The members of the 2012-13 Phoenix Suns cleared out their lockers on Thursday after finishing with the second worst record in franchise history. Only did the inaugural Phoenix Suns back in 1969 finish with a worse mark (16-66) than the 25-57 that the Suns put out this season.
It was without a doubt a season to forget and no one was more telling of their thoughts of the season on Thursday than center Marcin Gortat.
“We are missing just strong minds,” said Gortat. “We are just weak. Mentally weak and I would say we need more talent, more athletic, energetic guys and people that want to compete and fight
“At the end of the day it is all about the players,” he added. “If you don’t feel that you got to work. If you feel comfortable that someone is coming into your house and punking your ass by 30 points every night it’s just not right.”
A lot of Gortat’s criticism of the team had to do with the attitude of some of the young players on the team. Gortat, who just finished his sixth season with the team mentioned he tried to be a vocal leader and pull certain players aside but it didn’t always help. He added that 17-year veteran Jermaine O’Neal tried to do the same.
“I got to tell you, when I was making it into the league, I was listening,” Gortat stated. “I had a lot of great veterans, I had a lot of great, strong mind people in the league. If I tried to act like a smart ass and act like I understand everything and act like I know everything, I’d get smacked in the head automatically. And Stan (Van Gundy) would bring me back to earth.”
While Gortat was not afraid to voice his displeasure with the team, he did put the blame on himself saying that it starts with him as a leader.
“We have to be tougher with everything we do, including me.” he explained. “Just because I am talking about the whole team doesn’t mean I’m doing a great job”
Now that the season is over, everyone will be keeping a close eye on the direction of the leadership of the Phoenix Suns. Will the team tag of the Interim tag for Lindsay Hunter and will general manager Lance Blanks be back in the front office as well? All questions that will be answered in the next few weeks.
Hunter said on Thursday that he isn’t mentally preparing himself for either outcome and is overall pleased with getting his first head coaching experience in the NBA despite all of the losses.
“I learned a lot,” said Hunter. “Very valuable I think to me to get the experience. I helped a lot of guys progress in their careers. Even thought we didn’t win as much as nobody would have liked, there were a lot of positives that happened during my tenure here.”
“I am happy with that,” Hunter added. “And now I am looking forward to my next step here.”
The Suns started the season 13-28 under Alvin Gentry and finished the year 12-29 under Lindsay Hunter. They finished with the worst record in the Western Conference and have the 4th worst record overall in the NBA. They will also own the Miami Heat’s first round pick in the 2013 draft after missing out on the Lakers first round lottery pick if they failed to make the playoffs.