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Burns & Gambo

Updated Apr 17, 2012 - 10:13 pm

Gentry deserves praise…and an extension

There are five games left in the regular season and I have
no idea whether the Phoenix Suns will make the playoffs or

But I do know this: Alvin Gentry deserves a contract
extension regardless of what happens.

I don’t usually pine for coaches to get extension. In
fact, for me it’s just the opposite, as I tend to be
vocal about calling for coaches to get fired when it’s
obvious their time has come. But Gentry, who will be
entering the final year of his contract next season, has
done something special this year and I believe that this
is his best head coaching job of his 11-year career.

This takes nothing away from the fantastic job he did in
2009-10 when he guided the Suns to a 54-win season and
into the Western Conference Finals where they were ousted
by the Lakers. He did a great job that year too,
especially when everyone and their mother thought that the
window had closed on Phoenix.

But this year is different. This is a collection of
misfits no matter what the front office thinks about these
players. Yes, he has the aging war horses in Steve Nash
and Grant Hill. But somehow Gentry has managed to make
chicken soup out of chicken scratch with this roster. I
mean come on — Sebastian Telfair a solid backup point
guard, seriously? Who would have thunk that? Michael Redd
reborn? Shannon Brown dominating offensively to the point
where he is likely to get a multi-year contract from some
team in this league. Robin Lopez, who the team tried to
give away for a first-round draft pick, any first-round
draft pick, at the trade deadline but found no takers, all
of a sudden playing solid defense and contributing
offensively. How about Josh Childress left for dead on the
end of the bench now coming in and playing shut down
defense in important games.

I means seriously, if this isn’t the best job Gentry has
ever done than I don’t know what is. This Suns squad is
not supposed to be a playoff team. Heck, they are not even
supposed to be in contention let alone owning the eighth
and final spot which they have now by virtue of their win
over Portland Monday night coupled with Houston’s loss to
Denver. Even Nash has said on more than one occasion this
year that this team lacks talent.

And Nash is right. They were supposed to glide to the
draft lottery with a bunch of ping pong balls and a shot
at a top-5 pick. They were supposed to be so far out of it
come the trade deadline that Nash would be suiting up for
some contender while Phoenix stockpiled draft picks and
young talent. Come on we all thought that especially when
Phoenix was a ho-hum 12-19 earlier in the season. You had
visions of Anthony Davis or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suiting
up for the Suns. But Gentry found a way to turn this thing
around as the Suns have had a 10-game difference in the
standings since that 12-19 record and now they stand at
32-29 and on the verge of making the playoffs.

No one quit on Gentry when the team was struggling. No one
asked management to fire him. No one complained about the
amount of time they spent in the doghouse and quite a few
of them spent some serious time in there. They just kept
playing hard and overcoming adversity, like beating the
Clippers without Nash or Hill.

Maybe Gentry gets this team to the playoffs, maybe he
doesn’t. Either way, he did more with this team than he
probably should have, and for that he deserves to not go
into the final year of his contract as a lame duck coach,
but to be rewarded with an extension.

One he earned!


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