Gentry's balancing act

Paul Coro

Anyone who calls Alvin Gentry a player’s coach is right. Anyone who
thinks that means the Suns coach is all pep talks, back pats and jokes
is wrong.

When a six-day training camp ended Sunday, Gentry had won his players’
favor by running them hard and hitting them harder verbally.

"He yelled at us last year more in 30 games than the previous coach did," forward Grant Hill said. "He yelled at us more in this camp than last year or the year before. He gets on us. He’s a good guy, great people person, but he can get on you. I don’t think anyone takes it personal. Everyone understands he is trying to make us better."

Gentry lit a fire under his team about defense early in his first camp as Suns head coach, saying, "How about we just make them make one more pass so I can get on somebody for not getting back?"

He kicked Robin Lopez out of a game for his temper. He yelled a countdown during a Louis Amundson free throw to speed play. He gave a team a turnover for not lining up right.

But he also ended each practice with encouraging words for the team and went individually to players to chat more than his predecessors had.

"That’s a really difficult thing to do at our level is to hold guys accountable and at the same time have a good relationship with them and inspire guys," guard Steve Nash said

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