Babby and Gentry collaborated on this deal in July, 2010. Um....yay?

Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby sat for an interview on KTAR's Doug and Wolf Show Wednesday afternoon and discussed the state of the team as the Suns were heading into their game against the Hornets.

Despite the team's struggles and dubious hopes for improvement, the hosts didn't ask the most probing, challenging questions of Babby but, after a few minutes of small talk about the Super Bowl, got down to business talking about lessons learned by the Suns front office since Babby assumed control in the summer of 2010.

In the interview, the full audio of which can be heard here, Babby talked about the importance of staying the course as a team executive, and then had this to say when asked "who do you lean on, who do you confide in in the front office?"

Babby replied:

"The one thing that's developed in the year-and-a-half since I've been here is a great rapport among Lance Blanks, John Treloar, myself and other members of our staff, and also Robert Sarver. We have a great relationship among the three of us. We all bring different things. I bring my experience, Lance brings his experience, John's a coach so he brings his experience and I think it's a symbiotic relationship...I enjoy my relationship with those guys and we learn from each other every day."
A name conspicuous by its absence from that statement was head coach Alvin Gentry. This front office power structure of Babby, GM Blanks and Director of Player Personnel Treloar inherited Gentry from the previous regime. Often, new front offices want to bring in their own coaches, but Babby elected to sign Gentry to an extension soon after being hired.

At the time, Babby had this to say, per the Arizona Republic:
"I felt like we should all be on equal footing and all the management should have at least three years together," Babby said. "We're going to have to make important decisions together. This was the right decision for Alvin and for us and he deserved it. It was a no-brainer."
Notice how he refers to making important decisions together with Gentry then, but doesn't mention Gentry along with the "symbiotic relationships" he enjoys with his inner circle now. Is there anything to read into this?

If Babby genuinely thought the rosters he's assembled could challenge for playoff spots last year and this, he can't be happy with the job Gentry has done so far. And no coach should be considered safe on an 8-13 team which seems to be making no progress.

But, what of Babby's statement here? Is he implying that Gentry is no longer a major decision-maker for the Suns? If so, what does that mean for Gentry's future?

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For the past two-plus decades the Phoenix Suns franchise has been defined by superlative point guard play. From the great Kevin Johnson to Jason Kidd to Stephon Marbury and of course Steve Nash, the...

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For the past two-plus decades the Phoenix Suns franchise has been defined by superlative point guard play. From the great Kevin Johnson to Jason Kidd to Stephon Marbury and of course Steve Nash, the...

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Phoenix Suns guard Streve Nash (13)shoots over New Orleans Hornets guard Jarrett Jack (2) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Wow! For the first time all year, the Phoenix Suns touched the 120-point barrier, turning the game into a chuckler in the final stanza on the way to an easy 17-point win.

And in the process, Steve Nash set the Suns all-time assist record in his 17th "30 and 10" game of his career, but for the first time in more than 2 years. He was ready to play tonight, wasn't he?

(Digression: can you guess the top 5 Suns career assist leaders? Bet not! Jump to the bottom for the answers...)

If Suns coach Alvin Gentry hadn't already played 12 guys before the Suns took the lead for good, he might have been able to clear the bench in the final couple minutes. But for some reason, one of the best-shooting guards in the history of the game (Michael Redd) never took off the warmups. Where is Pat Burke when you need him?

How did this happen? How did it take 20 games for the Suns to score 120 points in a single game? Who knows. We'll just take what we can get, and enjoy it in this otherwise lackluster season.

The first half was nothing to write home about. The Phoenix Suns played with no energy on defense, allowing 59 points and 20 assists in the first 24 minutes to a team that only averages 87 and 18 per 48. Somehow, they were only down 3 points, thanks to the Hornets equally bad defense by wanting Nash (one of the best shooters in the history of the game) to shoot. He scored 19 points.

The second half was a little better, highlighted by the Hornets changing their defense a bit (or Nash finding the holes) and allowing Nash 7 assists in the first 6 minutes of the second half. At that point, we were all looking at the guy with the most career assists of any player in the history of the Phoenix Suns franchise, beating out Kevin Johson...

Of further note, three of Nash's third-quarter assists went to the recently freed Josh Childress.* By the end of the third quarter, the Suns had retaken the lead even with another last-second score at the end of the quarter by an opponent. Yet despite the lead, the Suns had allowed the Hornets to EXCEED their season scoring average by the end of the third quarter. With TWELVE minutes left to go!

The fourth quarter was even better, as the Hornets scoring magic went poof while the Suns started pouring it on like it was 2010. In fact, the Suns ended up scoring more points than any game all season. First time they scored more than 100 in a win since they were 4-4 overall and 2012 had just dawned over the horizon. And it's gotta be the first time they had 3 different 30-point quarters in the same game.

Game balls:

  • Stevie Nash - all-time Suns assist leader! (30 and 10 in this game)
  • Marcin Gortat - another double-double (23 and 10)
  • Josh Childress (8 and 4 in 18 minutes)

*by the way, for all those clamoring to amnesty Childress at the beginning of the season no matter what, please note that Childress has been an energizer bunny the last couple of games. Tonight it was 8 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist in 18 minutes.

Suns all-time assist leaders:

  • Steve Nash: 6,522 and counting
  • Kevin Johnson: 6,518
  • Alvan Adams: 4,012
  • Walter Davis: 3,340
  • Jason Kidd: 3,011

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A harken back to better, high-flying days for both the Suns and the Hornets.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)



OK, Suns! Let's get a win against a team struggling even harder than you!


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