Summing up the season in the past tense of a currently popular catchall, it was what it was.
The Suns spent the first half of it in search of their identity, before deciding that whoever they were they weren’t Terry Porter. And while blaming him for the team’s struggles is unfair, the switch to Alvin Gentry clearly lightened the mood enough to let them go back to being who they once were. And it would be surprising if he isn’t retained as head coach.
Along a decidedly bumpy road there were some good times, some bad times, and a few downright ugly times. But with Gentry, the Suns were once again the best offensive team in the league, and that’s certainly something to build on. And it also suggests making wholesale changes in the roster would be inadvisable.
While Gentry stopped considerably short of assuring that this won’t happen, he did identify “consistency” and “accountability” as essential cornerstones for improvement, and stated bluntly, “We HAVE to get better on defense”. Mind you, he didn’t say they had to get good on defense. Just better.
“With the offense we have,” he says, “we don’t have to have a real good defense. But we do have to be able to make a few stops late and keep teams from driving down the lane for wide open lay-ups.”
If this sounds like déjà vu all over again, it’s only because these were exactly the same things the Suns were saying at the end of LAST year, year. And frankly, they came up a few tads short on all three fronts.
Where Coach Alvin stopped short was that, in answering a direct question as to whether or not these goals are achievable with current personnel, or major changes have to be made, he said, “That’s something that will have to be evaluated.”
Amen! And let the evaluating (and the rumors) begin.