The team's head coach is a lot of things, but control freak is not one of them. He recognizes the odds are almost non-existent for his struggling squad to make the playoffs. In an effort to keep spirits up, he's extending his "let the players play" attitude to his starting line-ups for the rest of the season.
Now out comes the following quote:
After the OKC loss, the locker room was a dark place. Hope had nearly been extinguished. Guys were already talking about a lost season. Then we came out and laid an egg against a fired up Blazer team. We went from 4 wins in a row to four losses in a row faster than a Goran Dragić mood swing. I knew we had to do something to keep these guys from going into a complete depressive tailspin.
So I had a meeting with Mike, Mark and Kenny. We agreed it was too soon to give up completely on the season, but that the odds were long. What could we do to inject a little life into these last 7 games? And Big Daddy came up with this line-up thing.
Big Daddy's big idea? Let the players pick the starting line-ups for each of the remaining 7 games AND announce them ahead of time. Said coach, "we want to show the league that being down doesn't mean being out, and being out doesn't mean you can't still have fun playing the game."
What did the players come up with? Bright Side of the Sun was granted an exclusive look at the line-ups for the rest of the season. Here's what you can look forward to seeing as the Suns look to lighten expectations and moods as the season comes to a close.
Thursday, April 2, @ Golden State Warriors
The Splash Brothers vs. The Crash Brothers - Knowing their chances of outscoring the Warriors are slim, they are committed to out-rebounding them featuring a starting line-up of their top rebounders per 36 minutes: P.J. Tucker will man the point while Marcus Morris plays the off-guard. Markieff Morris, Brandan Wright and Alex Len will fill out the beefy frontcourt.
Saturday, April 4, vs. Utah Jazz
Easy as ABC - The starting line-up as well as the rotations throughout the game will be based on alphabetical order: Earl Barron, Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Bullock, Archie Goodwin and Gerald Green will start the game, while Brandon Knight will be first off the bench. Look for big 4th quarter performances from the fresh legs of TJ Warren and Brandan Wright.
Tuesday, April 7, @ Atlanta Hawks
Stuck in the Middle with You - The team looks to emulate the Hawks' successful transformation from perennial 8 seed contender to title contender. To jump start this process, they have chosen to play their most mediocre starting line-up (as determined by PER) in an homage to their opponent's (and their own) humble beginnings: Brandon Knight, P.J. Tucker, Archie Goodwin, Alex Len and Marcus Morris get the call. Phun phact: Gerald Green has a higher PER than all of those players.
Wednesday, April 8, @ Dallas Mavericks
The "T" in Texas - Damn the fines and damn the refs! Team technical foul leaders Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, Eric Bledsoe, P.J. Tucker, and Gerald Green will stand ready to give the Mavs and the refs an earful.
Friday, April 10, @ New Orleans Pelicans
The Name Game - In an effort to confuse announcers AJ, PJ, TJ, and the Morris twins will make life hell for everyone.
Sunday, April 12, @ San Antonio Spurs
One Line-up for Old Men - Taking pity on an aging Spurs roster, the good guys will wheel out an "old man's lineup" of Earl Barron, P.J. Tucker, Gerald Green, A.J. Price and Marcus Thornton. Which is still a collective 146 years younger than the Spurs' youngest line-up.
Tuesday, April 14, vs. Los Angeles Clippers
If You Can't Beat'em, Beat'em - Less concerned with traditional line-ups and more concerned with delivering a traditional ass-whoopin', they will trot out a beefy line-up of Alex Len, Brandan Wright, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and P.J. Tucker to "Bodies" by Drowning Pool. It's going to be a long night for Blake Griffin.
What do you think, Bright Siders? Is this too much? Are they throwing in the towel or will this line-up shake-up energize a frantic scramble for the 8th seed? Share your favorite line-up ideas in the comments and maybe Horny will give one of them a try!