Today Marc Berman posted a defensive assessment written by his lawyer buddy comparing the post-D’Antoni Suns to the pre-D’Antoni Suns. I don’t know the lawyer buddy but his assessment may as well have been written by Berman anyway because Berman thinks its “dead-on”, yet like most things posted on his blog, it’s wrong.
Berman’s buddy thinks the Suns have improved on defense since D’Antoni left but the numbers don’t back up the assertion. During D’Antoni’s Phoenix years its true the Suns weren’t a defensive juggernaut. Based on the points given up per 100 possessions stat, which equalizes for pace, D’Antoni’s Suns were always just about middle of the road defensively.
This year under Gentry? The Suns are 4th worst in the league. 27th in the NBA. Interestingly, the Knicks are 24th, better than the Suns.
Some dude’s scouting report is all fine and good but the forensic evidence contradicts his eyewitness testimony. Also, that quote Grant Hill told Berman’s buddy’s buddy? Berman’s buddy should know, that’s hearsay.
Basically what we’re left with then is that Gentry hasn’t coached D as effectively as D’Antoni did and does, and that the Suns are successful anyway because Gentry was smart enough to reinstall D’Antoni’s offense after Porter was displaced.
Another bone I’d pick with the buddy is the idea that D’Antoni didn’t try to develop a bench in Phoenix. Should I have to be the one to remind a Suns’ season subscriber that Barbosa became a dangerous 6th man under D’Antoni? I also think the Suns had a deep bench for several years while D’Antoni was there between Tim Thomas, Brian Grant, Kurt Thomas, and Jim Jackson. Finally, can it really be D’Antoni’s fault that Robert Sarver repeatedly traded away the Suns’ first round picks, which would’ve formed at least a bench, because he was too cheap to pay their salaries? By way of recap, Rudy Fernandez, Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Sergio Rodriguez, and Loul Deng were all taken with the Suns’ draft picks, that Robert Sarver traded for cash.