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Phoenix Suns

Updated Dec 5, 2012 - 8:20 pm

Lon Babby: Gentry has Suns 'playing very hard'

Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby has a big decision at the end of the season regarding head coach Alvin Gentry. Despite a 7-12 record, Babby said he's pleased with the job Gentry has done (AP File Photo).

It wasn't quite an on-air vote of confidence and there's probably not much to read into, but despite the Phoenix Suns' underwhelming 7-12 record, President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby was rather complimentary of head coach Alvin Gentry Wednesday.

"Alvin has us playing really hard," Babby told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf. "And that's what he should be doing."

A lot was made entering the 2012-13 season about Gentry's long-term future with the organization, after the Suns front office declined the opportunity to extend the 58-year-old coach in the offseason.

With his contract set to expire at season's end, it appears at the very least like Gentry may be playing the part of a lame-duck coach. But despite perception and the team's recent road struggles, Babby seems encouraged about the job Gentry has done through 19 games.

"I think Alvin has pushed the guys and gotten them to play hard," said Babby. "He has an upbeat personality and that's helpful when you're on the road for 11 days playing these teams."

While Babby admitted the team should probably have won against the Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies, he said their effort level in the final game of the road trip was encouraging to say the least.

"The most dangerous game on our road trip was the last one on our schedule," said Babby referring to Tuesday night's contest in Memphis. "We were up 16 and should have won the game. We played a very, very good team very,very competitively which is reassuring on some level. But, it's better to win."

Now in his fourth full season Phoenix, Gentry has accumulated a record of 152-128 and most notably took the franchise to the Western Conference Finals back in 2009-10.

But the goodwill generated from that season has quickly dissipated, as the team has failed to make the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and looks well on their way to a lottery selection in 2013.

With nine new faces on the roster though, the question that will likely be asked over and over again as the season progresses: will Gentry be evaluated on his acumen as a coach or on the play of the personnel handed to him?

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