfillment of his original plan.

    As for Babby failing to get renewed … if that were to happen, I too would worry about the Suns possibly signing more bad contracts. I know fans tend to assign blame to Babby for signing Childress and Warrick, but IIRC those players were signed in the absence of Babby. So we could see the Suns go back to that type of signing if Babby leaves.

    With Babby on board, the only bad contract I see is the one for Beasley, where at least the damage was mitigated to just 2 years.

  • Azbballfan

    I know that no one wanted the coaching job in Charlotte last year when they went 7-59 in a 66 game season

    Atleast no big names wanted that job and yet they got a good coach in Mike Dunlap

    I dont think Hunter is that bad of a coach, especially for not having any previous exprience, but i hate the way he got the job

    He basically got it because he was buddy buddy with Blanks

    He didnt pay his dues, he wasnt any assistant coach, in fact he had only been around for about a month

    If the Suns are going to keep hunter, at the expense of Majerle and Gentry and Tuner, they better blow this team up

    The biggest mistake that the 3 stooges have made was not blowing up the team when Stoudemire left or was traded or how anyone wants to say

    Sarver should totally clean house, but i know he wont

    it would look bad on him to do that since he essentially hand picked all the people that have gutted this team from a title contender to mediocrity, to now the dregs of the NBA

    Hopefully the Suns can win one last game, against the Lakers and not screw it up by getting a win streak going and go from the 4th pick to the 11th

    Somehow i dont trust them to do that though

  • Luka

    Things won’t get any better as long as Sarver owns the team. I believe it’ll take two or three more sub. 500 seasons like this to drive him to sell the team. I have no faith that he’s truly committed to winning.

    The only silver lining is that by drafting in the top 5, consecutive years, the Suns can stockpile young talent. As bad as our scouts have been you’d have to assume they’ll get it right once in 20.

  • http://valleyofthesuns Hesam

    When Hunter took Haddadi out we were 43-44, within 1 minute and 10 seconds we dropped to 43-53!
    Hunter should start Hamed with O’Neil and bring scola later when Hamed rests. Also he should give Hamed 30 minutes so we don’t play without a tall, defensive center, or else they’ll eat Suns alive.

  • DBreezy


    I thought about the Bobcats who are similar in the sense that they’ve been down for awhile, have questionable ownership, and no franchise player to build around. They ended up with a good young coach, which is exactly what Hunter may turn out to be, but as you said they struggled to attract candidates and they have more young talent. Goran would beat out Kemba, but Henderson, MKG, and Biyombo would all stand a pretty good shot of starting here. Considering how both coaches have sat down Marcin for stretches this season, I suppose you could stretch and make the argument that Mullens would have a shot too.

    More than anything to me when looking at the two franchises if I was a potential coach, the current management situation would jump out at me. Even if Lon is retained, it’s hard to see him being given more than a one year extension to matchup with Blanks. That’d be troubling to me when the likely roster is something that will probably struggle to win even more than the current one.

  • DBreezy


    I don’t think Babby had anything to do with Hak’s deal, but I still find the whole situation surrounding Chilly’s deal ahead of Lon joining fishy. I don’t blame Lon for that in the sense in that he (officially his agency) did what’s best for his client, just as he now basically carries out the wishes of Sarver and Blanks as best he can.

    I think Sarver may put a lot of stuff up for ‘review’ organizationally during the playoffs. It’s easy to dislike Sarver, but I don’t think he’s stupid and I’m sure he remembers how much trouble they had attracting their top coaching and front office picks at a time when they had better squads. So I’m sure he can extrapolate what that will likely mean going forward, especially since there’s no Durant, or DRose in the draft to entice someone.

    So I think he quietly sees if anyone worthwhile is interested in the job during what he’ll call a review period. If no one emerges, he just says the review was favorable for the current team and extend Babby for a season. That avoids potentially embarrassing Lance and Lon if they ultimately end up being retained. From Sarver’s POV, he’s got plenty of time to look. He said that he’s very satisfied with Lance on the draft so there’s no rush there, and internally they have to know that they aren’t likely to be big players in what is a limited free agent market anyway.

    Even if Malone (or someone else) is interested, I wonder how Sarver will view it? Hunter is thought of as an up and coming coaching prospect and he’s currently signed cheaply on a player developmental coach deal. The roster is likely to turn over considerably, continuing to skew younger and likely to struggle again next season. Why not give Lindsey a staff of his choosing, a summer to take things in, and a full camp to see what he can do? Blanks can steer, but if he survives it’s not like he isn’t still on thin ice.

  • Scott

    @DBreezy -

    I have pretty much the same take on things, though I’m less worried about the issue of available top coaching picks, as there’s nothing to coach at the moment, the Suns are so depleted of talent. A rookie coach at this point is fine.

    As for re-staffing the front office, it seems to me that this is exactly the time when stronger GM candidates might come calling, as the team is a year or so into rebuilding mode (if you can call this rebuilding, it’s more like loitering in the lottery). GMs want to build a team and pick their own coach, so for them this is the right time to apply.

    If Sarver continues with Blanks – and from his public statements you’d think that’s where he’s headed – then I could see him extending Babby for a year to match with Blanks. Blanks will still need someone who can speak for him and smooth over his faux pas, and I’ll bet Blanks isn’t good with contracts or money, either.

    As for the Suns putting Malone in place as coach, I see it as purely Blanks’s call. Judging from his public statements, Sarver has handed Blanks the reins.

  • john

    Hmmmm… A guy named “Hasem” wants the Suns to play a guy named “Hamed” more? That couldn’t be a nationality thing, could it?

    And I’ve heard enough of the BS about how Hunter got the job because he was Blanks’ old pal and he skipped ahead in line…

    Blanks and Hunter knew each other for 14 months before he was hired on as the interim head coach. Joe Dumars introduced them (Blanks and Dumars played together and knew each other prior to this back in their Detroit days) and encouraged Blanks to hire Hunter as a scout. They weren’t chums before that. That’s a complete myth. A fabrication from a nonsensical Suns fanbase that wants nothing more than to point the finger at someone else for the mess of a team they have on their hands.

    Turner, from what I could tell, wasn’t a fantastic coach, and NO ONE in 15 years has thought he was worthy of a head coaching job. Why should the Suns be any different? Ignoring the fact that none of his employers thought he was worthy of a promotion for the past 15 years, he was brought into Phoenix to improve the defense. That was his sole purpose. How did he do? Do you really want to promote a guy for failing to do his job?

    As far as Thunder Dan goes, I do find it slightly interesting that the Suns did not hire him as the interim, but I find it equally interesting that he could be deemed “more experienced” than Hunter. Hunter had been in professional basketball for 20 years (Majerle around 25), and Hunter was a finalist for the head coaching job in Orlando last season. It’s not like no one in the league thought Hunter was head coaching material. Just a couple years out of his playing days he’s already getting interviews for head coaching positions? And you want to assume he was unqualified?

    It didn’t really matter to me who the interim was, but I am shocked (well, not really, I guess. I have come to expect Suns fans to whine unreasonably about every little thing) that anyone would suspect there was any sort of foul play in the hire of an INTERIM head coach. You people have issues. Serious issues.

  • Scott

    @john -

    I didn’t have a problem with Hunter going in – as you say, Hunter and Blanks were not close friends, and furthermore, it is the right and obligation of the GM to pick the guy he thinks is best for the job – but I was disappointed that it was handled so fractiously that Majerle jumped ship. I realize that you can’t always have ideal outcomes, but Majerle was loyal to the Suns, and like many Suns fans I appreciate seeing some of the older players be able to continue on in some capacity with the team.

  • john


    I agree that the situation was handled poorly. The Suns should have been transparent with their entire coaching staff, and from the way things turned out, it seems that the Hunter hire was a suprise to Turner and Majerle (two guys who could have reasonably assumed the were in the pole position for the job). The Suns should have come out and said right away, “Elston, Dan, we are giving the job to Lindsey. If you don’t want to stay, we understand, and we would like to handle this in a graceful manner as an organization for our betterment and for yours.” If they had, I don’t think Dan goes on his tirade, possibly tarnishing his chances at a head coaching gig in the near future and the Suns save a little bit of face as a whole.

    They surely could have handled the situation better as an organization, but in no way do I think they made the wrong decision in going with Hunter. It’s their call, like you said. The GM has a right to put whoever he wants in that position.

  • Ty-Sun

    On the interim coaching selection, I agree that Turner’s ONLY reason to expect that they might give the job to him was “seniority” because of his years of coaching experience. But because he basically failed in the job he was hired for by the Suns – to improve the defense – I wouldn’t have picked him either.

    As for Majerle, I still think he was passed over because he was too closely tied to Gentry and making him the interim coach might not have made much of a change from the way Gentry was coaching. That certainly could have been a faulty assumption but I wouldn’t doubt that was the reasoning behind not promoting Majerle.

  • Scott

    @Ty-Sun -

    Was Majerle tied too closely to Gentry? Well, what has the coaching cycle been like at the Suns for the last many years …?

    IIRC, Scott Skiles was an assistant to Danny Ainge. Frank Johnson was an assistant to Scott Skiles. Mike D’Antoni was an assistant to Frank Johnson. Alvin Gentry was an assistant to Mike D’Antoni. Dan Marjerle was an assistant to Gentry … if you follow the pattern, then Majerle was a logical choice.

    However, what Majerle said – if I have it right – is that he was upset and left the organization because of how Gentry’s situation was handled, not his own. I get the impression there were other things involved, like that maybe Majerle didn’t like the way Blanks was handling the job as GM.

    Anyway, if it is possible, I’d like to see the Suns mend fences with Majerle.

  • Ty-Sun

    @Scott – Ainge resigned, according to him, to spend more time with his family. Hiring Skiles made sense in that respect. Skiles made the playoffs 2 of his three years as head coach but only got to the 2nd round once and no farther. He was fired mid-season in 2002 and the job was given to Frank Johnson – an assistant coach – who was also fired mid-season less than two years later. D’Antoni replaced him and was very successful (as we all know) until he decided to leave Phoenix to take the head coaching job in NY.

    Then there was Terry Porter… remember him? He was NOT a D’Antoni assistant and that worked out REALLY well, didn’t it? It seems that you forgot him in your chain of previous Suns coaches.

    Yes, Gentry – who took over for Porter – WAS a D’Antoni assistant but the Suns still had the players to run a SSOL type offense when Porter was fired and Gentry was given the job.

    They do NOT have that anymore and it’s time for a change. Majerle was here as an assistant during Gentry’s entire career as the Suns’ head coach. If he bought into Gentry’s coaching style – which neither I nor you have anyway of really knowing – then he would have been the wrong choice as the interim head coach IF the FO is actually trying to change the team’s direction.

    The fact are that the Suns just don’t have the talent to run and gun with anyone anymore. They don’t have the 3-point sharp shooters to make it work and they don’t have enough good defensive players to make up for the lack of offensive punch.

    Majerle was only the logical choice IF the Suns wanted to continue in the same direction… which – with their present players – is downward.

    But I give Majerle his due. He was a great player and I don’t doubt his devotion to Phoenix, both the Suns and the city. Sarver and the FO may have handled the changeover badly but I see no logical reason that Majerle should have been given the interim coaching job over anyone else considering the state of the team.

  • VoTS Critic

    Glad to the see the old comment setup back. PLEASE INCLUDE BOX SCORE REFERENCE LINKS IN THE RECAP!

    Thanks! :)

  • Hesam

    @John Do you have a problem with my different name and his different name or with the verifiable, correct numbers I mentioned?
    For Denver game Go to 7:04 left from second quarter and see what happens after haddadi leaves:
    For the Houston game Go to 4:33 left from the second quarter and see what happens after Haddadi leaves:
    By the way it’s Hesam not Hasem, learn a simple 5-letter word!
    I bet you drive a leaking Dodge truck because Toyota name bothers you :)

  • john


    No offense meant, if it was taken that way. And sorry I misread the name the first time around.

    Fyi, I’m a Haddadi fan. He’s got a good motor, he’s got pretty decent skills on both ends of the floor, and though his sample size is small, I think he could be a backup C on a good team (give him 15 mpg and I think he’d come up with something like 5 pts/6 reb/1 blk).

    And another fyi, I drive a Taco. We Americans seem to think that trucks are only trucks if they’re obnoxiously large to the point of impractibility. Give me a compact, off-road capable truck any day of the week over a monster truck. :)

  • Hesam

    NP, forget it. It’s just that I had to go through this same issue in Memphis boards, being Hamed fan, ofcourse after 4.5 years they began liking him.
    He & Dudley together make the score rise, directly or indirectly. 6-0 run just 10min ago Atlanta game.
    He seems to get better after 5 minutes even though he looks out of breath. The best name to describe Hamed is “Facilitator”, his size intimidates opponents.
    Update: 8-10 minutes after Hamed sat we’re down 46-57. That’s 3 in a row. I would start him and give him 25-30min/game. I would also trade Scola & Twins.
    Want a compact offroad truck? I’ve been driving 5 of them the last 10 years, it’s not quite a truck or SUV but it easily handles rough road, mud or snow with AWD, gives 27mpg and has nice ride and wagon utility+ super reliable. Subaru Outback :)