Training camps in sports all have their own rituals. One thing common to all, however, is the inevitable optimism which is often expressed in the form of players proclaiming their improved physical prowess. The Phoenix Suns are no exception and in this case, it's center Marcin Gortat bragging about his...self.
"I'm 100 percent sure I've become a better player and hopefully I show it this season," Gortat said. "I'm in incredible shape. I'm definitely missing a few pounds because I didn't have enough time to get in the weight room. But we've got the new nickname 'Polish Gazelle.' Trust me, I can outrun everybody, even point guards."
You go, big feller! I'm 100 percent sure that we will hear all about how great Marcin is feeling until such time as he's not feeling 100 percent and then we'll probably not hear about that. It's the cycle of life (kind of).
Long before the NBA free agency period arrived in July, I thought Michael Beasley was a guy the Suns should target. Look it up, fool, if you don't believe me! Anyway, in Phoenix the talented forward with the troubled past would be partnered up with Alvin Gentry who I consider the perfect coach for young Michael.
Just like all the great dads, Gentry shows just the right balance of fatherly love with stern hand. His players WANT to please him. And he's had plenty of experience with mercurial players having coached a young Lamar Odom as well as his time with Amare Stoudemire.
Here's how Amare described Alvin back in 2009:
Amare introduces Terry Porter to the underside of a bus - Bright Side Of The Sun
"[...]You want a coach that you can really hug and hold and high five and really have fun with. That makes it fun play. You can high five and hug your team mates. You don't want to have fear of your coach. You want to be respectable with him but you also want to be a friend with him."
Guys like Matt Barnes, however, would surely tell you that Gentry isn't afraid to lay the wood to his players when needed. I've personally heard Angry Alvin through the closed practice doors enough times to know that Gentry isn't just Mr. Nice Guy with his players.
That's exactly what Beasley needs. He needs a coach who will love him and build his confidence but will also get on him and make him want to change his ways.
Maybe it won't work, but I 100 percent believe that Alvin Gentry is Michael Beasley's best hope for turning his career around.
From Paul Coro's camp report we are seeing the first signs:
Phoenix Suns' Michael Beasley working on consistency, defense
"It makes me feel good, not just as a player but as a person," Beasley said. "It makes me feel like somebody believes in me. I feel like us as players, from one to 432 (in the NBA), that's all we need."
The next best thing to watching a game is to follow a live blog of it! The scrimmage is set to start at noon today in San Diego. Goran Dragic will not play (turned ankle). We'll find out later this morning who else is too sore to play as well.
Look for Martin's updates on the blognbasketball website throughout the scrimmage, followed by a recap that we'll post on BSotS later this afternoon.
Don't get your hopes up too high for this scrimmage, folks. Usually, it's barely better than a pickup game at the park amongst guys with feet dipped in cement. They've been doing two-a-days all week after a six month vacation (except for Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola, that is). And they're learning a whole new offense to boot.
Use the comments section to tell us what you want Martin to focus on besides "everything".