Is Alvin Gentry the Long-Term Solution for the Phoenix Suns?

Danny Dukker@DannyDukkerCorrespondent IINovember 28, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Alvin Gentry of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the NBA game against the Miami Heat at US Airways Center on November 17, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Heat defeated the Suns 97-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Considering the Phoenix Suns are 7-8, it is odd for me to suggest a coaching change; however, that is exactly what I am going to do.

The Suns are in full rebuilding mode, and Alvin Gentry is the coach in charge of leading them through this mess.

Well, he shouldn't be.

Before I go any further, I want to point out that Gentry is not a bad coach. I simply don't think he is the right coach to lead the Suns into this new era.

As of now, the Suns are ranked eighth overall in points per game, which sounds good, but they are 30th in points allowed. Basically, they are top ten on offense and dead last on defense.

I have always been a big believer that "defense wins championships". If you are of the same mindset, then there is no way you can look at Gentry and say he is a great coach.

If Gentry was on another team—a team that already had a title or two in its history—then it would be one thing. The Suns have never won a single title.

That's 44 years without one championship and only two Finals appearances. Add the fact that my closest friend is a Celtics fan and you have a whole lot of frustration.

It's not that bad defense is a surprise coming from the Suns; historically speaking they are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. They are also one of the only teams without a title—that's not a coincidence.

This new team has a lot of fresh faces that show promise. Young players like Michael Beasley, Goran Dragic, and Markieff Morris still have time to develop.

If they turn out to be lazy on defense under Gentry, then there is a strong possibility that this edition of the Suns will not bring a title to Phoenix.

Let's look at Gentry's history: he has coached a total of six full seasons, only making the playoffs in two of them.

The last appearance was in 2010, and they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals that year. It was a great run, and the Suns almost made the NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, 'almost' doesn't get a banner raised. Not to mention the fact that the playoff run was aided by a desperate performance from Steve Nash and some great play from Amar'e Stoudemire, both long gone.

The young team Gentry has will not go any farther than the 2010 Suns, assuming they even reach that level. A change of playing style would not hurt Phoenix and could actually be a strong positive.

The Suns have been inconsistent so far this season, and a lot of that has to do with some stubborn lineups put on the floor by Gentry.

Lottery pick Kendall Marshall has played in five games and has averaged under four minutes of playing time. Jared Dudley has been painful to watch, and it took Gentry 11 games to start Shannon Brown.

Michael Beasley has been invisible at times on the floor, but that is not for lack of talent. Wesley Johnson has yet to really be seen by Suns fans, even though he is one of their best defenders.

Right now, the team is being held together by Marcin Gortat and his solid play on both ends of the floor. He has been the last line of defense on perhaps a few too many occasions.

The Suns are not a perfect team, and Gentry can only be expected to do so much. With that said, where are the Suns headed? Are they content with being an eighth seed or on the fringe every year?

I want more out of Phoenix, but I don't have the confidence that more is possible under Alvin Gentry. We need a coach with a defensive focus that will get this team headed in a positive direction.

Gentry is not that coach, and to answer the question in the title; no, Gentry is not the long-term solution for the Phoenix Suns.

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment below with your thoughts!


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