Suns Explore a New 'Galaxy' With Verizon

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: Feb. 8, 2012

As far as technological improvements go, the Suns shot for the moon this season and found the galaxy. The Samsung Galaxy Tab, that is.

Powered by the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, the Suns became the first team in the NBA to fully integrate wireless tablet technology throughout the organization – from players to the coaches and training staff, to the front office. Each player is now equipped with a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, providing real-time access to information that used to be given to them on paper or on disks.

“As far as having the convenience right there in one place, I just think it’s a great step from a technological point of view,” said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry, who showed off some of the tablet’s features during a press conference at US Airways Center on Wednesday.

As opposed to scouting reports, the team’s playbook, the opposing team’s playbook and the players’ itineraries all being handed out on hard copies, all of that information is now loaded daily onto the players’ tablets. The training staff is also implementing the technology into its regimen, dispensing vital fitness information to the players using the tablets.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Phoenix Suns to bring together innovative technology solutions to help give the team a competitive edge,” said Brian Danfield, president, Verizon Wireless Southwest Region. “The Suns’ creativity and leadership, together with the strength of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network and the extensive capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will no doubt be a winning combination.”

In regards to video, each player essentially has a video playbook of all of the Suns’ plays, video clips of their opponents’ offensive tendencies, as well as the opposing teams’ plays.

“It’s a huge help in that we can keep a whole lot of video playback on each tablet,” Gentry said. “If you’re guarding (the Lakers’) Kobe Bryant tomorrow night, then we’ll put a video on there that has a lot of edits of what he likes to do, showing his best moves.”

For the coaching staff, the benefit of having the tablets during timeouts and at games is tremendous. If it’s crunch time of a hotly-contested contest and the coaches desire to see what the opposing team normally runs during the final seconds of game, they’ll just load it up on the screen.

While the tablet can be utilized as a play simulator and as a digital whiteboard during games, it may play an even larger role away from games. Instead of the coaches transporting DVD players, carrying remotes and several disks to prepare for an upcoming game, all of the info is consolidated on the tablet.

“On the bus, you can watch three quarters of a teams’ offensive plays before you even get to the airport,” Suns assistant coach and advance scout Noel Gillespie said.

While other NBA teams prepare for the future, the Suns have already jumped into it, gaining a competitive advantage through technology.

“I think it’s something that will be pretty prevalent around the NBA in the next year or so,” Gentry said. “But we’ve taken that step already.”

Any questions or comments for Stefan Swiat? Click here to send him your comments by e-mail.