Despite the ups and downs that the Phoenix Suns are going through -- falling behind in games with regularity and inconsistent play -- one thing is clear. The organization wants to win, but recognize that they are building for now and later.
Most recently, there have been offensive issues, most notably struggles by Jared Dudley, a lack of offense in the third quarters of games and a tendency to fall behind early in games. However, just nine games in to the season, no lineup changes are going to be made yet.
Said Alvin Gentry before Wednesday's game, "We're trying to establish some consistency. I don't want to start just plugging guys in-and-out, in-and-out, in-and-out.
"We've played eight games now. Maybe after 10 games, 12 games or something we'll decide that this is just not going to work this way and we'll try something differently. But I don't want to just pull the plug on some guys right away and start sticking guys in-and-out."
After the game, he explained that he is still trying to figure out his guys and they are figuring him out as well. Coming into Wednesday's game, the Suns had used 34 different lineups on the floor for more than three minutes. Part of that is Gentry's way of going with his gut and part is trying to figure out who plays best one with another.
"We've talked about changing the lineup," Gentry said of the offensive struggles. "I just don't want to do anything to jump the gun. We've played nine games now. I don't think we can know exactly everything about this team, how we can use guys and what our potential is. We keep preaching patience and that's not a great word in sports, but in order to get this thing where we want it to, we're going to have to do that."
This is truly the best thing that the Suns can do. They aren't expected, at least among fans or in the media, to accomplish anything this season. They have a bunch of new players on the team. They have a new identity. They are building not only for now but also the future.
They have gambled on long-term projects. They see Michael Beasley as somewhat of a star in training.
Getting worked up early in the season is silly for a team with no expectations. Nothing is at stake right now. Gentry might as well see what they have.
The key is that the team plays hard and is competitive. That As long as the Suns have that, "Somewhere along the line good things are going to happen for us."
President of basketball operations Lon Babby said it like this on the radio: "we're all in favor of patience so long as it doesn't take too long and that's kind of where we are."
Gentry believes this team will be very good. I do, too. Will it be this year? We will see what happens. The potential is there.