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Phoenix Suns lighten up on benching policy for technicals

The coaches and the players have struck a deal - keep the complaints to the officials to a minimum (rather than 0) and they won't get benched for losing their cool.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After trying but failing to connect with the Phoenix Suns front office directly on Monday - President, General Manager and Coach - about the origin and intention of their benching policy for getting T'd up for arguing with officials, I surmised the policy was back under consideration going forward.

On Friday against the Houston Rockets and Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, in each game a Suns starter got T'd up by an official and sat out nearly the entire second half. Both games ended in losses while the Suns are fighting for a playoff spot.

After practice at owner Robert Sarver's house on Tuesday, coach Hornacek indeed said the team had found a compromise between the players and coaches.

First things first: yes, the team practiced at the owner's house.



And now to the coup de gras, coach Jeff Hornacek said the players came to a meeting of the minds with the coaching staff.

"We talked about it," Hornacek said to the media at practice. "We've tried both ways and we're just going to try to do a better job as a team, as teammates, to corral each other when they start to argue. The guys came up with that.

"They have been better, it hasn't been - you know both Goran and Keef's technical, it wasn't constant yelling, it was just a couple of times. So I told them, ‘Hey, if you guys do that, and kind of help each other out there on the court, we'll kind of look at it and it might be my discretion whether we do it for the rest of the game so we don't have that necessarily hard rule.' But I may still sit them for the end of the game if I feel like it and they know that."

--Valley of the Suns, Practice Report

Ok, so there's an attempt at compromise.

The players (and many fans) felt the rule was too harsh, and the players convinced the coaching staff they can't possibly be expected to control their own emotions enough to avoid technical fouls for arguing for arguing with officials.

I mean, can you really expect a player to know it's not going to help when he complains to the refs AFTER a call? Especially, when he's complaining even AFTER THE FOUL CALL WENT IN HIS FAVOR?

Kids are kids, I guess.

After hoping the players could be mature enough to manage their own emotions, the coaches apparently agreed that this sky-high hope was a really unreachable dream and found a middle ground.

I guess that's what you gotta do in a league where the players make more money than the coaches or anyone in the front office.


Sad that it's come to this.

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