The NBA named Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek the Western Conference Coach of the Month for December, and it’s fitting that it comes the day his team takes on the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns dropped their first game of last month, losing to the Grizzlies 110-91 on Dec. 3.
After that loss, Phoenix won 10 of its next 12 games with San Antonio and Golden State marking the team’s only losses.
In the Eastern Conference, Dwane Casey won the same award for the Toronto Raptors, who went 7-2 in the final nine games of December. The Raptors were 8-3 since the trade that shipped gunner Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings, and like the Suns’ trade of Marcin Gortat just before the 2013-14 season began, benefitted with addition by subtraction.
It’s just an interesting case of how much star power affects the league and how sometimes, it’s more beneficial to have the right pieces rather than a forced model built around one or even two players.
Hornacek joins Larry Bird and Larry Drew as the only two people in NBA history to win a monthly honor as both player and coach. And he’s only the sixth Suns coach to win the award, joining Alvin Gentry, Mike D’Antoni, Frank Johnson, Cotton Fitzsimmons and Paul Westphal.