Phoenix Suns’ Babby: Up to team to earn better fan support
Playing at home is supposed to be an advantage, though it’s one the Phoenix Suns have not really enjoyed this season.
The Suns are just 6-5 at the US Airways Center, which isn’t terrible, but also is not much better than the 6-6 record they’ve posted on the road.
Kind of strange, right?
“I think we have a certain binding and camaraderie on the road, I think it’s more that,” Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Thursday. “I think our team, you know, stays more focused when we’re in a hostile environment.”
But even if a hostile environment helps galvanize a team, giving it an “us against the world” type of mentality, playing at home is also supposed to supply an atmosphere that is conducive to winning. But the Suns, who rank 23rd in the NBA in home attendance, do not really have that, either.
“Quite candidly, the games here, I think we’re putting on a great product but there are a lot of games here that are not as well attended as I would like, and the fans are not boisterous enough in my mind,” Babby added. “I mean, you go to other places and they can raise the level of their team’s performance.
“That’s our problem; it’s not the fans’ problem, but I think it’s a reality that we haven’t generated the kind of — I remember last year, the Oklahoma City game, the fans won that game for us, it was just electric in the arena — so we have to recapture that. And if that’s an issue with the organization or how we’re playing, or whatever it is, we need that support. I know everybody is preoccupied with the Cardinals, and they’re having a great season, but we’ve got to get that fan support back to raise our level of play when our guys are just not quite as sharp as they should be.”
Babby noted that he believes it is a symbiotic relationship between fans and players, and thinks the kind of support he’s seeking will come in time. It will come, he said, because the team will earn it in what is not exactly an intensely loyal sports market.
“We’re all blessed to live here and look outside and the weather is great, so we’ve got to take the good and the bad,” he said. “And we’ve got to earn that support. I do think we play a very exciting brand of basketball, and I know most every night we play our hearts out, and hopefully people will come and watch us and help push us through some of these games.”