The Cardinal Rule of communication is quite simplistic in it's most basic form; keep everything in house. On the surface that is easy, but in the world of professional sports with reporters shoving microphones and recorders in your face 24/7 it can be difficult to keep everything in house.
After the Phoenix Suns (23-54) dropped a tough game to divisional rival, the Golden State Warriors; embattled, polarizing, and at times misunderstood forward Michael Beasley offered his take on how he has improved his focus as of late.
"Everybody. I don't really read articles. But you know, just everybody. My friends, my family, teammates, coaches. Just everybody. Everybody telling me 'you need to do that' or 'do that' or this gets you open. I'm the one playing. I'm the one controlling my fate. It's just trusting my instincts, being aggressive and doing what I know best. -- Beasley
Those comments can be taken in different contexts depending on how you personally view the enigmatic player that has been a lightning rod for controversy for years. Remember, early in the season, he claimed there were "Gremlins" on the rim knocking his shots out of the hoop...
In a world where Twitter, YouTube, and social networks spread news and gossip faster than kerosene on a fire those comments simply cannot happen.
Beasley's retort came on the court a mere 48 hours later in the form of the worst shooting performance of his career, on any level, shooting 1-11 from the field.
To compound the situation, interim head coach Lindsey Hunter did not come in with a fire extinguisher, but rather a bucket of gasoline with his nonchalant, lackadaisical approach to the subject. What could have been brushed off as a simple, "we talked about it and it is a non-issue today" would have ended all of the talk, but instead Hunter came back with a shot of his own ignoring the basic principles of communication.
"Consider the source," Hunter said when asked about the comments, the source being Michael Beasley while adding clothes pins to the the laundry hanging out in the open at U.S. Airways Center
Hunter continued on saying, "it's Mike. I don't pay attention to Mike. If he isn't listening he better figure out what we are trying to do defensively or he won't play."
The continued safety net this season for Hunter has been the notion of if you don't play defense you will not play. Whether that is pointed at Beasley in this instance or the Morris brothers lack of intensity earlier or any other unsavory situation during his 36 game tenure.
Under the new regime the message has been that this is going to be a defensive team, but the play has not met the message halfway and this is simply a theory being tested out on the fly without the correct pieces.
In his 36 games as interim head coach the team has surrendered 100+ points 21 times and has won 10 games total. Through the first 41 games under Alvin Gentry the team had 20 games where they gave up 100+ to their opponents. Same results, different voice. The rotations have been poor, still, and the players simply do not fit the mold of Hunter's vision of the 2003-2004 Detroit Pistons for the 2012-2013 Suns.
This could have all been said in jest, but the inclination was not conveyed in a clear and obvious manner taking this back to the underlying theme of the second half of the season; Lindsey Hunter is learning a lot on the fly. This week it is communication.
Pot shots like "consider the source" or playful poking with "I don't pay attention to Mike" is laughed off when a team is winning or when a clear culture has been established between the player and coach. Neither of those exist.
"For Mike to say he doesn't listen to anybody... we don't listen to Mike. He better figure out how to guard people in this scheme or he won't be playing. I don't care who he is listening to he better figure that part out."
Again, minor pot shot, lackadaisical on the whole, and the pretense of a threat that has no merit for a player that has not found a coach that can reach him since Frank Martin unleashed the abilities of Beasley on the Big 12 for his only season in college.
That was one of the primary reasons Hunter was chosen for this job: to reach Michael Beasley.