It is amazing the burden that can be lifted when you enjoy what you are doing again.
The Phoenix Suns have not seemed to enjoy playing the game of basketball for the last season and a half, basically since they destroyed their “beautiful game” to become a more conventional NBA team.
They went from being the toast of the NBA and easily the most entertaining team in the league to a team that, well to be frank, no one wanted to watch.
Steve Nash looked old, Amar’e Stoudemire was injured, again, they looked out of sorts. The only saving grace was the fact that the fountain of youth known as the Suns training staff struck again, this time with Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill.
Then, it happened. Alvin Gentry had the interim tag removed from his head coaching title and the Suns unloaded a 350 lbs. gorilla off their back. Something this fan saw coming a while ago .
Suddenly, there was no one demanding attention or touches in the room again.
Suddenly, they all liked each other again.
Now, I am not placing all the blame on Shaq; in fact, I was one of the fans that liked the trade in the beginning, but it became evident last year that he was, to say the least, a burden on the locker room chemistry.
All of a sudden, that burden is gone and players are playing for each other again and more importantly having fun out there.
Asked if last year they would have held onto the win against the Celtics Steve Nash had this to say to the Arizona Republic , “We didn’t have that understanding and commonality of what we were trying to accomplish. We didn’t know where we were looking for plays. We weren’t on the same page.”
If that doesn’t speak volumes to the type of stress on the locker room last year, I don’t know what would.
The Suns are back to having fun again, they are playing well and they have something they haven’t had in years, a productive bench.
Last year a loss like they had at the hands of the Orlando Magic would have completely flattened that team for a week or more. Now, they understand the ebbs and flows of the season, and more importantly understand that one loss cannot define their season.
Neither can one win, but it can go a long way in showing that they are back on the right path of playing winning basketball.
More importantly, they are having fun playing again, and that makes it fun for us as fans to watch again.