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The Suns practiced again today. It went kind of long. That's about all I can tell you about that.

The after-practice sessions included Lopez, Lawal, Frye and Siler working on individual post offense and defense against each other in a round-robin sort of  fashion under the watchful eye and scratchy voice of Bill Cartwright, with an assist from Mark West.

The one thing that stood out -- aside from Frye participating in the post moves stuff and not his usual three-point shooting drills -- is just how competitive these guys really are. I know it doesn't always come across on TV and from the stands, but watching them battle against each other up-close, you can't help but notice how much effort these players put into their work. Some pro players might sleep-walk through their careers and not work hard, but in my experience, most of them aren't like that.

Practice, people. Practice.

Strength of Schedule

Nobody likes a whiner, but damn, did the the Suns get the shaft from the league in the early season schedule department or what?

According to our old pal John Hollinger (who really should stick to stuff like this and stay away from asking Gregg Popovich obvious questions*), the Suns have the second hardest schedule in the league so far behind only the LA Clippers.

Hollinger's SOS formula: SOS = Season win/loss percentage of team's opponents, expressed as a decimal (e.g., .500)

The Suns' SOS is .680, just behind the 1-8 Clippers (.684) and ahead of the 1-6 Rockets (.630). Anyone want to guess what the Lakers SOS is? .464 which is 21st in the league. By the way, the Warriors (6-2) have an SOS of .404) and the 3-4 Kings have the lowest SOS in the league at .380.

Numbers, they never lie.

And while it is perfectly acceptable for us to whine, bitch and moan about how unfair life and the NBA are, Gentry (at least on the record) wants no part of that.

"We also go back to the old thing -- we're going to play 41 home games and 41 on the road. I don't know if it matters very much when they come; you've got to be prepared."

Gentry said they've switched practice a bit to get the scrimmage done first to try and get Nash more rest, but at the same time, the team needs to work to cut down on the turnovers, which are the thing bugging the coach most right now.

The Suns are 25th in the league in turnover percentage (.155), which is a big reason they are last in the league in defensive efficiency (111.8 point per 100 possessions), despite being a decent defensive team when you watch them play. The bottom line is, if you are going to give up both offensive rebounds and turn the ball over, you are going to give opponents too many good looks. The Suns are also last in opponents eFG% allowed (.525) thanks to that deadly combination. 

Gentry might not be an advanced stats guy, but he knows darn well that you are shooting yourself in the foot when you defend the team's attack well only to give them too many second chance opportunities and too many fast break points off turnovers. The rebounding is what it is, but the turnovers can and must be fixed.

A TV reporter asked Gentry again about the Nash trade rumors. He's less than amused at the media types who are making that stuff up.

"I didn't even see a reliable source quoted. I don't know where they get these from. I guess you got to sit around and come up with something to think about. I'm going to start making rumors about TV stations and newspapers and magazines closing down."


* Not to rag on John. Everyone's been on the wrong end of a Popovich question, but damn, right after a loss, you have to know better than to ask him that!


[Note by Seth Pollack, 11/11/10 3:55 PM MST ]

Check this out about our old pal Amare. Fun stuff and a great read. Resist the urge to go over to Posting and Toasting and stick your tongue out and say "ha, ha"

Fixing the Knicks' Pick-and-Roll - Posting and Toasting
Though it's early (and any comparison to a Steve Nash-led team is brutally unfair), a Synergy Sports comparison of the ways Amare scored last year with the Suns to this year with the Knicks are telling: with the Suns last season, Amare scored 19 percent of the time on Post-Ups, 18% of the time as the Pick and Roll man, 15% of the time in Isolations, and 14% of the time through Cuts to the basket.

With the Knicks so far this season, a whopping 35% of his scoring has been through Isolations, 12 % through spot-up jumpers, and only 10 percent of the time has his scoring come as the Pick and Roll man.

I was not the least bit surprised by all the Amare Stoudemire trade rumors that swirled through the Phoenix Suns organization for the past two years (and then some). STAT was getting set to be an...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Just having a little fun with newcomer Josh Childress. As always comments are welcome and appreciated. You can see this and more new stuff here.

PHOENIX — Breathe easy Phoenix, Steve Nash isn’t going anywhere. At least not if coach Alvin Gentry has anything to say about it. “Steve’s not going to be traded; that I can tell...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
A battle between two Ninja Turtles.

More photos » Mark Weber - AP

A battle between two Ninja Turtles.

Browse more photos »

Trade Nash? What are you, nuts? Are you out of your f$%king mind? ARE YOU COMPLETELY BAT SH*T CRAZY!!!

That's pretty much the tone with which Alvin Gentry responded when asked about the Steve Nash trade speculation. He really couldn't have been more clear right up to the point of saying if Nash goes, he's going with him.

Check it:

Phoenix Suns Insist Steve Nash Trade Chatter Is Bogus - SB Nation Arizona
"Have you looked at the way he's playing? He's playing at a real high level. Why would we trade him? I don't understand that. That's not anything that's been discussed here. You guys want to write about it, fine. But you're wasting your time, I think. It's not going to happen."

There's more there, of course, including Nash saying he's not heard anything about this and thinks it's just "chatter," along with Gentry calling out the national media. Fun.

On to the team you go to war with, not the team you wish you had.

"I think Robin's still trying to get back to his best, physically. He's not moving the same as he did last year. He's not covering the same amount of ground and it takes time," Nash (still here) said.

The bottom line is what we've all seen. Lopez is just not the same guy. Here's what Robin has to say about that.

"I think I'm not quite as explosive as I was last season. I need to get back to that, but I also kind of need to figure out how to play not being quite as explosive."

Robin says it's just part of the rehab process and that he expects it to come back, eventually. But his focus now is figuring out how to play with the body he has, not the body he wished he had. Clearly, that's a struggle for him that he admits even contributes to some of the fouls he's picking up, as he's a step slow on his rotations.

Other than that, Gentry's focus remains on turnovers and rebounding. The turnovers are a matter of getting used to each other and some guys trying to do things they aren't accustomed to doing and trying to win the game themselves. 

"The fact that we're in a game that we give up 31 points off turnover is amazing in itself. We've just got to make sure we're making good, solid decisions and the turnovers have got to be in the 12 to 14 range, not the 20 range," Gentry said.

The rebounding is a harder issue, of course, as we knew it would be. Gentry and Nash both talked about just doing a little better. Maybe one or two more per person. 

Asked if the personnel made it more difficult, Gentry wanted no part of that excuse.

"It can't be personnel because we've got who we got. We are who we are. We're going to play with who we have and so we have to get better in that area."

A few minutes later, he did say it wasn't fair to blame Hedo for not being able to rebound with the big power forwards he's assigned to. 

So, you know, they are who they are and who they are is going to get hurt on the glass some nights. Period.

Audio (hear for yourself):

One last tidbit. Robin was doing some extra work with Siler and Lawal. He missed an 8-foot hook shot and shouted, "Scheisse!"

First time I've heard him use a German curse word, which just goes to show you, he's constantly learning and developing his skill set.

Happy (early) Veterans Day everyone and thanks your service (if you served).

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