Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 1/18/13
PHOENIX So, Alvin Gentry and the Phoenix Suns have come to the shared conclusion that someone else should coach this struggling NBA team. Examining this opinion from the perspective of Gentry, whos been the teams head coach since February 2009, is something were going to skip. Instead, our expected task should be deciding how we feel about the Suns portion of this mutually pondered development. I could pound the keyboard and declare that mutually agreeing to have someone other than Alvin coaching the Suns is a terrible idea. Or I could lob major props at owner Robert Sarver and president of basketball operations Lon Babby, writing that with the team crawling to this seasons halfway point at 13-28 its about stinking time. But I wont do either. Why not? Well, because I just dont know. For context in this predicament, lets check in with Babby. He was the perfect coach with the previous group, Babby -- referring to Suns teams that featured Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire -- said of Gentry during a Friday afternoon press conference at U.S. Airways Center. In Babbys interpretation of events, Gentry just isnt the guy to coach the current group. Sometimes it just doesnt feel right, said Babby, who sort of refused to get into technical specifics of why Gentry was ushered out. It wasnt about wins and losses. It was about a feel of where the group was progressing. As someone who traipses through the Suns locker room before and after every game, this is a group that had the feel of several guys in progression toward a greater calamity. It didnt yet seem like fistfights on the horizon, but an undercurrent of disharmony was translating to the hardwood. Lets just say that losing 13 of their last 15 games has escorted a few players to the role of unhappy campers. The point guard, for example, recently said only three Suns play hard on a consistent basis. The center has been unhappy with his offensive-participation rate since Nash dribbled off to Hollywood. Yeah, it really seemed that Gentry was the perfect coach for the previous group, but not so perfect for this one. The previous group had more talent and a considerably high level of basketball aptitude than the current group. The current group, it should be pointed out, was put together by Babby and general manager Lance Blanks, who like Gentry are in the final year of their contracts. For the record, just coming in and grabbing superstars isnt exactly a breeze. With Babby and Blanks at the helm, the Suns hardly struck gold in their first two drafts, but they did manage to sort of successfully woo Eric Gordon (for good or bad) with a whopping contract offer, subsequently matched, and collect a bag of future draft selections. Babby also was eager to point out that Gentrys shared-dismissal solution had nothing to do with which players played and which didnt. If had been speculated that not playing off-season additions Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson contributed to Alvins doom. So, beyond simply losing, Sarver and Babby now preside over a team that was seemingly headed toward an emotional implosion. Lacking sufficient talent to win games without playing hard and together, the Suns were managing to reach defeat in many head-scratching, eye-rolling ways. Although he avoided those pesky specifics regarding what Gentry did or didnt do, Babby said the current Suns are Regressing. We have to have our culture moving forward. And by culture, he wasnt referring to blasting opera tunes in the locker room as pre-game motivation. Its the culture of winning -- of not just playing hard but playing the right way together -- that this team hasnt demonstrated. Gentry is familiar with that culture, because it helped the Suns reach the Western Conference finals in 2010. But with the current roster hes been obliged to work with, he has been unable to inspire transcendent cohesion among middling-level talent. Getting rid of him is the thing to do then, right? Well, only if his eventual replacement is better at rallying his players toward a collective effort and making adjustments than Gentry has been. Babby, whos aiming to have an interim coach in place before Sundays practice, will choose the successor from the Suns current pool of assistants. Press-room gossip suggested the smart money should be on skill-development chief Lindsey Hunter, with veteran defensive-oriented assistant Elston Turner and former Suns star Dan Majerle also on the short list. Will one of these guys have more success than Gentry? Like Babby, I have a feeling about where this could be going, but until Hunter or Turner or Majerle spend time on the job, how is anyone to really know? With 41 games to use as an audition, Babby and Sarver can sit back and judge whether to anoint this interim coach as the full-time leader or go out and find someone else. Will the interim guy enjoy a honeymoon of player harmony, ball movement and help defense? A temporary uprising certainly wouldnt be shocking. But would it translate to next season? The opportunity to see someone else leading the team does make more sense than sitting back and grinding our teeth while Gentry and the Suns stagger toward the finish line. This stagger, however, has the capacity to help the flexible Suns begin to add talented players who are a lot more like the players Gentry coached during the relative glory days. See, even if Alvin Gentry isnt the perfect coach for the current team, here's a sobering concept: There probably shouldnt be a perfect coach for a team like this. Rather than blame Gentry for a culture regression, how about building a roster with players whove already shown a willingness to play for each other? With a few more months left to demonstrate that he and Blanks should be allowed to play with the Suns draft picks and cap flexibility, Babby couldnt fire the current players and hire the Oklahoma City Thunder as an interim team. So, sitting at a grumpy, grumbling 13-28, the Suns will take their marching orders from another voice. If they respond, play smarter and as a unit, they can win a little and kick start that culture change. But judging the mutually decided removal of Alvin Gentry shouldnt be considered a wise move until we see the work of his eventual replacement.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Pat Kelsey ditches UMass at last minute, plans to return to Winthrop

Report: Top GM candidates not interested in Redskins job due to Daniel Snyder

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after 13 seasons

GGG, Canelo Alvarez reportedly resume fight talks

Shaq comes clean on flat earth talk: ‘I’m joking, you idiots’

NFL to discuss possibility of reviewing penalties

Report: Paul George wants to play with Gordon Hayward

Reds pitcher Raisel Iglesias injures elbow, hip in shower fall

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/22: Team USA is heading to the championship

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

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

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

The 'With teammates like this, who needs rivals?' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker