The Phoenix Suns have their head coach, Igor Kokoskov. The name might sound familiar to you diehard fans. Igor was a Phoenix Suns assistant during the 2008-2013 seasons. Alvin Gentry raved about the signing during an interview with Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports:
“He’s somewhat of a quiet guy. He likes being behind the scenes from the standpoint of he’s not looking for any glory or anything like that. I just think his relationship with players, it was just a matter of time before somebody was going to see that and hire him. This is going to be one of the best hires they’ve ever made.
“I told (Suns owner Robert Sarver) I think this is a great hire for them and I think he’s going to be great.”
The 46-year-old first time NBA head coach will have a lot stacked against him. A young team, a losing culture, and an impatient front office. A challenge that Igor is certainly willing to take head-on. Most recently helping lead the Utah Jazz to the second round of the NBA playoffs as well as a gold medal for Slovenia in EuroBasket 2017.
I am excited to see how Igor will be able to mentor the plethora of young players that are the core of this franchise. Former Suns assistant Dan Majerle sheds light on his time working alongside Igor on Doug & Wolf of Arizona Sports:
“I just watched him work with Goran and other things and he was always pushing Goran positively and giving him things to work on and just always there. One of the things that you have to do with players is they have to know you care. And Igor cares, man. He doesn’t care about getting credit, he doesn’t care about anything. All he wanted to do is help these young guys get better, help the team get better, and players gravitate toward that, man.”
These quotes further paint the picture of a coach who is going to be hyper-focused on developing his players on the court and ensuring to have sound play calling. Bright Side of the Sun meticulously detailed Igor’s offense over the years. From what I’ve seen, it appears that Igor’s offense will suit Devin Booker especially well. He uses a lot of guard movement with cuts and screens which will lead to open shots and layups.
My ONLY drawback is if the signing of Igor will pigeon-hole the Suns into drafting Luka Doncic. I know Robert Sarver has already downplayed this, but that could just be to settle down the media. I would hate to think that the Suns will finally get the #1 pick, after all these years, just to spend it on Doncic. Granted, it is more likely that the Suns will miss out on that pick, and ultimately, Deandre Ayton.