Is it the Suns confidence, lack of effort or poor game plan execution to blame for their struggles? Head coach Igor Kokoskov thinks it’s a mixture of all three.
“They have to communicate better,” Kokoskov said. “Keep each other accountable. Whatever it takes. After watching film it was kind of mixed.”
Communication and accountability is tough to ask of a team that’s brand new, filled with rookies, veterans and a new head coach. The trust isn’t fully there yet but it’s getting better.
“It’s getting better,” Josh Jackson replied when asked about the trust between the coach and players. “Definitely not where it should be. It’s the beginning of the season, obviously. He’s new. I’m new. [It’s] my second year in the league.”
Practice provided a little confidence boost for the team as veterans, like Trevor Ariza, took time to stop plays and explain exactly what happened and then they would run it again.
Jackson said his confidence is still intact. He just needs to let the game come to him more without forcing it.
“Sometimes I find myself just going a little too fast out there and I get excited,” Jackson said. “I try to make a play that’s not always there. So just try to make the simple plays and just slowing down a little bit. I think I move a little too fast sometimes.”
Jackson is still trying to figure himself out and where he fits in the game plan each night. His minutes have diminished over the past few games and he only played seven against the Brooklyn Nets, registering only 4 points on 1-3 shooting.
The Suns are all still trying to figure each other out as a group, learning each other’s tendencies and what makes them tick but it makes it hard when some of the guys aren’t vocal.
“Sometimes guys just don’t want to speak up,” Jackson said. “We don’t know personalities but we’re starting to learn each other more and more.”
Everyone has their own form of reinforcement that they prefer. Jackson is a guy that likes energy and hype.
“I like when guys get fired up, get hype,” Jackson said. “I do it myself sometimes but it’s kind of hard when you don’t know the personalities of everybody else around you yet but that’s what really gets me hype.”
For any successful team, chemistry is the bread and butter. You see the way teams like the Warriors and Celtics flow with ease, making beautiful passes and being in the right places at the right time. Chemistry is an underrated asset.
“Having that chemistry, is just, you can’t replace that,” Jackson said. “I think ways that we can get better at it just communicating, talking more and holding each other accountable. If you see somebody mess up out there and you’re able to say something so that gives them the free range to be able to say something to you when they see you not doing what you’re not supposed to be doing.”
Jackson knows there’s a place for him on this team, despite what people say. He knows he’s here for a reason and he’s thankful for the ones he has around him who have his back, including his mom, who he turns to for advice when he’s frustrated.
“Just to stay focused, Jackson’s mom tells him. “Worry about the things I can control. She knows that a lot of things that happen out there aren’t always in my control and she knows that I worry about stuff a lot. I tend to let it get to me a little too much so she just tells me to keep my head up and stay cool and worry about things I can control.”
Kokoskov also mentioned control. A lot of in game strategies are based on the game itself and not the individual person.
“It’s hard to play 11 guys, 10 guys,” Kokoskov said. “The game determines who’s going to play but that’s not what he controls. The game controls that and then I have to make decisions but his response today was he came ready to practice to play.”
Jackson will see a lot more playing time tonight against the Celtics, according to Kokoskov since Boston plays a lot of small ball. Boston is also a team that is 6-4 on the season and made it to the eastern conference finals last season.
The Suns are going to have some work cut out for them tonight and if they don’t get it together early, it can get ugly real quick especially if the Celtics are connecting on threes.
Kokoskov also said T.J. Warren is available tonight so hopefully he’ll provide the spark in three point shooting they need off the bench.