As the franchise moves through a rough patch at mid-point of the season the Phoenix Suns are preaching patience.
Patience with an overhauled roster lacking star power.
Patience with a new-look coaching staff featuring a first-time coach, much less NBA head coaching in interim Lindsey Hunter.
As of now it’s unclear how much the team’s dwindling fan base can absorb as Phoenix enters the week with the worst record in the Western Conference (15-30) and 8.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff position. Last week the club announced they had “parted ways” with Alvin Gentry and days later assistants Dan Majerle and Elston Turner also did not return.
“It is a little bit of a soap opera,” former NBA great and Hall of Famer Julius Erving told Pros2Preps.com. “I think when a coach gets fired and a couple of top-tier execs pull out it reaps of there being a mutiny associated with the firing so it puts a whole lot of pressure on the ownership to do something quickly.”
Owner Robert Sarver says he trusts his front office staff which includes team President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby and General Manager Lance Blanks.
Erving, a three-time champion and 16-time All-Star, believes the shakeup was made in the best interest of the franchise moving forward and should not be judged by what happens the remainder of this season.
“Hopefully the fans don’t get disinterested,” he explained. “They do understand Phoenix is a franchise in transition and everybody wants to win. Bottom line is W’s erase all the ghosts.”
Those wins have been few and far between for a franchise who just a few short years ago was on the cusp on the NBA Finals.
Internally, the players have been receptive to Hunter’s styles and philosophies as the Suns’ brass insisted a “fresh voice” was needed to revitalize a roster following Gentry’s exit. They believed the change was necessary after the Suns home loss to the Bucks on the 17th. It was their sixth in the last seven games.
The Suns return to the court Wednesday when Steve Nash makes his first appearance in Phoenix as a Los Angeles Laker after being traded away for two future first and second-round drafts picks in early July.