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Today, fans, players and management will not settle for the time it takes to develop success. Rookies are busts unless they perform out of the gate. Coaches are losers unless they win right away. Teams are doomed during the pre-season. Players are disgruntled after one minute of play without a “touch”! Fans no longer jump on and off the bandwagon, nowadays they blow it up with an IED.

No longer will we wait for the results of our work, mostly because we don't actually want to take the time to put in the work to get results. Players walk into the gym feeling entitled to everything. Coaches feel the pressure to get instant wins from GM's that cannot wait for success. Fans want heads to roll before the pre-season even finishes. In today's landscape of basketball, you better win fast or you aren't going to be around for very long.

Nowhere was this more evident when Mitch Kupchak waited all of five games to fire the head coach. After an off-season makeover that had the world abuzz and engravers at the ready, Kupchak waited patiently as the Lakers took their time to gel, went through some early season ruffles and ultimately won the NBA championship... Wait! What?

Maybe that is what he should have done?

While nobody except his wife really likes Mike Brown as a coach, a five game leash after a complete makeover seems a bit drastic.

Five Games? Gasol didn't even have time to start sulking. Ron Artest [I refuse to call him that stupid name] hadn't even changed his name to "Flaming Hot Cheeto". Heck, Kobe hadn't even called out his teammates yet. Kupchak probably anticipated all of the above and decided that since he was already going to fire Brown at the all-star break, he might as well just get it over with.

And so it goes in this new age world we live in. Quick to anoint and quicker to hang.

Jeremy Lin got three weeks of unabashed lust from the world, only to be quickly cast aside like a package of undies from Mom on Christmas morning. James Harden was traded, put up MJ numbers in his first couple of games, was nominated alpha dog status, only to fall back to earth and declared "at-best" a #2 [as in a #2 guy, not poop]. If Lebron James had a bad game, I would expect the world to rip his crown off and stomp on it, only to feel really bad about after the next game where he has a quintuple double [although the bad feelings would dissipate within an hour].

We here in Phoenix aren't immune.

Shannon Brown goes all "microwave" on us in one quarter and everyone in Orangeland gets giddy, never mind the fact that Brown also dug us the whole he had to carry us out of. One moment we are lamenting his abhorrent play, the next moment we are solidifying him as our go-to all-star shooting guard, only to finally look for our shovel and measure the size of the trunk in our car. It is dizzying, confusing and exhausting.

This leads us to Gortat.

His ridiculously stupid comments to a foreign language publication are a perfect example of our disinterest in the virtue of patience. Rather than working hard and giving this team an opportunity to gel together, Gortat went the route of a petulant, entitled child. While there is usually a nugget of truth contained within anyone's rants, that truth is overshadowed by the mere fact that we are only eleven games into a season with a roster makeover that makes the Lakers look like they have been together longer than the Temptations.

Gortat's willingness to throw his entire team and coach under the bandwagon only shows impatience gets you nowhere fast. His bomb-dropping comments did little to improve his or the team's situation. Instead of showing up with something to prove, his chose to talk as if his words would get him what he wants.

Well, talk is cheap.

From the fans standpoint, I get it. Fans have always been impatient. We want to win now. We don't have time to wait and watch as some rookie goes through the growing pains of learning the game. We don't want to sit idly by as lineups are tweaked and players adjust to a new system. We don't want to deal with new players figuring each other out while we lose winnable games.

Win baby, just win.

But what of those who are supposed to be professionals? What happened to people in the know who have experience and truly understand that it takes time and patience for success to come? Since when do GM's and players start griping after a couple of pre-season games?

The problem stems from what we are teaching young people. What does a child want? They want their way. They do not have the patience to wait. They don't understand how to earn it. They believe they deserve whatever "it" is and if they don't get it, they throw a fit. As a parent, nobody likes tantrums. They are infuriating, excruciating and embarrassing. You just want it to stop and your first instinct is to do whatever it takes to get it over with. When the noise subsides, you feel instant relief; maybe even feel successful that you were able to manipulate your child to stop their tantrum.

Well, I have got news for you: what you think was a great move on your part, only ingrained misbehavior into your child's repertoire. Rather than enduring the wrath of your child's disgruntled outbursts, you chose the path of least resistance by reinforcing a tantrum as the path to obtain what your kid wants.

Great job parents!

In the world of sports, parents are doing no different. Believing that their child is of unlimited ability and can do no wrong, parents spend their entire effort advocating for their child by fighting their battles, pushing for their way, and reinforcing their kid's belief that they are entitled to things without earning them.

Now we have grown up millionaires who never learned to cope with disappointment. These rich babies have never faced an obstacle in their life that couldn't be eliminated with a well-placed tirade, a pointed finger of blame in the other direction, or the threat of transfer/trade.

Marcin Gortat is a little kid throwing a tantrum. He wants to play, wants the ball and will kick and scream to the media unless someone does something about it. He believes he is the top talent that can bring us to the promise land despite no actual evidence to support it. He believes that this is both a problem with coaching, as well as teammates who clearly don't get "it".

What a big gargantuan wealthy child!

Rather than waiting patiently to let his teammates figure out their roles, he complains. Instead of realizing that it takes time for a coach to work out strategy with new players in the fold, he points fingers. He could have shown up to work ready to prove himself through maximizing his effort, but that takes work. No, it is easier to complain your way into getting what you want.

I applaud Alvin Gentry's response to this. As the "parent" in this situation, Gentry said "NO" to the child. He didn't placate Gortat by coddling him and telling him what he wants to hear. He didn't substitute something that would make Gortat happy enough to stop his tantrum right then and there. Gentry did what every parent should do, tell your child "that is nice kiddo, but you suck in the post and I am not giving you jack squat. You have to earn it!"

Kudos to you, Dad!

Tough love is necessary, but it doesn't provide immediate results. In fact, when you say "NO!" usually the noise gets louder and the tantrums get more pronounced in the immediate. Sometimes that is hard to take. Losing is hard to take, but someone has to have the cajones to understand that the process of growing and learning takes time.

We as fans should pay attention. Our grumblings push front office types to make hasty decisions like bad parents. Rather than understanding the value of patience and making quality choices to develop fundamental foundations for success, GM's are pushed by feeling the need to meet the unrealistic expectations. Coaches make drastic moves in order to get in front of things before they are blamed for the failure. None of this is a recipe for success.

After eleven games, we have already gone from proclaiming Marcin Gortat our most valuable asset that would require a superstar and multiple high draft picks in return for a trade, to someone we need to dump. After eleven games, our most beloved hustle guy and in-house basketball genius Dudley has played his way to being a throw-in on a trade simply because he has disappeared. We have already written Luis Scola's obituary, written off Kendall Marshall, have determined Beasley is bad for us and know that Wes Johnson is useless despite not even playing.

Remember the thing about the nugget of truth. Well, that is the sad part of it all - that it may be all true. But what we have lost in all of this is the fact that we haven't even given any of these guys a chance to figure it out. We have not given them any time to make adjustments and deal with their obstacles. We haven't allowed them to work at it to see if they can earn our respect.

Which brings us back to Prudentius . The guy was right: Patience really is a virtue.


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Randy Hill is a guy who covers the Suns on a daily basis and on pure basketball knowledge is THE most technically insightful source of information on the team. The guy is a legit basketball coach/scout who both knows this team and the game of basketball.

Here's what Randy has to say.

Fox Sports Arizona
It also should be noted the Suns' recent shift away from a heavy dose of the Corner-series offense probably has quite a bit to do with Gortat's inability to function within its parameters. Because the system has two post players operating near each elbow, newcomer Luis Scola – a more accomplished passer – was supposed to spend considerable time on the strong side of the formation. But Gortat sort of whined his way off the weak side, where an enterprising offensive player could use deft maneuvering in the off-ball, two-man game to create shot opportunities.

There's more there. You should read it.

Kyndra de St. Aubin of Arizona Sports 620 is the first reporter to talk to Marcin since his comments. Read her full story.

Suns center Gortat admits he must play better - ArizonaSports.com
"The way I play, I definitely don't think I can help the team to win the games and that's frustrating, definitely," he said. "Hopefully with the season and with the next few games, things are going to change."

Alvin has already said he doesn't see things changing in regards to how Marcin will be used. So...

On a completely unrelated note, there's this.



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We interrupt the contrived controversy of Marcin Gortat's inflammatory statements and in true modern media form will now try to divert you to another made up dust up. To wit, we have Grantland's Zach Lowe expressing his displeasure with the new Suns court.

How New York's gambles are...and the ugliest court in the NBA.
It's Halloween year-round in Phoenix, as the Suns, for some reason, decided to eliminate their nice purple/blue shade in favor of this orange-and-black mess.

It should be noted in the interest of fairness and balance that Mr. Lowe claims via Twitter (and we have no reason not to believe him but using words like 'claimed' imply more drama) that it was some other nefarious outside party (likely not nefarious) that described the USAC playing surface as the "ugliest in the NBA".

I doubt Misters Sarver and Babby care what Zach Lowe thinks about their court design. They probably (hopefully) care what you think.

So...vote (and remember that in America, not every vote counts).

And yes, if you guessed that this post was a waste of time on a slightly boring pre-Thanksgiving Tuesday then you can pass Go and collect your two hundred fake dollars.

Poll
Where does the new Suns court fall in the NBA Ugly Courts Power Rankings?

  260 votes | Results


Michael Schwartz: So Kevin, Marcin Gortat made some inflammatory comments about his role with the Suns and his future that were translated into English on Monday. Should we take what he says at face...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
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Phoenix Suns C Marcin Gortat said a lot of things the other day, while Alvin Gentry responded by saying he was glad he did before going to say that nothing was going to change.

Players and coaches alike get frustrated when a team is going through a losing streak, and it's quite easy to spout off immediately after one of those losses. So I'm not going to put a lot of stock in this craziness as anything bigger than a way to kill a couple days till the next game.

But before this blow over completely (or blow's up), let's break down exactly what Marcin said and CHECK THE FACTS.

MG: ...when the ball sticks to one person on offence, it's hard to find a good rhythm.

Is the ball sticking to one person more than last season, or is the ball just not going to Marcin as much? Or maybe a little of both?

Assists per game:

Assists-leaders_medium

The top ballhandler (Nash vs. Dragic) has 3.4 fewer assists per game, and the team as a whole is down 1.5 assists per game. Yet, it appears from these raw numbers that more players and passing this year than last in every case beyond the starting point guard.

So what of the black hole comment?

Was he talking about Michael Beasley? Beasley's usage rate is high (25.3) and his shot attempts per game are high as well (14.8), but his assist rate is double his career average so at least he is trying a little bit.

Or was he talking about Goran Dragic, who we all know is more interested in scoring than his predecessor? Dragic's usage rate is 21.9, nearly identical to his entire career AND lower than Nash's, while his assist rate is at a career high.

I don't really know, other than that Marcin Gortat is no longer the number one scoring option on the Suns when he takes the floor. And when you're being relatively ignored, you feel the ball is "sticking" because it's not coming down low.

MG: [Gentry] also said he wanted me to set up in the paint and wait for my shots. And I'm still waiting...

Gortat-year-over-year_medium

Across the board, his numbers are down as you can see in the chart above. Fewer attempts, lower shooting percentage, higher rate of getting his shot blocked and fewer easy finishes.

Why are all his numbers down, when a higher percentage of them are being taken from the inside (ie. less than 10 feet away from the basket) where shooting percentages generally rise?

A look at mysynergysports.com statistics tells some of the story. As we expected, Marcin's game was going to evolve with a new point guard. Dragic attacks off the pick more often than Nash, rather than floating and setting up the roll man.

MG: I can score in various situations. Finishing pick and rolls, in transition, from midrange, around the rim. There are a lot of options. Unfortunately, my two strongest plays - the pick and roll and post-ups have been taken away from me.

Gortat's most frequent play type last season was being the roll man. He finished on the roll 33% of the time last season, with a robust 1.234 points-per-play. He scored 63.4% of the time. This year, he rolls only 22% of the time as is terrible at finishing (.78 PPP, scoring only 42% of the time). Quite the change. Likely, the problem is where he's getting the ball on the roll, and how little spacing there is on the court. Tighter spaces means narrow driving lanes and easy help defense.

Let's talk post-ups, Marcin's second-best play type. Last year, he posted up 18.3% of the time but scored only 38.8% of the time. Ugh. Maybe he got better over the summer, right? This season, he is posting up slightly more often (18.9% of the time) and scoring slightly better at 41.9% of the time, but that's still not really that good.

As Alvin Gentry puts it: "We'd love to be able to throw him the ball and have him post up and score for us (but) that hasn't been one of his strengths really."

Moving on.

MG: We don't share the ball as much as we have in previous seasons. The ball doesn't move around the perimeter - it usually stops after one or two passes. You can't play like this, let alone win. Basketball is a team sport. Nobody ever won a game alone.

It is definiteiy true that the Suns are not as effective on offense this season compared to last. We all saw the missed shots and the shot-jacking all over the court.

Let's compare the teams side by side.

Suns-last-this_medium

The Suns, as a team, are shooting more from the inside this year mostly thanks to great offensive rebounding. They are taking seven more shots per game this season but making only 43% of them. Total field goals per game are up while the assist rate is down.

Marcin is right that the ball is "sticking" more than last year. The Suns are 25th in the league in assist ratio on all field goal attempts (including misses), down from 8th a year ago. It's important to note the difference between the best and the worst in the league is quite small though, and the Suns' number is negatively affected by their plethora of missed shots.

So then Marcin is right?

Yes and no. Yes, the Suns are not focusing on him as much as last year, and the Suns are not as effective offensively as a year ago (19th vs. 9th). But Marcin has not proven he is a good one-on-one offensive player, such as the post-up and the spot up.

How will this end for the Suns?

Probably not very soon, unless the Suns are bowled over by an offer to trade. Gortat is a very good rebounder, defender and shot-blocker and those guys do not grow on trees. There are not 30 Marcin Gortats in this league.

As far as Marcin's offense is concerned: "Nothing's going to change. We'll try and throw him the ball and we'll try and get him the ball as much as we possibly can and do everything we can to get him the ball but you know, it is what it is."

Marcin Gortat needs to focus on his other strengths, just as Alvin Gentry wants it:

MG: We've talked before the season started. He said he expects me to play defence, rebound, block shots and quarterback the defence.

Just do that, Marcin.

...and remember to play our Guess the Suns Starting Lineup contest!


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