Despite the Suns‘ struggles this season, center Tyson Chandler believes the franchise is heading in the right direction and credits the leadership of interim coach Earl Watson for changing the locker room culture, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “I’m excited with the direction we’re going,” Chandler said. “Of late, it’s showing in the win column but I just like what we’re doing. I like the mentality. I like the culture. I think things are really changing around here. It puts a little pep in your step. It’s amazing what the mind can do to you. When you’re carrying so much weight, you don’t have the pep in your step and the excitement that you normally play with. Once you’re able to release some of that stuff and the team starts playing the right way, it’s amazing how much better you feel.”
For his part, Watson credits the team’s veterans for the improvement, noting that change wouldn’t have been possible without their buying in, Coro adds. “The thing about vets is you can’t fool them,” Watson told Coro. “If it wasn’t the right message or the correct teachings, they wouldn’t buy in. We understand it’s a give-take relationship. We want to make sure we enhance everyone. They believe. The young guys believe. That’s the most powerful movement in our program.”
Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Lakers center Robert Sacre says he is trying to remain positive despite having only appeared in 20 games this season while the team plummets in the standings, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News relays. “It’s been really tough,” said Sacre. “That’s the whole point about this. We get paid the big bucks for that reason just to be ready and stay ready. You just have to be ready when your name is called.” The 26-year-old is averaging just 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per contest and will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
- Jeff Green has provided the Clippers with solid production since being acquired at the trade deadline, but it remains to be seen if he and Blake Griffin can co-exist once the power forward returns from injury and his suspension for striking a member of the team’s training staff, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes. The scribe notes that Green, despite being well-suited for a role as a stretch-four, will likely benefit from playing alongside Griffin at small forward, whose consistency and athleticism are sorely missed by his squad. In 13 games for the Clippers, Green is averaging 10.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 27.1 minutes per night. The combo froward is set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer.