Igor Kokoskov: Luka Doncic would ‘fit great’ on Suns
The connection is not hard to spot.
Real Madrid wing and likely top-2 NBA Draft pick Luka Doncic played for Slovenian head coach Igor Kokoskov at EuroBasket last summer, and Kokoskov is now the Phoenix Suns’ new head coach.
Theories began to fly. This has to mean the Suns are selecting Doncic, right?
Well for one, the Suns had no idea Doncic would be available to them in the draft when they hired Kokoskov, and Kokoskov himself says the team is not locked in on one guy at No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft.
“With all respect to Luka, I love him as a player — he’s a unique player and a great guy. I think he would fit great on our team, but the options are open,” he said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Suns Postseason Special Wednesday.
Kokoskov, obviously, has taken notice of Doncic’s play and achievements in Europe.
“You look at his career in the last two years, he made unbelievable improvements as a player,” he said.
“In the professional world, playing with professional players and as a young boy he was playing with adults and dominating and playing on that level, it’s really something that draws attention. All the lights were on him.”
Kokoskov also has the insight that Doncic wants to model his game around Philadelphia 76ers star point guard Ben Simmons.
“That’s his game,” he said. “Pass-first player, always the ability to score and make the big shots, but he’s a playmaker. He’s willing to make a pass, he’s willing to play for his teammates and make other people better on the court.”
The 46-year-old also opened up about his thought process when looking at the draft as a whole.
“Every decision takes a risk,” he said. “It gives us a better chance to look all these candidates, study very well and see what’s the best for us. I think this class is pretty good, not just the first pick, I think a lot of lottery picks can change a team and franchises they are going to play for.”
When it comes down to it, though, what really matters for the Suns was the moment of landing the pick and what that player could mean for the team.
“It was a really great night for Suns nation,” Kokoskov said. “Just made history. First time in the history of the franchise that we got (a) first pick and we have a chance to choose who (we) really like and who we think can change the franchise.”