The opening day for anything brings the most optimism. The first day a blockbuster movie comes out, people line up for tickets thanks to weeks and months of marketing and anticipation (See: Why I spent nine hours in a Dark Knight marathon).
The first day of school is when a child is most excited to see friends and meet a new teacher. A person’s first kiss is unlike anything they’ll ever experience again. In the NBA, the first day of training camp comes with a similar sense of anticipation and hopefulness. It’s the day when all 30 teams in the league are standing on similar footing. It’s when everyone is undefeated, literally and metaphorically.
For the Suns it is no different. On a relatively nice day in San Diego — not that there are ever any days here that could be qualified otherwise — the staff and players have a bounce in their step and a tone to their voice that can only be described as anxious enthusiasm. No matter what anyone says, the guys believe in each other and that, if things fall their way, the sky’s the limit. Just ask Head Coach Alvin Gentry.
“We have an opportunity to do some things that no one expects us to do,” Gentry told his team. “We have to be all in. It’s going to be a total team effort. The bonding and chemistry is going to be the key. I think it’s key on every team.”
It seems only appropriate — almost as if Martin Scorsese, or maybe Judd Apatow, wrote the line for Gentry — that the coach calls his players to be “all in” as the team encourages its fans to be “all for orange.” Will the group mentality pay dividends for the team and its followers? If Day 1 of training camp is any indication, things are off to a good start.
“I thought it was great,” Gentry said of practice. “Everybody came out focused and ready to go today. The one thing we won’t have to worry about is guys playing with effort. We’re a deep team. If you have a guy behind you pushing you, you have a tendency to play that much harder.
“It’s really going to come down to how well we execute and how well we complete plays.”
Optimism reigns supreme here with one day down and four to go in training camp. Now comes the tough part, having all the new guys learn the plays and how exactly to execute them effectively. Hopefully that bright outlook won’t dim when the luster of the opening day wears off.