“The way he’s having this team compete, fighting for a
playoff position is pretty incredible considering some of
the injuries they’ve had. If I was to vote, to me, he’s
coach of the year.” – Oklahoma City head coach Scott
Brooks on Suns’ coach Alvin Gentry
– April 18, 2012
Unfortunately for Alvin Gentry, Scott Brooks didn’t have a
And unfortunately for Alvin Gentry, the 119 sportswriters
and broadcasters that do apparently didn’t pay too much
attention to what the Suns were able to do with a roster
featuring two aging stars and a big group of role players.
Antonio’s Gregg Popovich won the award, garnering 77
first place votes to beat out Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau and
Indiana’s Frank Vogel.
But if you keep moving down the Coach of the Year
balloting results, and I mean all the way down, you’ll
find Gentry, who received just one third-place vote.
Should Gentry have won the award? No. But keeping a Suns
team in postseason contention until the second-to-last
game of the season is an accomplishment that deserves
Two of the recurring plot lines with the 2011-12 Suns were
the lack of talent on the roster and the absence of a
proven go-to scorer.
In fact, all season long, the Suns had only two players
who eclipsed the 30-point barrier in a single game —
Steve Nash and Shannon Brown. To put that in perspective,
the league’s leading scorer, Kevin Durant, hit that mark
The Suns got off to a less-than-stellar 14-20 start, but
went 19-13 after the All-Star break, fighting their way
back into postseason contention in the process.
A lot of credit goes to the players, but more goes to the
coaching staff for keeping this challenged roster invested
enough to play hard through the entirety of the schedule.
That’s not a common occurrence in today’s NBA. Don’t
believe me? Look at Portland, Charlotte and Golden State,
who all pulled off epic tank jobs down the stretch (or in
Charlotte’s case, all season).
Gentry kept his players engaged and competitive throughout
a second-straight fruitless season. And yet, it went
virtually unnoticed by everyone – except for Scott Brooks
and one lone Coach of the Year voter.
And that is a shame.