Suns News

Gentry Assigns Roles to Eliminate Guesswork

Gentry holds a meeting about roles before the first game.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
Posted: December 18, 2012

Most people that hold a day job want to know what their roles are at their respective companies. NBA players are no different.

That’s why Suns head coach Alvin Gentry gathers the entire roster together before the first game of the season and tells each player what his role is on the team. So there is no confusion, each person is told his role in front of the rest of the team so everyone hears it.

“You kind of put it out there early in the season on what you expect guys to do,” Suns swingman Jared Dudley said. “The quicker you can establish roles, the better chance you have of being a successful team.”

Although Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has been known to do the same with his clubs, Gentry says that this is something that he’s always done and believes takes out a lot of guesswork.

“It’s just something that I thought would be a good thing to do so there wasn’t any miscommunication as far as what someone’s role on this team would be,” Gentry said. “And I don’t like anyone saying, ‘I’m not really sure what my role on this team is.’”

Not only does Gentry address what he expects from each player, but he also addresses what he doesn’t want.

“In the NBA, you have a lot of different characters and some guys are calm and some guys are emotional,” Suns point guard Goran Dragic said. “If you’re a coach, you have to be a psychologist.

“You have to know how to treat different guys. It’s good that you open up, let them know what you expect from them and what they have to do.”

Dragic said that the conversation also goes both ways. The player will tell the coach what he’s comfortable taking on and what he can do for the team.

For example, Dragic was asked by Gentry to be aggressive, play hard every night, put the team in the right spots and try to get everyone involved. Gentry asked his Slovenian playmaker to also be the point of the defense and a leader on the defensive end.

Although Dragic has improved considerably since his first season here, his role remains relatively the same. With Gentry, a role is more like a job description than anything else.

Even if there is a superstar on the team, his role isn’t defined as such. No one is appointed “the man” in that meeting, as much as they are given their guidelines and boundaries.

However, those roles are fluid depending on a number of factors.

“Obviously those roles can change over the course of the season,” Gentry added. “We just want guys to have a good feeling about what’s going on with them as we go into the season. I think it’s just something that needs to be done.”

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