Updated Jan 18, 2013 - 4:58 pm
Two unpopular decisions, but only one was the right call
Between Bruce Arians, Ray Horton and Alvin Gentry, there were plenty of comings and goings. Fortunately nothing exploded. At least not yet (its 3:50 p.m. as I write this, Upton is still a D-back, right?).
On some level you have to feel for Arians. A day that should be noteworthy for his arrival is instead consumed with the controversial departures of the Horton and Gentry. Unpopular? Yes. Unjustified? Yes. But in one of the circumstances, it was unequivocally the right thing to do. And that is allowing Ray Horton to leave.
All along I thought Horton, as long as he was paired with a seasoned offensive coordinator, would be a fine choice as head coach. Clearly the Cards thought differently. At best, he was nothing more than the in-case-of-emergency-break-glass option, the guy to hire when they'd exhausted all the options they liked more. At worst, he was never an option. A mere courtesy interview in an era where defensive coaches aren't getting too many sniffs.
Horton has every right to be unhappy about this, just as Arians has every right to have full authority to choose his assistants. It doesn't do anybody any good to keep Horton around. Too many trust issues and too many fears of a divided locker room. Painful. Unpopular. But the right decision.
Ray Horton was the best thing to happen to the Cardinals in the last year and a half but, as the cliché goes, coaches coach. Players play. Give me Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson and Calais Campbell over Ray Horton any day.
The same cannot be said for that so-called roster belonging to the Phoenix Suns.
Despite assurances from Robert Sarver to the USA Today that Gentry would last the season, Gentry was fired on Friday morning.
I agreed with letting Ken Whisenhunt go; in my view he was part of the problem. That's why the firing of Gentry is so misguided. He is not a part of the problem.
Handed a roster filled with players who might be someone else's third best player (or fourth, or fifth depending on the team), is it any surprise Gentry's team is 13-28 with losses in 20 of their last 26 games? Apparently it is to the front office; they expected more from a team that they constructed. When you have a bad blueprint, firing the guy who pounds the nails hardly seems like the fair thing to do.
This is part of the process. How the NBA works. Quick turnarounds are not the norm and the Suns are now in that phase of their evolution where being bad is good. Good draft picks that hopefully can spin off into legitimate contributors and maybe even stars.
Who knows, one day - heck maybe today - Gentry will realize that getting let go was the best thing that happened to him, that there is more to life than trying to squeeze a little production out of Michael Beasley. This is especially true if more encouraging options around the league emerge. I've been fired before; sometimes the experience can be liberating.
Dave Burns, Co-host of Burns & Gambo