With Lance Blanks out of the picture, his “Guy” Lindsey Hunter is all but gone. Realistically speaking, Hunter was likely out the door anyway.
So obviously, the Suns need a new coach, and a new GM, but hey, one thing at a time.
When it comes to NBA coaches it seems like old faces gets recycled over and over again. Take a look at former Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni for example, coached in Phoenix for a few years, coached on Broadway for a few more, and now he’s calling the shots in Laker land. And I’ll bet anyone that if the Lakers hand D’Antoni the pink slip after this season, he’ll be coaching again somewhere else within the next couple of seasons. No disrespect towards Mike D’Antoni but the Suns don’t need someone like that.
What the Suns DO need however is a fresh face. Someone who’s never coached before, someone who’s been around the game for awhile, someone who’s been an assistant under a great coach, say, someone like Brian Shaw.
To shed the light on something here, many of the greatest coaches in NBA history were assistants for years or even decades, studying the game which ultimately allowed them to become GREAT coaches. Phil Jackson, Greg Popovich, Tom Thibodeau, just to name a few. What do those guys have in common? They spent much time as assistant coaches, studying the game, expanding their knowledge and acquiring all the tools that were necessary for them to become the coaches they are today.
Pop spent about five seasons as an assistant, then worked in the front office for the Spurs for a few seasons before firing former Spurs Bob Hill and naming himself as the head coach of the team in 1996.
Thibodeau worked as an assistant for about 21 years before getting his shot as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls and he’s now one of the top coaches in the league.
Case in point, that’s the type of guy the Suns should be looking for. Someone who’s had experience as part of an NBA coaching staff. They shouldn’t look for a drifting coach(IE: D’Antoni), or someone who’s had zero experience(IE: Lindsey Hunter).
One of the biggest things missing from the Phoenix Suns organization is a quality culture. The Suns, whether through finding a great player, a great coach or a great management type of guy in the front office, need to establish some form of a quality culture. A quality culture that one is conscious of when they think of a franchise like the Los Angeles Lakers, the San Antonio Spurs, the New York Yankees, the Green Bay Packers or the New England Patriots.
That’s what’s missing in the Valley of the Suns.
With Blanks out of the office, there’s very little holding the Suns back; well there’s Robert Sarver but there’s little anyone can do about him. Lon Babby has done a terrific job managing the team but unfortunately, Blanks has been a thorn in his rear since the day Blanks arrived in office.
Personally, I believe Brian Shaw should be the Suns top target as a head coach next season. Shaw has been an assistant in the NBA since 2004, he’s been around championship teams(Lakers) which means he knows what it takes to get there, and if there’s anyone who can help lead the Suns to the of Everest, it’s Shaw!