Suns' Lon Babby: Jeff Hornacek 'by far the best coaching candidate'
Although the organization's front office has taken criticism for straying from its history over the past several years -- promoting Lindsey Hunter to interim head coach instead of affording Dan Majerle the opportunity last season, for example -- the hire of Hornacek, who spent the first six years of his playing career with the Suns, was a reverse of direction in that regard.
Babby minced no words when talking about Hornacek on Thursday while a guest on The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta.
"We hired by far the best coaching candidate available to us, and he happened to also be beloved in the community," he said.
"He's a coach in every sense of the word. His father was a coach. He was born to coach."
Hornacek was an assistant coach with the Utah Jazz for two years prior to taking the reins in Phoenix. His father, who Babby alluded to during the interview, was a long-time high school basketball coach in suburban Chicago.
"He's a wonderful communicator," Babby went on. "He can send tough messages in a way that players accept. He does a great job of getting their attention without screaming so that when he does raise his voice, they know he's serious."
Last season, many questioned the ability of head coach Alvin Gentry and then interim head coach, Hunter, to hold players accountable.
The Suns already seem happy with what Hornacek brings to the table in that area.
And player development, too, has become a priority after the Suns' 25-57 finish last season. Predictably, Babby thinks Hornacek has that covered, too.
"And first and foremost he's a teacher. And he's filled his staff with teachers. And that's what we need; we need teaching."
Despite Hornacek's many plusses, however, Babby knows it will take a lot for the Suns to take a complete 180-degree turn from their 2012-13 fates. But the Hornacek move, among others, brightens the future.
"He sees the big picture," Babby said of Hornacek, who, along with his other attributes, is crucial to the Suns' direction.
- Suns' Dragic credits new team mindset with success
- Former D-League coach praises work ethic of Suns' Gerald Green
- Suns center Alex Len keeping close tabs on Ukraine, honors country with special message
- Suns Strokes: Green engineers second-half comeback in thrilling win over Thunder
- Green, Suns storm past Thunder in statement victory: By the Numbers
- Goran Dragic, Suns Guard - Friday March 7Suns guard Goran Dragic joins the Burns and Gambo show
- Bill Frieder, former Arizona State basketball head coach - Friday March 7Bill Frieder discusses the state of ASU basketball, and what should the NBA do about the draft age t
- Bickley Blast - Friday March 7The Suns got a signature win, and seem determined to make the playoffs.
- Eric Musselman, ASU basketball associate head coac - Friday March 7Eric Musselman talks about his relationship with Gerald Green, his thoughts on Jahii Carson's seaso
- Tim Kempton, Suns Color Analyst - Friday March 7Will LeBron return to Cleveland?