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AP: 59dcf8af-7b2d-42d5-8d08-13f2a72f0fb1
Phoenix Suns head coach Lindsey Hunter calls to his team against the New Orleans Hornets in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
There is belief and then there is reality.

The belief (by the front office) that the 2012-13 Suns would contend for one of the final playoff spots never materialized, shattered weeks ago.

Now, there's the belief (by the coaching staff) that daily progress along with player development will lay the foundation for a postseason appearance next year. Construction, however, appears a long way off.

"We have a team that some nights, some days, they bring it and they play hard and then we get lost for three, four games," Goran Dragic said. "I was talking to Lindsey (Hunter) and with all the players and they're saying, ‘We've still got 30 games left.' If we shut down now --everybody is saying next year we're going to make playoffs. If we shut ourselves down now then we cannot improve ourselves and try to be better next season. We cannot just quit and come back next season and start playing well. It has to start now."

The question is how.

"Something's got to change," Marcin Gortat said.

A coaching change has already occurred.

A player change via a trade(s) is likely on the horizon.

The biggest change needed though just may be an attitude change, collectively by each person on the active roster.

"I mean you got to come ready to play," Gortat added. "If you really care and if you really want to play in this league you got to bring your best. That's it. You got to bring your best."

Asked Sunday, after the second straight blowout defeat to the Oklahoma City Thunder, if every player was putting forth their best effort, the Suns starting center responded, "I'm not going to say anything."

Gortat later added he, speaking only for himself, was not prepared to call it a season despite the club's 17-35 record.

"I'm just going to go out and do my job. That's what I'm supposed to do," he said. "I'm going to try to compete, play hard. I'm not saying every game is going to be great from my side but I'm just going to try to do it. I represent 40-million country and I can't just sit down right now or act like I don't care. I'm going to fight all the way to the end, always to the end."

Dragic, in the first year of a four-year contract signed last July, echoed the same sentiment.

"I'm not the guy that is just going to surrender," he said. "Where I come from, my family went through a lot. We had war. My family was always teaching me that it doesn't matter how bad situation is you have to stay positive, have to battle until the end even if the percentage is really low. I'm still going to fight until the end of the season. That's the only thing I can do. Right now, I'm just asking to everybody do the same thing."

Craig Grialou, Reporter

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