The Phoenix Suns talk about defense like politicians talk about fixing the budget: lip service is paid, but generally nothing gets done to actually address the problem.
Neither is an easy fix, due to a multitude of reasons, but at least the Suns may be taking a step -- albeit a small one -- in the right direction. The fallout from Mike Brown replacing Phil Jackson with the Lakers has begun, and according to the LA Times:
It was unclear if any of Jackson's former assistants would be retained, though Chuck Person has the best chance among a group including Shaw, Frank Hamblen and Jim Cleamons. Cleamons probably will interview with the Phoenix Suns to become that team's defensive coordinator, an NBA executive said Wednesday.
A defensive coordinator, what a novel idea. In fact, this isn't the first time the Suns have considered the possibility.
Back in 2007 the Suns found themselves looking for a new assistant. Tom Thibodeau's name was brought up, as the former Rockets coach was looking for a new home. The Suns, great on offense but a sieve on defense, seemed like a natural fit. Thibodeau was interested in the job. Mike D'Antoni and the Suns, however, were not interested in him, and hired Jay Humphries instead.
Thibodeau went to Boston to help the Celtics, who only became the best defensive team in the NBA under his watch. The Celtics went to a pair of NBA Finals, winning one, before Thibodeau left to become head coach of the Chicago Bulls. He won Coach of the Year in his first year at the helm.
Hiring Cleamons, who was an assistant under Jackson with the Bulls and Lakers, would be a solid move. While he won't be able to turn players like Steve Nash, Hakim Warrick, Robin Lopez and Aaron Brooks into great defenders, his experience assisting on championship teams gives him a perspective that really couldn't hurt to have around.