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Suns on the verge of ‘youth movement’

The Phoenix Suns find themselves in a tough spot.

After Monday’s loss to Oklahoma City, Phoenix is 13-27 — the second-worst record in the Western Conference and fifth-worst in the league.

Even though they’re trying to win games, there is very little reason to believe that this version of the Suns will be able to turn things around and compete for a playoff spot, which they’re currently 8.5 games out of.

Another part of the problem is that the Suns aren’t one of the younger teams in the league, either. With an average age of 26.5, Phoenix is the 12th-oldest team in the league, which begs the question: when does head coach Alvin Gentry start playing the younger players more?

“I would say we’re probably moving in that direction and we’re getting real close from that standpoint,” he said following Tuesday’s practice. “Obviously, we’re struggling to win games and if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to try to have something positive come out of it.

“That’s one of the things that you can do, you can look at your young players and see where they are and give them quality minutes out on the floor to see if you can get them into the position where they can be better by the end of the season.”

That could mean Suns fans will see a lot more of first round pick Kendall Marshall, who has logged only 52 minutes in the team’s first 40 games. It could also mean more Wes Johnson and Luke Zeller, who have also played sparingly this season.

The question that lingers is when does Gentry opt to go in that direction? He admits the decision is not his alone.

“Along with Robert, I think it’s something we would discuss and sit down and try to decide what is best and understand that from the standpoint that there might be other things more important things than the win-loss record at this stage.”

The potential pitfall with that roster strategy is it possibly sends the message to the fan base that you’ve given up on the 2012-13 season. Although some fans are already onboard with the movement, it could be a tough sell to some.

“You’ve got to do it from the standpoint of saying obviously this year is not going as we anticipated and now we’re in a situation where we have to have start looking to the future, and if we’re looking to the future, we’ve got to play young guys and get them in a situation where we figure out what exactly we have.”

The Suns, who have lost six of their last seven games, host Milwaukee Thursday night at US Airways Center.

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