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Constructive Confrontation - It's What's On

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Some great news at AZCentral, in my view.  The last thing you want as a fan when your team grossly underperforms is a group hug.  You want heads to roll and blood to be spilt.  I read plenty of that in this blog.  However, such a show panders to fans but solves nothing.  

Today, owner Robert Sarver, GM Steve Kerr and Coach Mike D'Antoni meet to decide the future of the way the Suns will be coached and whether D'Antoni is the right guy to lead them.   Everything is on the table.  As an Intel alum, I hope you don't mind if I break it down, Intel Engineering style.


Intel has a pretty hardcore culture, one that takes a bit of training to adjust to.  It's mantra, from Andy Grove is "Only the Paranoid Survive".  It's principles include  the harsh ego-bruising "Constructive Confrontation" to get to a real plan and then, once the plan is set, even if you don't like it, to "Disagree and Commit".  Even if you don't like it, make it happen with all your heart, mind and strength.


A Plan for Next Season: Constructive Confrontation. 

Constructive confrontation is unpleasant, but it is how problems get solved.  It's the calling out of your teammates in the work world, it is the proverbial demand to "Man (the Eff)  Up".   It is the antithesis of groupthink. 

I'm bullish about the Suns management attitude right now because

[1] They are not letting a great asset like Coach D'Antoni walk.

[2] They are prepared to have it out with each other, brawl if necessary to get to the right winning solution. No one is backing down.

Even though D'Antoni is the right coach, they are going to have it out and make some strong demands that are going to really piss Coach D'Antoni off.  Mr. "Don't Tell Me How To Coach Offense" has a point when his teams are the highest in eFG%, but he is going to get told "How To Build a Bench" and "How To Coach Defense".

Even though many parallels can be drawn between the falling Mavericks and the falling Suns, one clear difference is in the management styles of the two teams.  I'm betting 3 heads are better than 1 swelled head.


Executing the Plan:  "Disagree and Commit"

In the end, this isn't about coaching philosophies or pretty basketball, it's about winning.  There is no doubt in my mind that despite their differences, GM Steve Kerr and Coach Mike D'Antoni are all about winning. 

They will come together on a winning plan.  They each may not agree on all aspects of the plan, but when it's time to execute, I expect each to give their fullest to win.  It's all I can ask.

And here's my wisdom for Coach D'Antoni, who I have often nominated as Suns Coach Para Vida - from the movie, Navy Seals -

You don't have to love it, you just have to do it.


 [Note by Phoenix Stan, 05/02/08 7:25 AM PDT ]

You are quoting sea animinals that don't have enough defense to get out of the way of a guy with a club.  Ok.

Despite that you make a few good points. I too am glad they waited to have the discussion before pulling the trigger (like Cuban did).

If I were Kerr however, I would need to be damn sure that G.W.D. is not only good with the plan but will actually carry it out. You don't want to get half way into next year (let's face if the window isn't closed already its just barely cracked open) only to find out that his plan going into the post-season is to try and out-score everyone.

I love our great offense and felt going into the series with SA that there was no way they could hold us to under 100 points. Wrong. Again. And since I can't be fired (ha!) then someone else is responsible for not having a plan B. Defense.

As Blog-a-Bull points out, its an unknown if this coach can or will adjust his style. He's only done things one way in the NBA and so far that's not got it done. He is going to have to adjust to the new reality of slow down Suns with Shaq and realize that he needs a top 10 defensive team to win.

And since Shaq isn't about to get any better on his pick and roll defense, that means instilling a defensive mindset and philosphy and devising and enforcing specific rules for assignments and rotations. Something we have never seen in his time.

Can this leopard change his spots? He's going to have to thoroughly convince Kerr of that to still be the head coach by this time next week.


[Note by ZonaFlash, 05/02/08 10:47 AM EDT ]

Those were, uh, some pretty shocking images PHX Stan.

You're right - It's amazing that such an offensive virtuoso could seem so dumb defensively.   You're right again that it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks - a statement that goes just as well for most of the team as well.  It's a big question about what can we possibly do defensively with the Nash-Shaq tandem. 

To be fair, we didn't lose because of failed offensive schemes.  We lost because of bizarre defensive schemes and poor regular season planning that lead to injuries to GH and Nash.  I guarantee that Nash was injured all April.  Just look at the sharp drop in his shooting percentages and attempts.

Time will tell if D'Antoni becomes the Pete Maravich of NBA coaches. 







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