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Phoenix Suns

Suns president Babby: Team wanted a more professional environment

Phoenix Suns' Goran Dragic (1), of Slovenia, is congratulated by Channing Frye during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Phoenix. The Suns won 116-100. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns' turnaround this season can be attributed to many changes within the organization, a few of which were documented by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.

One of the things the writer mentioned was a difference in off-court standards.

These are different times for the franchise, and the players will tell you: No more beer in the locker room, no more card playing on postgame flights - unless the Suns win. No more management in the locker room or stalking the practice court. In everything installed under the McDonough-Hornacek regime, "We have incentivized winning," McDonough said.

It may seem like small changes, but sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference.

"We implemented the rules that no alcohol on the plane for anybody," Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby told Bickley with Marotta Thursday, adding that it applies to anyone on the team plane. "No card playing unless we win, and actually there isn't a whole lot of card playing even when we do win.

"I think guys are getting better rest, they're watching film or whatever."

Babby said the idea was to present a more professional environment with regards to the team.

"It always bothered me after some of our games, and this goes back even before last year, when we would lose a game and there would be a big card game going on and guys would be enjoying themselves," he said. "I suppose there's nothing wrong with that when you have a veteran team, but when you have a young team, I think we just wanted it to be a more professional environment."

Babby said cell phones are also banned on the bus ride to the game, with the changes all designed to ensure the players understand what kind of professionalism is expected of them on a daily basis.

"I think it's been translated into the seriousness of purpose that we have, top to bottom."

The Suns are off until Friday and currently have a 21-13 record. Arguably the biggest surprise and best story in the NBA thus far, their success can be traced to a lot of factors.

And apparently, not all of them have to do with what happens on the court.

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