Alvin Gentry: 'Scola is a true professional'
In a move Gentry labeled one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make, Scola was moved to the bench for the first time since his rookie year in order to give the starting five more athleticism.
"I've been a fan of his since the day he walked in the league and to have to take him and put him on the bench," Gentry told Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo. "I just thought that Markieff [Morris] and Marcin [Gortat] is a little bit better fit out there than Scola."
Scola initially struggled in his new role, scoring only four points on 2-of-4 shooting and providing a single rebound in 19 minutes of play against the Portland Trail Blazers last Wednesday. But in his last three games coming off the bench, Scola has scored in double digits while shooting 56 percent from the floor.
Gentry added that although Scola has expressed a desire to return to the starting lineup, he has remained a "true professional" and only wants to help the team win.
Along with Scola, forward Jared Dudley was benched in favor of the more explosive Shannon Brown. Gentry stressed fans shouldn't be quick to place blame for the Suns' poor start on Scola or Dudley, he simply made the changes he felt would most benefit the team.
"[Scola] was playing very good for us. He was not playing poorly. He or [Dudley], either one. [Dudley], hadn't shot the ball as well, but neither one of those guys were directly responsible for our poor start," said Gentry. "So, it's really tough to say ‘Ok you two guys are coming out' because everybody just assumed that they're the guys that aren't playing well but Scola was playing great for us."
When asked what it was like when he broke the news to Scola, Gentry praised the power forward's dedication to the team but also said he made it clear he belonged in the starting five.
"I think he felt like he was a starter and he is. He expressed that," said Gentry. "But, he also followed that up with ‘Coach, I'm a true professional and I'm going to do whatever I have to help this team win games.' That's why you love having a guy like him on your team."
- Jared Dudley, Suns forward - Tuesday June 18Jared Dudley joins Doug and Wolf to talk NBA Finals.
- Jared Dudley, Suns' Forward - Tuesday June 11JD gives us his player's perspective on the NBA Finals.
- Brian Windhorst, NBA ESPN.com Writer - Friday June 7Brian Windhorst talks about Game 1 of the NBA Finals and what to expect from the rest of the series.
- Suns GM Ryan McDonough - Friday June 7The Suns GM talks about prospects Ben McLemore of Kansas and Victor Oladipo of Indiana.
- Eddie Johnson, Suns' TV Analyst - Thursday June 6EJ previews game 1 of the NBA Finals. Plus, what are his thoughts on George Karl's firing?