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)
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

HBO's Lampley feels 'terrible' for those who paid for fight

Has Blake Griffin taken the next step?

Mike Evans liked Winston more than Mariota

Ernie Johnson gives his Emmy to Stuart Scott’s daughters

Titus Young avoids prison, receives probation

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Manziel moves from downtown Cleveland to golf community

Ex sues Mayweather for $20M for lying in Couric interview

The NBA needs to leave 'hack-a-whoever' rules alone

Top Rank threatens to sue over Mayweather-Pacquiao piracy

Titans already tailoring offense to suit Mariota's strengths

Pettine: Manziel isn't favorite for Browns' starting QB job

Mike Wallace: 'I'm the fastest player in the NFL'

Ty Lawson could be trade target for Celtics

WATCH: Zack Greinke does great bat flip after hitting double

WATCH: Fan uses beer as ice pack after being hit by ball

La'el Collins reportedly has 'airtight alibi' in murder case

WATCH: Stephen Curry nails shot from hallway prior to game

Top eight NFL free agents on the market

No homers, no problem for Cubs' Kris Bryant

Eagles' Chip Kelly & Sam Bradford: In like, but not love

NFL releases times and dates for preseason slate

Fans file $5M class action suit against Pacquiao over injury

Making sense of the AL East pile-up

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top eight NFL free agents on the market

Eagles' Chip Kelly & Sam Bradford: In like, but not love

Manziel moves from downtown Cleveland

Making sense of the AL East pile-up

Chris Bosh on blood clot diagnosis: ‘I’m lucky to be alive’

Projecting the All-Star Game rosters

Tiger hasn't slept in three days since Lindsey Vonn breakup

2015 NBA Draft big board, first edition

Eliminate Hack-A-Player: Don't reward violating sports rules

No easy solution to the problem of early NFL draft entrants

What’s next for the Spurs?

Cauley-Stein changes middle name to 'Trill'

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.