Until the hiring of Jeff Hornacek, the head coach position wasn’t the only thing missing in the Suns’ organizational structure.
The executive conference room was also lacking the perspective of someone who played the game.
Yes, former NBA All-Star Jeff Hornacek was hired to coach the Suns. And, to some degree, Hornacek will also be relied upon to reconnect the team with the fan base, not to mention many of its former players.
But one of the most important aspects of the Hornacek Homecoming is to remember that he wore a jersey for 14 seasons. Why? Because the rest of the Suns’ decision makers did not.
Look, just like Hornacek’s playing days, that’s not a slam. It just means that the Suns’ front office filled a need. Basketball is not baseball. Analytics and number crunching don’t fit a free-flowing game nearly as well as baseball, for instance.
The 16th head coach in Suns history is unlike GM Ryan McDonough, team president Lon Babby and owner Robert Sarver — he brings the perspective of someone who logged many minutes on the court.
In other words, we don’t know about anybody else currently residing on Planet Orange Cones, but that makes Paulie Low Tops here feel a heck of a lot better about the Suns’ chances of recovering and rebuilding from a 25-win season.
Let’s hit rewind for a moment. Years ago, I had a few precious opportunities to sit next to Cotton Fitzsimmons. We were both watching a Suns game, but our conversations revealed that the late Suns legend was seeing something above and beyond anybody else on press row. Simply put, he had been there and coached that.
So, just like Babby allowed McDonough to hire his head coach, the new GM will now act like LeBron is barreling down the lane and step aside when it comes time for potential draft picks to visit.
“Jeff and his coaching staff will run the workouts,” McDonough said on Arizona Sports 620. “Coming from the NBA where (Hornacek) was an assistant at Utah, I know he was somewhat involved in the draft process there — but he’s going to be more involved (here).”
See, who says the suits can’t move the ball and share the rock? Chalk up a few assists for the guys upstairs. It’s the front office equivalent of finding the open man and catering to his strengths.