Armed with an ABC15 microphone and plenty of questions, Paulie Roundball (uh, that’s me) hit the Suns practice floor in search of answers.
Specifically, we were seeking the thoughts, opinions, and overall reaction to longtime Suns head coach Mike D'Antoni taking the Lakers head coaching gig (and trumping Phil Jackson in the process).
Let’s see, which Suns player should we start with? Uh, hmmm… Jared Dudley? No. Goran Dragic? No. Marcin Gortat? Buzzer. What? Not one of those guys played for Mike D'Antoni?! Ding. That is correct.
Believe it or not, the only current member of the Suns (other than trainers and equipment managers) to have hit the floor with Coach D'Antoni would be the coach who replaced him – Alvin Gentry.
“I’ve got a ton of respect for Mike. He’s the reason that I’m here right now,” Gentry said. “You know, the guy is a great coach."
Thing is, that’s not the way the good-natured Gentry started the interview.
Me: “Coach, was there a headline this morning that got your attention, like the rest of America?”
Gentry (shaking head): “Uh, I don’t know, I still think General Petraeus is a very nice guy…” (deadpan laugh).
Joking aside, Gentry is not among those who think that D'Antoni leading the Lakers will be a worse fit than, say, Shaq in the Suns seven secs or less up-tempo system. Buzzer.
“I know that some people on ESPN have doubts about the way that fits in,” Gentry said. “But I think if you talk to the players there and see how he’s going to play, it’s going to be great for them, I think."
Of course, if you’re wondering if it truly starts with the point guard who runs D'Antoni's system (remember that Steve Nash guy?), you’d be correct. Ding again.
“To play in the open floor with, obviously I’m a little biased, with the best pick and roll player that ever played the game and to have a guy like Kobe and Pau (Gasol) and Dwight Howard and guys off the bench that can shoot the ball, I think he’ll do great there,” Gentry said. “But I think (D'Antoni) would’ve done great anywhere."
Of course, considering that the Suns and Lakers get territorial over Pacific Division real estate, what’s great for LA is certainly not great for Phoenix, right? Not quite.
“We got to get to the point where we can make it a rivalry. That’s what we got to do,” Gentry explained. “Our goal right now is to try to get some consistency in what we’re doing. We haven’t picked out a rival yet, OK?”
Just know that it’s not General Petraeus, OK?
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