The fix is in: Franz's suggestions for Suns
The Suns look like they ran out of gas in their last 3 games. We all believe the Suns have run out of gas in the last two seasons. So, how do the Suns get back to where they were? Obviously, we want to go higher than where they were since recent history shows that "where they were" is just a close competitor to win the west but never an actual Western Conference champion.
This will not be easy. Every member of the organization must take on the mantra that a season without a championship is a failed season and expect greatness.
ROBERT SARVER: Go overboard spending money. In no way does this mean over-spend on the next Marcus Banks. Please don't go after 5 small forwards when you don't have a GM. Spend money on the draft. Fly scouts everywhere. Be the most prepared team there is without ever having a hurdle to climb. Draft picks are gold because you control the player. You educate the player in your system.
Spend money on towels. When Mark Cuban took over the Mavs he talked to the players and found out they hated the showers and the towels. He spent money on luxury hotel towels. He didn't do it just for the Mavs. He did it for the road team. He wanted every team that came to Dallas to think that the Mavs were a first-rate team, knowing every second a player is in Dallas is a recruiting chance.
Your entire perception and reputation must change. You cannot fight the perception the players in the league have of you with words. You must do it with actions.
It doesn't matter whether your reputation is deserved or not. Whether or not you think it's fair or factual is irrelevant. In this case, perception is reality.
David Stern said you were not the antagonistic hawk during the labor feud. The players aren't going to take Stern's word for it. Either you were a major hurdle to labor peace hoping to squash the union or you were an easy target for the union to blame.
Let's say it's untrue and the media mischaracterized you during the lockout. Where did they get their info? It was either other owners who made up that you're the bad guy or union leaders that knew their membership would believe you're the problem. The media doesn't have it out for you. Either what was leaked was true, or out of 30 owners they chose you to be the subject of lies which says something.
NBA free agents don't believe you're committed to winning a championship. Phoenix is no longer on the short list of teams players want. Let's change that.
Learn the story of Tom Coughlin and Kurt Warner. Find out how willing Coughlin was to change due to a player he respected explaining what wasn't working from a player's perspective. The human being that is Grant Hill is a blessing to the planet, not just the Suns. Take him to lunch. Ask him to rip you. Ask him why the Suns aren't close to a championship. Ask him what is expected from you.
LON BABBY: Be very visible. Don't be shy. Players trust you since you were an agent. Get the word out about the things Robert Sarver does that go unnoticed.
Give your former client, Grant Hill, the chance to change anything about the Suns he wants. It's a power no player should ever be given, but since Grant is so different than any other player in terms of discipline, intelligence and desire, he won't take it for granted. That power will be seen by other players around the league making Phoenix more attractive.
I know you hate the idea of promoting yourself, but get on twitter. Spend an hour each week answering the questions of fans. As one of the more brilliant lawyers in America, it's not like someone's going to trap you in a bad conversation. Become the face of management.
LANCE BLANKS: Get out of the shadows. Talk to every player on the team all the time. Let your coaches know how much confidence you have in them. Before you arrived, the staff of Gentry, Majerle and Cartwright got the Suns to the Western Conference Finals. They're very good. Let them know you have their back. New GMs always make coaches from the past regime nervous. Sign them to extentions.
It's a great idea to allow Lon Babby to be out front during the lean years so you can emerge from the shadows as the savior when the good times return. I get that, but talk to the media on occasion. Talk to the players you didn't draft or sign. Be seen at the office every now and then. Even if you're brilliant, while you're behind the curtain, no one knows if they can trust or believe in you.
ALVIN GENTRY: Get tossed. You've already proven you can coach but an emotional explosion would serve you well. This week's Denver game was a prime example. The comeback to tie it up 62-62 was great but it went away fast. The officiating was horrible. The players were running out of gas and weren't going to win after Denver turned it on late in the third. The players don't question your passion but remind them anyway.
STEVE NASH: You're one of the greatest of all time and you're playing like it this year, so critiquing you is obviously difficult. The fourth quarter turnovers are becoming a problem. Get everyone involved throughout the game as you've always done. It's time for the fourth quarter to be "Nash time." Look for your shot. You are the best scoring option.
FANS: No one wants to hear this, but patience is key. The vacuum between the "firing" of Steve Kerr and the hiring of Lon Babby killed the organization. Josh, Hedo and Hack are not the fault of Babby/Blanks but those contracts are a noose around the team's neck. It's easy to say "trade them," but in the NBA you're only going to get someone else's bad contract in return for a trade.
It will take about a year and a half to fix what's been done. Trust the process to cleanse. Begin judging the team from the time that Babby/Blanks took over with the roster they were handed after years of D'Antoni not developing rookies and Sarver selling draft picks. It will get worse before it gets better.
Don't bail on the team. Who knows how much longer you're going to get to see Nash and Hill? Get to as many games as you can. Don't go to the games to be seen like it's a Scottsdale night club. Be loud. Bring back the Madhouse.