Grant Hill: “We’d like to be in a position where management says, ‘hey I like where we are going, let’s ride it out.’”

Grant Hill: “We’d like to be in a position where management says, ‘hey I like where we are going, let’s ride it out.’”
March 12, 2012 – 7:30 am by Steven Cuce
The Phoenix Suns sit at 19-21 heading into Monday night’s action, poised to make a playoff push with a team that was widely speculated to be torn apart at the seams by the departure of Steve Nash. Not so fast. The Suns team sure hasn’t gotten the message. They have won 5 out of their last 6 games with the only loss coming to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Grant Hill feels his team is beginning to gel with a heavy emphasis on defense. As the state of Arizona is buzzing with Peyton Manning speculation, the Suns are quietly pushing their way into the postseason race.

Grant Hill joined XTRA 910 in Phoenix with Dan Bickley and Mike Jurecki to discuss the Arizona Cardinals pursuit of Peyton Manning, the Phoenix Suns putting an emphasis on defense this season, the Suns playing well enough to keep Steve Nash past the trade deadline for a postseason run and his new documentary “Duke 91 & 92, Back to Back” not taking any shots at Jimmy King or Jalen Rose.
Do you know Peyton Manning and can you help convince him to come to Arizona?
“It’d be great. It’s funny my dad – my mom and dad, were at the Duke-North Carolina game last week and he was there at the game. My dad spoke to him and he didn’t mention much about the Cardinals, but he did mention Aaron and the Young’s. Aaron Nelson [Suns Athletic Trainer]. He’s got a big decision to make and it would obviously be great if he could come out here for the franchise, Cardinals and of course the city of Phoenix here.”
Do you see more of an asserted effort from guys actually playing more defense now?
“I think so. I mean certainly it’s been tough. Obviously when a defensive coordinator or a defensive coach like Elston Turner comes in you’d like to have the luxury of a training camp and an entire preseason to really get comfortable and we have put in new stuff that you are really trying to learn on the fly and because of this compressed season haven’t had the opportunity to get the quality practice time, so there has been some slippage, but I think the emphasis is definitely there. We’ve had games where we don’t shoot the ball well. We don’t score 100 points. We hold a team to 80 points. We just have won games differently then how we have won them in the past. Our defense is getting set. You are not going to change and become the best defensive team overnight. I think we are certainly taking a step in the right direction. It’s definitely being emphasized and guys are taking a challenge. I think in the last few weeks Channing Frye has played real well defensively. I think he’s rebounded well and had some tough assignments and done a good job, so guys are trying. Guys are putting fourth the effort and as long as we have that effort then it gives us the chance to go out there and beat anybody.”
The idea was that this team needed to be blown up or draft a franchise player in the draft, but with the way you guys are playing now it looks like the Suns might not deal Steve Nash?
“Yeah well we are definitely playing better. You can’t worry too much about things that you can’t control. What we can control is certainly our attitude and how we play for one another. Steve has been 100% committed. Obviously I am sure he has to deal with the questions and what not, but he’s focused and has been focused on trying to make this team better and ultimately getting ourselves into the postseason. We have kind of found it. We have found a rhythm. We found a nice comfort level, a nice…I think our bench has been playing better. Channing Frye has been getting into a nice groove while you saw Hakim Warrick step up last night. He hadn’t played in awhile. Our chemistry is really coming together and there’s definitely a comfort level with one another. Steve has been great. There really hasn’t been a distraction and we’d like to be in a position where management says hey I like where we are going let’s ride it out. That means we are doing something right and we are moving in the right direction. It’s a tough situation. There’s a lot of theories. A lot of ideas in terms of the future of what is the best thing to do? As players we have to go out there and play for one another and do the best job we can and control the things we can control.”
You have a new documentary coming out regarding Duke University Basketball. Did you take any shots at Jimmy King or Jalen Rose in it?
“No. No. Not at all. The film…I mean I understood we had to talk about Michigan because we played them twice in 1992. We actually played them in the Finals in 1992. I didn’t take any shots. None of my teammates did. [Host: You know I’m referencing the shots they took at you guys in their documentary: The Fab Five. I thought it was uncalled for.] Yeah I agree. I thought the documentary they did overall was good, but I obviously didn’t like what they said about us. The things is and I think it comes across in our film is that we had respect for them. We had respect for everybody. I think if you don’t respect your opponent then that is when you fail. Look Chris Webber was as good as anybody in college basketball. The guys like Jimmy King, Jalen Rose and Juwan Howard went on to have great careers, but we knew if we didn’t play we’d get embarrassed. We had respect for them and we weren’t thinking about. We were just thinking about winning back-to-back championships and really just solidifying ourselves as champions and not worrying about all that other stuff that they seemed consumed with, but for the film it bookends the lose to Las Vegas in 1990 and ultimately the winning of the second championship in 1992 against Michigan and all the adversity and all the challenges and the good and the bad times. I’d like to say it’s a basketball story, but it was a relationship story about brotherhood and about fraternity. It’s far exceeded my expectations. I am very pleased and very excited about it and looking forward to sharing it with the public.”
Listen to Grant Hill on XTRA 910 in Phoenix here
Tags: Dan Bickley and Mike Jurecki, Grant Hill, NBA, Phoenix Suns, XTRA 910 in Phoenix

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