Those words from Head Coach Alvin Gentry pretty much sum up the Suns’ first three preseason games. And for that matter, they pretty much sum up every boss’ view of every office in America. That’s because the key to any good basketball preseason. or any good business, is seeing effort and growth from your team.
Gentry is definitely seeing the former so far from his Suns. “For us, the main thing is we’re playing hard and competing like crazy,” the coach said.
In order to see growth though, his team is going to have to improve in a few key areas on Friday in Tulsa against the Oklahoma City Thunder (No, they haven’t moved again, they’re just playing in Tulsa for one night.) Those areas involve limiting their opponents opportunities.
“I think we gotta get better at rotations we had some breakdowns in that defensively and it’s one of those things, it’s kind of new to everyone but that would be my main concern,” Gentry said adding that rebounding is a key element as well.
Jared Dudley concurred with his coach’s assessment of the team’s preseason situation.
“Defensively we have to get a little better on how we are going to do with rotations but I thought overall we played well offensively,” the swingman said.
If they can see continued improvement on the defensive end of the floor it will go along way to improving their offense as well.
“If we can keep the opponents [offensive rebounds] in single digits, we usually have an opportunity to get out and run,” the coach explained. “ I’m happy with the effort but we’ve got a ton of room for improvement”
Continued offensive improvement will take time as chemistry — and as the band Semisonic said “It’s all about chemistry” — between the seven new faces and the five returning players has to develop on the court and familiarity with a new system has to form. It’s a process Gentry thinks is beneficial.
“The most impressive thing to me is we’re doing stuff [Luis Scola] has done in Houston for the last seven years,” Gentry said. “It’s been really good because our guys are finding if they make good cuts they’re getting the ball.”
Scola, one of those new faces, is helping expedite the process by leading by example and helping make the coaching staff’s job a little easier.
“He’s just a real pro, he’s one of those guys that everybody should have the opportunity to coach because you don’t really have to coach him. It is not hard work at all coaching him you just tell him what to do and he does it.”
If there were five Scolas on the floor at a time, a the coach’s job would be extremely easy and the team wouldn’t need a preseason to prepare (they’d also have a lineup more awkwardly constructed than M.C. Hammer’s financial plan with five power forwards on the floor at the same time). That’s not the case though so Gentry and his staff will have to settle for continued growth, a team that competes hard every night and one that hopefully keeps racking up the wins.