Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Nba_basketballsunslakers_f176
BOSTON — Bad teams seldom have sterling chemistry, but there are levels of disgust. The Charlotte Bobcats, for instance, have hung tough as their promising start has turned into another lottery-bound season. Celtics coach Doc Rivers summed up the general consensus among opposing coaches earlier this week when he marveled at the Bobcats’ resilience, saying: “They just keep playing.” The Phoenix Suns, by contrast, have not kept playing — at least, not very well. After a loss here last week, Suns players seemed to suggest serious issues with the morale in their locker room. “We always have lapses,” Suns center Luis Scola said. “Sometimes it happens early, sometimes it happens a little bit later. Sometimes it’s the first unit, sometimes it’s the second unit, but it always happens. And we just lose games because we couldn’t fix it. Even in the games we’ve won, it happens.” “Sooner or later,” Scola added, “we believe something bad’s going to happen.” On the heels of Wednesday’s loss, their seventh in nine games since New Year’s, the Suns and head coach Alvin Gentry reportedly agreed to part ways on Friday. Given the presence of negativity like Scola’s, the change would seem to make some sense. One of a coach’s first responsibilities, after all, is getting his players to believe they can actually win. As with most midseason coaching changes, though, the timing is more a condemnation of ownership and management than of the coach himself. Some close to the team observed Gentry’s exit as a shift to a long-term rebuilding effort, yet Gentry was the first person in the organization to publicly suggest going with younger players. Up to this point, he really did not have that option. For instance, he could not have begun the season starting rookie Kendall Marshall at point guard over Goran Dragic, one of the Suns’ major offseason acquisitions, without raising some hackles. Beyond a move of that nature, Gentry should have done what, exactly? He already decreased Michael Beasley’s playing time in favor of P.J. Tucker, a 27-year-old second-year forward who at least plays defense. Gentry is not the one who built a backcourt that relied heavily on Shannon Brown and Sebastian Telfair. He (presumably) is not the source of a rumored trade that would send Jared Dudley to Memphis in exchange for Rudy Gay, a move that would be lateral at best. The Suns parting ways with Gentry is not the travesty, say, that the Magic’s dismissal of Stan Van Gundy was. Gentry is a perfectly fine NBA coach, if not a franchise-altering one, and he was good enough to lead the Suns to the Western Conference Finals in 2010. But his departure continues the Suns in the direction they have been in since Robert Sarver became majority owner in 2004. That is, downward. Under Jerry Colangelo, the Suns were a model franchise despite sitting just outside the top 10 media markets in the U.S. From 1988 to 2001, the Suns made the playoffs every season and advanced past the first round seven times. The organization rebuilt not just through the draft (Dan Majerle, Michael Finley, Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, Amar’e Stoudemire) but also by buying low in trades (Kevin Johnson, Charles Barkley, Nash again). Since Sarver entered the picture, the transaction history is much less impressive. During the first three years of the Sarver administration, the Suns drafted Luol Deng, Nate Robinson, Marcin Gortat, Rajon Rondo — and traded all of them on draft day. Instead of the foundation of a pretty good team, Gentry was left with a squad of flawed castoffs (Scola, Beasley, Telfair), promising yet unproven new additions (Marshall, Dragic) and a few solid veterans who would be enormous helps to winning teams (Dudley, Gortat, Jermaine O’Neal). In fairness, Gentry deserves blame for failing to stimulate a winning attitude in Phoenix. But considering the collection of talent he was given, it is unclear if that is even what Suns management wanted. This was a team that was built to lose, and Gentry’s biggest blunder may have been not realizing it earlier. His players seemed to know it long ago. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame (https://twitter.com/#!/BenjeeBallgame) or send it here. (http://www.nesn.com/ben-watanabe-bio.html#mailbag)
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Rex Ryan: My wife could coach Tom Brady

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jim Harbaugh won in laser tag by 'hunting' 10-year-old kid

Eddie Lacy is ‘very blind,’ refuses to wear goggles

Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI, gets probation

NFL scouts not in love with Amari Cooper?

Report: No teams interested in trading for Lance Stephenson

It is not Chip Kelly's fault if Eagles miss playoffs

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NBA games of the weekend: Rondo's Dallas debut, Bulls-Grizz

Tuscaloosa students will have two days off if Bama plays in National Championship

Brady scares the **** out of his teammates celebrating

Longhorn Network’s yule log? Five hours of BEVO

Will a Chiefs WR finally catch a TD in Week 16?

Jon Lester and the Cubs

The Toronto Raptors reveal their new logo

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Most underpaid NFL players in 2014

Gronk jokes about Brady compliment

In Matt Kemp, did the Dodgers find a pigeon in Padres?

Why the Saints are legit playoff threat

Impact of U.S.-Cuba relations on MLB

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.