Suns coach Alvin Gentry is understandably frustrated
There was no "The Warriors are who we thought they were," but Gentry's anger and frustration were not unlike that of the former Cardinals coach that fateful October eve.
"I'm disgusted," Gentry said. "I'm disgusted with the way we played, I'm disgusted with the fact that we've got a chance to end the break on something really upbeat and positive, and instead we just walk through the first (expletive) 10 minutes of the game, excuse me. The first 10 minutes of the game, I'm sorry."
Gentry apologized for his use of profanity, but he shouldn't have to. He's not the only person who's wanted to curse at the team donning purple and orange this season, as a 14-20 record at the break is certainly nothing to smile about.
But this isn't Gentry's fault, so he has nothing to be sorry for. The ones who should be apologizing are the decision-makers who gutted a roster the head coach guided to the Western Conference Finals less than two calendar years ago, and was a Ron Artest (when he was still called that) put-back away from a likely trip to the NBA Finals.
Aging stars, an abundance of role players and a bench that cannot be counted on to provide consistent production. Add it all up and you get a bipolar team, one that can play great one night and, to borrow a term from Gentry's press conference, "suck" the next.
Though Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby has said Gentry "knows he's secure," it's tough to go through a season like this one without making any kind of move, if only to give fans the impression that you care and are trying to do something to fix this mess.
And, given the fact that this front office didn't hire
Gentry, and you have the necessary
excuses ingredients for them to dump the
guy who has led them since February of 2009.
Of course, that would be a mistake.
Gentry is no Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich, but he is a good coach. He can motivate his teams to not quit on games (see Wednesday night's "effort" as a prime example), and tends to maximize the talent on his roster. The fact that the Suns were in the WCF two years ago and have remained somewhat competitive now is a testament to he and his staff.
Honestly, do you think this year's Suns are underachieving? Anyone? Didn't think so.
Gentry knows the 2011-12 Suns are not built to contend - hell, everyone knows that. But his job is to win games, and he's understandably frustrated when his team continually finds ways to lose to squads that, quite frankly, should not be leaving Phoenix with smiles on their faces and another notch in the victory column.
"We have to decide what kind of team we want to be," Gentry said. "Do we want to be a tease, where we win a couple of games, and then we decide not to play the first ten minutes? Or are we going to be a team that bears down and try to grind this thing out so we can get back in the playoff race?"
The kind of team the 2011-12 Phoenix Suns ARE was decided with the moves the franchise has made the last couple of years, most of which left the team with inferior talent and little chance of relevancy. But we knew that going in, and there's no doubt Gentry - while upset - knows it too.
In fact, you could even say the Suns are who we thought they were.