There’s been a great deal of speculation about who’ll fill the head coaching vacancy in Phoenix. The organization promptly fired Earl Watson just three games into the regular season after the team opened their 2017-2018 campaign with a string of humiliating losses.
Assistant Jay Triano stepped in on an interim basis, but things didn’t get much better from there as he presided over yet another embarrassing season at the bottom of the standings and a one-way ticket to the lottery. Several high-profile names have emerged as potential candidates, chief among them Mike Budenholzer, David Fizdale, Frank Vogel, and Steve Clifford, with team execs previously claiming they preferred a known quantity to pair with moving forward.
Yet on Wednesday, the Suns announced they’d taken a different route entirely when news broke that they were hiring former Slovenian national team coach and Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov.
It’s a historic day for the league given that the Serbian Kokoskov will become the first NBA head coach born and raised in Europe. Kokoskov most recently led the Slovenian national team to a gold medal at the Eurobasket last year and has had stints in the NBA as an assistant with the Jazz, Cavs, and Magic.
Kokoskov inherits a team with a franchise-level talent in Devin Booker, but it’s going to be a long road leading this squad out of the gutter after several straight years of futility. Kokoskov’s reputation is as a player development guru, which is likely why the Suns brought him in to usher their young squad into a new era.