Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said his wife tells him all the time that she can tell the difference between good teams in the NBA and the bad ones by simply paying attention to the bench.
“My wife says, ‘I watch all these other teams and I can tell you which teams are good and which ones are bad just based on the support the bench gives the guys that are on the court,'” Hornacek told Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Bench support is something that Hornacek says Phoenix (6-4) has had during its recent three-game winning steak. A sign that a bond among the players is forming for a team that saw the addition of six new guys this past offseason and a sign the current win streak could be the first of many to come.
“Our guys on the bench are cheering when our starters come out. Our bench guys get in there and they are playing well and they are out there cheering and supporting them and that’s a good sign,” Hornacek said. “We have six new guys on the team and some of the guys that were here last year, are trying to figure out how these new guys are going to fit in. The new guys themselves are trying to figure out how to fit in. They are starting to figure it out and it’s good to see.”
Two of those guys figuring it out according to Hornacek are Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight. The two guards have been alternating the point guard position this season, but Hornacek said that he talked to them and said that when both are on the court, that Bledsoe is the primary guy. He said Knight is good at spotting up and that allows Bledsoe to penetrate the lane then kick it out to Knight.
However, Hornacek said that all changes when the game is on the line.
“It’s who is the hottest guy and who has the advantage. One of them should have an advantage over the opponent’s team,” he said. “I don’t think you ever want to go in saying, ‘Who is going to take the last shot.’ I think you go in saying who is going to make the last play.
“A lot of the great teams when you look at the past, it’s not one guy who is shooting it. There might be one guy who is always making the plays. Because if you are the best player on the team and you have the ball in your hands, they are going to try and do something to stop you. But if you make the right decision then somebody will get an open shot and that’s the confidence you have to have in your teammates. That, ‘Hey I’ll get you an open shot. Either I’ll get the shot or I’m going get one of you guys an open one and we’re going to make it.'”