The Phoenix Suns head coaching search is now fully underway after the Suns finally found their general manager of the future in Ryan McDonough earlier this week.
McDonough has given the public and the media an idea what kind of coaching the Suns are looking for, but the competition for top coaches remains fierce considering that there could be well over a dozen vacant head coach positions in the NBA this offseason.
“The most important thing to find in our head coach is someone who is a leader,” McDonough said. “We need someone who commands the respect of the players, commands the respect of the entire organization. We also need someone who is a teacher, who can help our young players develop and get better and maximize their individual talent.”
The fact that the Suns are reaching out to coaching candidates and the fact that they know what type of coach they are looking for is one thing, but finding a quality coach who’s willing to come help clean up the mess in the valley of the Suns is a different story. ESPN writer Chris Broussard wrote a piece yesterday and ranked the top 11 vacant head coaching spots right now but he ranked Phoenix at number eight just ahead of Milwaukee, Sacramento and Charlotte.
“The obvious positives are that it’s a good city and you can attract players. They’ve got a good reputation with their training staff, and there are no expectations on them. But the bad stuff is that they have a crazy owner. He’s aloof, and you really don’t know what you’re really dealing with. I don’t believe they’re in their process yet either. They’re starting over again. They tried to build when they went after Eric Gordon, but he couldn’t come, so they had to start that over. They took a leap on [Michael] Beasley’s talent, but he’s not in their plans. They brought in an interim guy in Lindsey Hunter, and even the little bit that he built is going to be gone. So as the new coach, you’re going to have to undo some stuff. You’ve got a bad roster with pieces and parts that don’t fit. … They don’t have an identity yet. You could spin it like, ‘They don’t have an identity, but I can build an identity.’ That’s your ego talking, because building on some of the stuff they have would be kind of scary. If I’m an established head coach, I wouldn’t want any part of that.”
While hiring Ryan McDonough was a good move, this is where hiring someone of Charles Barkley’s stature to be GM would have opened more doors for the Suns. Guys like Barkley will command the respect of many coaches and players in the association based on their name alone thus having a greater chance of persuading them to come to the valley; that’s one of the most underrated aspects of hiring a big name individual to be GM.
According to the rumors, names that have been connected to the Suns in terms of coaching candidates are guys like Lionel Hollins (Who’s contract is up upon the conclusion of this season), Mike Budenholzer, Brian Shaw, Kelvin Sampson and Quin Snyder.