The Suns hit the road for two preseason games Wednesday and Friday against the Mavericks and the Thunder, it’s their third and fourth games respectively. They split the first two, losing to Sacramento and beating Portland.
Games are valuable for the players and the coaching staff, especially when you have as many new guys on the roster as Phoenix does. It gives the team a chance to find a good rotation and combination of players that work well together but head coach Alvin Gentry thinks practice is just as important.
“I think the thing that I’ve been most impressed with the guys is that we’ve had some very intense practices, very intense practices, where it’s gotten a little snippy. I think in order to be good there has to be a snippiness there.”
Gentry also emphasized the importance of competition amongst teammates, saying it can only make them better.
“It’s gotten to the point where there’s been a little temper, but I think that can be nothing but positive because what it’s saying to me is that the competition is at a level where it’s pretty even and guys are trying to find a way to ‘one-up’ someone,” Gentry said.
The Suns roster sits at 17 players if you include Channing Frye. Eleven of those 17 are new to the team this season, including the return of point guard Goran Dragic. Dragic was with the Suns from 2008-2011 while Steve Nash was in Arizona but played with the Houston Rockets last season.
Gentry said on Tuesday that all active players will make the two-game, three-day road trip as they continue to get to know each other and figure out the best way to play together.
From a health standpoint, despite banging on each other in practice and in training camp over the past three weeks, the team is in pretty good shape.
“I think everybody is fine, you know other than the little bumps and bruises you get right now,” Gentry said. “That’s a good thing to me that means everybody is competing and bumping everybody around. We need to have people be a little upset I think.”
The Suns will get the chance to beat up on an opponent rather than each other when they play the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night at 5:30 p.m. and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday at 5:00 p.m.