We’ve talked about this a lot in terms of flaws in Mike D”Antoni’s system. His tendency is to play players a ton of minutes by using a short rotation. Now, every coach shortens their rotation at some point during the season, mostly during the playoffs or for must-win games choosing to lean on their stars, but I agree it can’t be for a full season.
Alvin Gentry was actually an exception to that rule this past season. Frankly, had Ron Artest not made a miracle put back (or had someone on the Suns put a body on him, whichever way you want to look at it) in a critical Game 5 at Staples Center, along with a legendary Kobe performance in Game 6, the Suns may have represented the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
Gentry would use 9 or 10 players and lean on a young bench to keep the pace going that Steve Nash creates, but with seemingly more defensive-minded players. In fairness to D’Antoni, guys like Jared Dudley and even Robin Lopez are sharp players he didn’t have to lean on off the bench.
D’Antoni has the chance to do so this season because he has a young group of players, and to waste that athleticism would be a shame. This is not the veteran-dominated roster that he’s had here or in Phoenix.
I’d start Felton, eventually Azubuike, Gallinari, Turiaf and Amar’e, then be really young and athletic off the bench with Douglas, Walker, Chandler, Randolph and, for about 10 minutes per if he’s ready, Mozgov. Yes, it’s early but you get the idea.
Again, there will be days when the bench players are flat, the Suns had that issue on the road, especially in the playoffs, but if you’re on the second unit your focus would be to maintain pace and focus on defense. And ultimately, starters get starts minutes.
It worked well enough in Phoenix this year, and it’s a model that I would like to see D’Antoni adjust to more this season.
What do you guys think?