The 2012-2013 NBA Season will definitely be the most difficult task that Alvin Gentry has faced as the coach of the Phoenix Suns. Not only is he coaching a completely different team than the one of the previous season, but he is also doing it without the best assistant coach he had, Steve Nash. There is a new lineup, the captain is gone and the competition in the Pacific Division has only gotten better.
My question is: Are these reasons to grant Alvin Gentry leniency? Or should we expect success as if were any other season?
To gauge the season, let us first take a look at the presumed starting five.
PG: Goran Dragic
SG: Jared Dudley
SF: Michael Beasley
PF: Luis Scola
C: Marcin Gortat
Key bench players: Shannon Brown, Wesley Johnson, Sebastian Telfair/Kendall Marshall, Markieff Morris and Jermaine O'Neal
With this lineup, Yahoo! Sports contributor Mark Hawkins predicted the Suns to finish with a record of 25-57. Even with factoring in everything that has previously been said, that record is horrendous. I don't think that their record will be this bad -- I am guessing something closer to .500 -- but that may just be optimism trickling down from Dave. Hypothetically, let's say the Suns do finish below 30 wins. Does that mean that Gentry is gone? It would make it three years since the Suns reached the playoffs and I can't think the Suns front office would be thrilled about this.
My prediction: The Suns fail to reach the playoffs, but show competitiveness in important match-ups and their chemistry progresses as the season goes on. Gentry keeps his job for at least one more season. If Mark Hawkins' "Season Prediction of Doom" (that is what I'm calling it) is close to correct, I would not be surprised if Gentry ends up on that dreaded hot seat.
What does BSotS think? Is the pressure on or does Gentry get this season to begin the rebuilding process?