On Tuesday morning, corporate executives were meeting in board rooms all across America, setting their companies’ agenda for the day. The Phoenix Suns are no different.
At 8:30 on the morning of a game day against the Kings, the coaching staff files into Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry’s executive hotel suite to prepare for a Sacramento team that’s defeated Phoenix two out of three times this season.
After joking that his room resembles the one in “The Hangover,” Gentry brings the meeting to order. Suns Video Coordinator Elvis Valcarcel sets up a projector so the entire staff can begin to study game video of their opponents.
Every game day during the season, the coaches hold a meeting like this around 8 in the morning, discussing what they want to the team to focus on during practice or shootaround. The length of the coaches’ meetings decrease as the season progresses, with this one lasting approximately 45 minutes.
The Suns’ assistant coaches rotate which teams they scout throughout the season, and Igor Kokoskov was the coach that drew the Kings’ straw this year. Coach Kokoskov starts off by talking about defensive matchups.
The focus of the discussion is on their explosive wings Marcus Thornton, Francisco Garcia and Tyreke Evans, and how they plan on defending them. Who will Grant Hill check? What if Evans and Thornton are in the game together? What will be the game plan then?
The staff examines Sacramento’s offensive schemes, particularly the ones that succeeded against Phoenix the last time the two clubs met. Both the plays that fared well against the Suns, as well as the plays that succeeded against other NBA, are viewed and analyzed on the projector screen.
The coaches then take a closer look at the Kings’ defense. They are a team that likes to mix it up between man and zone a lot, so the Suns will need to be able to score efficiently against whichever defense they face.
The next order of business on the docket is the Suns’ own offense. The coaches talk about what they plan on running in the fourth quarter if the game is tight.
In their last trip to Sacramento, the Suns’ offense sputtered in the fourth period. They were only able to muster 16 points.
But that wasn’t the crux of the meeting. If an outsider were to take away a central theme of the chatter, it would be how the Suns plan on defending the Kings so they aren’t killed on the boards.
All three games this season the Suns were beaten badly by the Kings on the glass. In the first game, Sacramento grabbed eight more offensive boards than Phoenix, while in the second game the Suns were outrebounded by 28.
In the last meeting between the two clubs, the Suns were outrebounded by 15. The coaching staff had some theories of how to prevent that from occurring as much this game, and like all companies, they’ll devise a game plan of how to attack that issue.
Luckily for us, unlike most companies, we won’t have to wait months or years to see if their strategy works, we’ll see tonight at 7 on My45.