10-05-2009, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Gentry's balancing act
SAN DIEGO - Anyone who calls Alvin Gentry a player's coach is right. Anyone who thinks that means the Suns coach is all pep talks, back pats and jokes is wrong.
When a six-day training camp ended Sunday, Gentry had won his players' favor by running them hard and hitting them harder verbally.
"He yelled at us last year more in 30 games than the previous coach did," forward Grant Hill said. "He yelled at us more in this camp than last year or the year before. He gets on us. He's a good guy, great people person, but he can get on you. I don't think anyone takes it personal. Everyone understands he is trying to make us better."
Gentry lit a fire under his team about defense early in his first camp as Suns head coach, saying, "How about we just make them make one more pass so I can get on somebody for not getting back?"
He kicked Robin Lopez out of a game for his temper. He yelled a countdown during a Louis Amundson free throw to speed play. He gave a team a turnover for not lining up right.
But he also ended each practice with encouraging words for the team and went individually to players to chat more than his predecessors had.
"That's a really difficult thing to do at our level is to hold guys accountable and at the same time have a good relationship with them and inspire guys," guard Steve Nash said.
Gentry admits to internally overanalyzing errors, but he does not externally put burdensome expectations on his team. Instead, he sticks to a theme of playing to its potential.
"His whole demeanor makes it easier on everyone else," Amundson said.
STAT's full week
The most audible reaction from Saturday's scrimmage came after an Amaré Stoudemire slam. It was for the ferocity of it and the rarity of one of those classic Stoudemire moments, as he works his way back after nearly eight months away from organized play.
"Obviously, he's still got a ways to go," Gentry said.
Stoudemire made it through a full camp for the first time in four years.
"It's slowly getting there," he said. "It definitely was a great camp for me. I finally got through a full one. I've still got to get in shape. I'm about where I expected but still not where I want to be."
Stay classy, San Diego
The Suns are not ruling out returning to San Diego for a camp after initially thinking this year would be a one-time event.
"We could stay here and commute to Phoenix," Gentry said. "That was my worry, to come out here and be in an environment having the ocean right there. When they walked in these doors, they worked extremely hard."
The Suns returned to Phoenix because they host a preseason game Tuesday against Partizan Belgrade.
"I'm tired of playing my teammates," guard Jason Richardson said. "You want to go whup somebody else pretty good or throw an elbow at someone else."
Gentry on replacement officials: "It doesn't bother me. They're going to work their butts off and do the best job they can. One thing you do know is the NBA
is going to train them well, and they're going to get better."
• Amundson on camp competition: "Everybody's fighting for minutes. Alvin made it clear that we're going to try a few different lineups. He's also made it clear that some games, guys might not play. We can't let that affect our play. We have to accept it and pick each other up."
• Center Channing Frye: "I know there's a lot of doubters, but I really don't give a rat's ass. I'm going to help this team. We're going to do some things this year."