3 reasons keeping Kevin Young was masterstroke move by the Suns.
1. He can take over as head coach if needed
It is the unspoken truth in the room right now, but it is obvious that if the Suns both had Young as a finalist to be their next head coach, and also paid him a lot of money to stick around, that they have high hopes for his future. There is no doubt that he could have decided to look for a top job elsewhere, and he eventually would have gotten one.
But in staying with the Suns, Young must know that if things go sideways with Vogel, that he will be given the next opportunity to be the head coach of the team. In one way this is a negative, because right from day one Vogel could be looking over his shoulder. A prized assistant who gets on well with star players is exactly the kind of person who one day takes over as the top coach.
On the other hand, the front office need to do all they can to ensure they maximize the championship window that they have created for themselves. Keeping Young represents exactly that, because if Vogel gets off to a rough start or the wheels come off altogether, he can step in as the interim head coach right away and keep the train moving.
We’ve seen this happen with Joe Mazzulla and the Boston Celtics this season. The 34-year-old going from the second row last season, to being thrust into the spotlight as the Celtics made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals. It is not yet known if he will get the job on a full-time basis, but what we do know is that Young already has a better reputation as an assistant than Mazzulla did.
So the Suns getting a proven head coach in Vogel as their plan A was a smart move. But just as impressive was slotting their plan B in right behind him in a harmonious way. If the Suns need to break glass in case of emergency, then the familiar face of Young will be there if the Vogel appointment goes wrong. You quite literally can’t ask for anything more than that from the Suns.