As first reported by Arizona Sports 620’s John Gambadoro Saturday night, the Phoenix Suns are currently negotiating with Jeff Hornacek to become the team’s next head coach.
While Gambo noted that an official announcement might not be made until Tuesday, let’s take a look back by the numbers at Hornacek’s NBA career — both as a player and as an assistant.
Hornacek played 14 seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers and Utah Jazz. His lone All-Star Game appearance came in 1991-92, when he averaged a career-high 20. 1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Despite a terrific career at Iowa State, the Suns were able to select Hornacek in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft. He was the 46th overall pick.
While Hornacek has plenty of playing experience to show for himself, his time as an assistant has been brief. The former NBA veteran has served on Tyrone Corbin’s coaching staff in Utah for parts of just three seasons. In that span, the Jazz have gone 87-89.
When officially hired, Hornacek will become the sixth former Suns player to make the transition as the team’s head coach. The five others are Dick Van Arsdale, John Wetzel, Paul Westphal, Danny Ainge and Frank Johnson.
The Illinois native played his first six seasons in the Valley before being shipped off to Philadelphia in 1992 as part of the deal that brought Charles Barkley to town.
Hornacek was somewhat of a revelation in Ames, Iowa. After walking on to the Cyclones’ basketball team (1982), he helped guide the program to their first NCAA tournament win in over 40 years and an eventual berth in the 1986 Sweet Sixteen.
Although Hornacek wasn’t quite the offensive force that Tom Chambers and Kevin Johnson were, in 1988-1989 the trio led the Suns to a 27-game improvement from the previous season. From the 1988-89 season to Hornacek’s departure after the 1991-92 campaign, Phoenix made four total playoff appearances and two trips to the Western Conference Finals.
From 1986 to 2000, few in the game were better from distance than Hornacek. For his career, he shot 40.3 percent from three-point range and won the 1998 and 2000 Three-Point Shootout contest at the NBA All-Star Game.
Hornacek wasn’t just lethal from downtown, though. In 14 seasons, he shot 87.7 percent from the free throw line — good for 14th on the all-time list.
1997 and 1998
While he doesn’t have an NBA ring to show for himself, Hornacek brings to the Valley a championship pedigree. Playing alongside Hall of Famers John Stockton and Karl Malone, Hornacek and the Utah Jazz made back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998.