Saturday, February 21, 2009

Using Common Sense

Since the All-Star break the hottest team in the NBA has been the Phoenix Suns. They have won their last 3 games by a combined 85 points scoring at least 140 points in each game.  Before the All-Star break the Suns had only scored more than 120 points 3 times and had never score more than 130 in a single game. Now it is important to note that the teams they have beaten since the break have been the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Clippers (twice).  

What is the reason for this new found success?  I would credit new coach Alvin Gentry with returning the Suns to their uptempo style that was the reason for their success in past years.  Over the All-Star weekend the Suns fired head coach Terry Porter and named Gentry his replacement.  Porter had promised to bring defense to the Suns but in doing so had taken away from their offense.

All Gentry did was use his common sense and lets the Suns do what they did when they were winning under Mike D'antoni.  Before he was fired at the end of last season D'antoni had made the Suns the most exciting team in the league and coached them to a 232-96 record and had made the playoffs every year.  The problem was that he could never lead them to the Finals and the Suns felt another coach could.

So when Porter took over the team he would he would try and fix something that wasn't broken and change the style of the Phoenix Suns.  Clearly that didn't work as they were 28-23 and not in the playoff picture.  Now the Suns are back to their old ways and winning big again and doing it with style.

Now I know people will say that the Thunder and the Clippers aren't a true test and that the Clippers couldn't beat a WNBA team (sick burn I know) but the fact of the matter is the team is running, scoring, and playing well.  Steve Nash has looked like his old MVP self and Amare Stoudamire is making teams wish that they had traded for him while they could.  

Sometimes the secret to success in sports isn't trying to reinvent the wheel it's going with what works.  Porter was handed a team that could put down 50 wins no problem and all he had to do was start coaching in the playoffs and get them over the hump.  Instead he tried to change everything when it didn't need to be changed.  Gentry on the other hand has realised that nothing needed to be done.  Let the players do what they do best and once playoff time rolls around try and get the players to give you more.

Terry Porter blew his once chance at coaching in the NBA and a team would be stupid to hire him again.  Gentry on the other hand could be the coach of the Suns for a long time as long.  He is 3-0 in his career as a head coach so far and I believe as long as he continues doing what he is doing then he will be just fine.

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