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Stoudemire and Gentry Not On The Same Page About Shot Selection

Phoenix Suns Coach Alvin Gentry and Forward Amare Stoudemire have a slight disagreement over shot selection in the Suns loss to the Lakers. (Photo by Max Simbron)
Phoenix Suns Coach Alvin Gentry and Forward Amare Stoudemire have a slight disagreement over shot selection in the Suns loss to the Lakers. (Photo by Max Simbron)

There was a little difference of opinion today at practice between Coach Gentry and Amare Stoudemire over shot selection.

Talking about Amare's play against the Lakers, Coach Gentry said that Amare should have taken the outside jump shots that Bynum was giving him. Amare disagreed saying he wanted to stay aggressive and he liked the shots that he got - he just missed them. 13 out of 15 of them.

"I think what he did, he tried to take the ball right into Bynum instead of just settling for a jump shot with him being out there. But he knows that..and he thought that maybe he could get a few fouls on him," said Gentry.

Asked by the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro if Amare doesn't want to be perceived as a guy who settles for jumpers Gentry agreed saying they talked about that and he encouraged Amare to take that shot since none of those big centers are going to be able to "come up on him." Gentry said Amare understands that.

Amare see's things a little differently saying this about his shot selection against the Lakers, "I'll tell you what, I'm going to stay aggressive. I'm going to drive to the basket the same way next time but just finish them..Great shots, just didn't fall for me. If we did it all over again I'd take those same shots."

Not exactly Allen Iverson complaining about his role and then leaving the team or the mess that is the Golden State Warriors but a minor disagreement within the Suns none the less.

Coach wants Amare to take the open jump shots and Amare wants to be aggressive and go to the rim even against bigger defenders like Bynum who can give him trouble.

Call me a Pollyanna but I don't see this ending up with a leave of absence or a coaching change but it is an interesting difference of opinion.

Other Practice Notes:

  • The Suns practice was upbeat with a lot of running
  • Coach Gentry said that the Lakers defended the Suns as well as anyone has this year and took them out of a lot of things but his team still was able to score 100 point. Gentry used that point to support his thinking that the Suns offense is just fine and that he's looking for improvement on the defensive end
  • Gentry was impressed with Andrew Bynum calling him the most improved player over the past few years and commenting on his offensive proficiency and ability to defend the paint and said the scary thing is that he's only 21 or 22. (He's 22)
  • The back to backs are tough but no one wants to use them as an excuse. Except to say they are hard. But that's not an excuse. Get it?
  • Coach also thought the Suns might have given the Lakers a little too much respect and didn't play loose. He said that wouldn't happen again
  • The Lakers and the Celtics are the only two teams with that kind of size and while the effort was there defensively their length presents a lot of match-up problems
  • The Raptors with Bosh and Bargnani are big up front but Gentry called them "Euro long" meaning they work outside of the paint
  • Gentry said the Raptors are like a mirror image of the Suns with a very similar style of play. Big men that shoot and a point guard that probes and finds the open man
  • Talking about the Suns (and Raptors) style of play, Gentry said that guys like playing this way and it gives them sense of confidence knowing they can shoot any shot in their profile and be fine. Players play relaxed.
  • The Suns are still trying to run even though the Lakers did a good job in transition preventing that. Gentry says that teams can either get back in transition or attack the offensive glass but they can't do both, "I don't think you can hurt us on the board and keep us from running."
  • Barbosa had some fluid drained from his wrist but he should be good to go on Sunday
  • The Suns coaches are still talking about match-ups against the Raptors. Both Amare and Frye can check either Bargnani or Bosh and I would guess we will see some of both
  • Amare commented on Bosh's impressive numbers this season by saying that the ball goes through him 30 times a game. Asked if he wanted to get those kinds of looks he said he's fine as long as the team is winning
  • Gentry wouldn't say that his bench was an advantage over the Raptors but he said once again how well they are playing and how important that is for the team
  • Amare reported a delay in getting his new goggles ready. He's not sure what the delay is. The new goggles won't have a prescription lens and Amare will keep wearing contacts on the court
  • He's not comfortable wearing the goggles and said they fog up and get blury. Has to clean them sometimes even during plays
  • Amare said the Lakers played great basketball but that one game does not determine anything. He said the Suns have other teams to worry about like Raptors tomorrow
  • Amare said they are taking it easy on the rookies but they do have morning Krispy Kreame duties. Amare's reported being all over the glazed ones.
  • He said the Earl Clark is developing well and that he talks to him to help keep his spirits up
  • Finally, Amare said the Suns are in a good position right now and that he wants the team to keep their spirits up and stay humble and keep working

Update on Robin Lopez

Robin isn't yet cleared to practice with the team but spent about 45 minutes working with Assistant Coach Igor Kokoskov. He worked on a variety of side pick and pops, baseline jump shots and a few post moves. Mostly it seemed to all be about getting back in shape and getting a feel for the ball and his shot.

Robin worked hard and I was impressed with his focus and intensity. He would often curse and scream a bit when he missed shots in a drill that you would typical see wings and guards work on. Lopez has only been back shooting for about a week or so and says his shot doesn't yet feel like it's back to where it was but that with more work the muscle memory will come back.

Lopez said that even if he never grows into a true offensive player on the block that he can add that outside shot to his game at some point in his career but mostly his focus is on banging in the paint, rebounding and blocking shots.

For this season Robin wants to come in and help on the glass, "Obviously, that's never been a strength of our team in the past. We've picked it up and we've been doing really well but I want to be a part of that. We can do even better I think if I get out there and I rebound the way I think I am capable of performing."

He is still several weeks away from returning to the team and hopefully will be cleared to practice in a week or two. He said that foot is doing well and that while he sometimes "feels it", it is 90 to 95 percent healed. The team is being cautious about it and want to play it safe.

Meanwhile, Robin has been working on his basketball analyst skills from the bench and had this to say about the team's play this season, "When we play really hard, when get after at it we are one of the best teams in the league. I think that might have been one of the things missing in the game against LA."

Mostly though, he's just anxious to return, "I just can't wait to get out there and play again. I hope I can add a degree of physicality to the team."

Look for Robin to return without the beard. He says that's just, "me being lazy."

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