The NBA’s Western Conference has long been the more powerful of the two NBA conferences. It has only gotten stronger with a name like LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Phoenix Suns are in full rebuild mode, boasting the youngest team in the league. They locked up young superstar Devin Booker on a max deal earlier this summer. Now, they turn the ship over to a European born coach who is used to coaching youth. Meet The Phoenix Suns New Leader: Igor Kokoskov.
Kokoskov is a rookie in the literal sense of the word, but he is not new to the NBA by any means. He is just 46 years old and has been an NBA assistant coach for over 18 years. He has been on the coaching staff of seven teams that reached the conference finals during that span.
The Suns have not made the playoffs in eight years. They finished with the NBA’s worst record last season and the second-worst finish in franchise history. Kokoskov, to his credit, does not seem to mind. He has said he is not a European coach, he is simply a coach. If you can win and get it done, you can stay.
Where We Go From Here
The style of play this new team is going to showcase will depend on who emerges as far as scoring and defending goes. They have the number one overall pick Deandre Ayton as well as veteran guard Trevor Ariza. The Suns are hoping this is the year they begin to take flight towards winning basketball.
Kokoskov and his family reside in Phoenix and consider the area to be home. Given the state of the team right now, he will likely have a long leash to make some mistakes and figure out what works and what doesn’t. Booker will be the focal point of the offense, but who shows up as his supporting cast is yet to be determined. Fans should be cautiously optimistic, but this is still a team that is at least three years away from seriously competing.
* Photo Credit – Lennie Mahler | The Salt Lake Tribune Utah Jazz assistant coach Igor Kokoskov stands on the sideline before a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.