The Suns shouldn’t be disrespected, but fired up

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Draymond Green
OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 12: Draymond Green /

When the Fox Sports Arizona announcers first noticed and shared that Steve Kerr was not coaching his team during timeouts, it seemed like an innocuous incident very similar to the one that occurred only several days ago when Gregg Popovich had ceded his authority to one of his assistant coaches in the second half of a game against Phoenix.

Then it was realized that it wasn’t assistant coaches that were doing the work of Kerr, but the players, and they were taking turns, as if in a player/coach rotation, passing around the clipboard and it’s accompanying leadership duties at each dead ball.

Suddenly many in the Valley of the Suns were up in flames:

“How could  they?!”

“Kerr only did that to spite  Sarver!!”

“This is disrespectful!!”

But, honestly, was it?

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

If you believed on any level that the Phoenix Suns stood a chance of defeating the Golden State Warriors, you were fooling yourself. Before games I run a poll on Twitter asking fans what the outcome of the game will be and offer two options for the Suns to win as well.

That game’s poll was so  lopsided, that a fan actually said that I should run a poll that did not offer options of the Suns winning, but instead only ask by what point spread would the Warriors win, up to 40+ points.

The Warriors won by 46.

(Most fans said 30-39.)

Yes, the Suns played fairly decently in the first quarter, but if you have followed Warriors ball at all this season you have seen that that is a pattern of theirs against lesser opponents. The often Warriors start out a little slow, the opponent actually makes it look like they might give Golden State a run for their money, and by the end of the third the game is all but over and Steph Curry sits watching like a paying spectator.

Phoenix was never going to win. The Warriors knew that they were never going to lose. Steve Kerr is playing to win a title, and he (rightly) chose a game against the bottom-feeder Suns in the middle of February to treat as an exhibition in which he could give his players a little more control for a game and change the pace up a bit.

For that, the Suns should not  feel disrespected.

What should make them feel disrespected?


I am glad that some of the players were upset though. We’ve really only heard quotes for three players, but the fact that anyone is upset likely means that the majority of players were, if nothing else, not happy with the situation.

Troy Daniels in particular was none-too-happy and minced no words in his post-game interview with AZCentral’s Scott Bordow, stating that “it’s disrespectful…I don’t think it’s hard to coach those guys, though. So I think anybody can do it.”

This is good! The players should  be fired up by this because they should  be sick of losing, or at least losing by 40+ points! They should play harder! They should be more dedicated to staying within their offense! They should play tougher, hard-nosed defense making it more difficult for their opponents to score!

When a team is in the position that the Warriors were in where a blow out was as much of an inevitability as the sun rising in the east in the morning, they are able to make decisions like this to remain mentally fresh and give players a different look for a game.

If the Phoenix Suns never want to be “disrespected” like this again, then they should find a way to stay in the game and not be blown out by 46 points!

Heading down the stretch, I do not expect the Suns to win very much. They still have three more games against the Warriors which I expect to each have a similar result to this past match up, although hopefully by not quite so many points.

Even if they lose far more than they win, they can take solace in playing tough; staying in a game even if they don’t win it; and proving not only to themselves but to the rest of the league that they are not push-overs who can be taken advantage of, but rather a worthy opponent worth taking seriously for an entire 48 minutes.

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The players on this roster, many of whom will be back next season and a good number of whom will hopefully be core pieces for many years to come, need to use what happened against the Golden State Warriors as fuel for their inner fire. Use it. Work harder.  Play tougher.  Be better prepared.  And never give an opponent the opportunity to disrespect you again.

Shoot, they might even gain a little respect from it.