Right now the Phoenix Suns (16-30) are 3-2 under Interim Head Coach Lindsey Hunter. All three wins have come against divisional opponents, two on National TV, and the team is moving in the right direction today.
What did they do?
The simplification of the offense and the defense has been the catalyst to the play of the team. Today they went in with the mentality to play hard, but with a game tomorrow after a game last night it was a shorter practice that was very intense.
Right now the players are buying into the new system with the stripped down offense.
"Simplifying the offense," is a broad term, but it basically means that elements of the offense are being removed so that way players are not overthinking situations and reacting to what they see on the court. That is what happened last night when Michael Beasley took over the game late and looked great in doing so.
They go into the game against the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow night at home before hitting the road for five straight games, but played them earlier this week so familiarity is there under the Lindsey Hunter regime. There may not be a clear advantage, but after breaking down game tape from last nights win and the previous Dallas loss the gameplan may unfold differently.
"I don't know," Hunter on any advantage in the Dallas game. "Hopefully it gives us an advantage. I guess if we win it gives an advantage and if we don't it gives them an advantage."
They are trying to keep an "edge" about them through practice and working hard in practice. That is showing up in games, at least in three of them, and there are building blocks to build off of with the play of Michael Beasley and the teams overall defense.
Marcin Gortat -- Food poisoning limited Gortat in practice to where he came in, tried, and then left after getting treatment. He is day-to-day with that.
Goran Dragic -- Ice on knees at the end of practice was a cautionary because Dragic has taken some hits throughout the season. Kendall Marshall received some run with the first team. He is not expected to miss any action.
Jermaine O'Neal -- The medication has worked and O'Neal has been cleared to practice by doctors, day-to-day officially, but will try to play Saturday. If not on Tuesday of next week. He is day-to-day.
Coach Hunters Simplifying Things:
Take some things away that may have been bit complicated to do in situations and defensively breaking it down to the bare minimum and building from there. Getting our guys to a point to where they do not have to think about it. It is automatic and you know exactly what to do in every situation and that is where we want it to be, instinctive. Not where they have to think about stuff "do I go left or do I go right," it is not "do I go," but "when do I go."
More Coach Hunter:
My biggest thing with guys is "don't look to the bench." Offensively, don't look over here. Now defensively we may need you to look over here to help you out with something, but offensively if you make a mistake, so what. Let's go get a stop. I've drilled that home to Mike, don't look over here, play. If you take a bad shot, who cares? You are probably going to take a lot more, so let's get back on defense and keep playing through it.
Jared Dudley on Recent Wins:
You know what, when the cameras are on I think people play a different way. I definitely think we play a little harder than in general, more to prove. I think the Lakers, anytime you see a National Televised game there is usually a better atmosphere in the gym, better crowd, better emotion, and I think most pros are used to that going to college and high school. Playing in empty arenas I think sometimes you can play with a lull and last night we had a good crown, glad we could get the win for them.
The 2013 NBA Draft Update (Changing It Up)
As of today the team is slotted in the 7th spot and the 13th spot in the draft if it were to happen today. The 13th pick comes via the Los Angeles Lakers who are playing sub-playoff quality basketball hence the swap of the pick.
Here are the players they are taking in the current Mock Draft (The Mock does not reflect current standings: