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NBA insider high on Suns’ hirings of McDonough, Hornacek

LISTEN: Jeff Van Gundy, NBA analyst

The foundation for the Phoenix Suns’ rebuilding process is set.

In early May, the Suns plucked 33-year-old Ryan McDonough out of the Boston Celtics’ front office to be their new general manager. Immediately, Danny Ainge’s former right-hand man began the search for the Suns next head coach.

“My first order of business as the general manager is to find the best guy for that job,” McDonough said at his introductory press conference. “Obviously, I’ll be working closely with Robert (Sarver) and Lon (Babby) and the rest of our staff on that.”

Earlier this week, McDonough found the best guy for the job — Jeff Hornacek — who was introduced as the team’s new bench boss Tuesday.

The moves have been met with praise from national experts, including ESPN/ABC NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy.

“I don’t know Ryan McDonough personally, but I would say this — a guy I trust the most in basketball, or as anybody in basketball, Tom Thibodeau, whom I worked with at both the Knicks and the Rockets and is now the ultra-successful head coach in Chicago — he worked with McDonough in Boston and raved about his abilities,” Van Gundy told Doug & Wolf on Arizona Sports 620 Friday.

“On this one, ‘in Tom I trust,’ because there’s no one who I think judges basketball people any better than Tom Thibodeau.”

That’s lofty praise from the former NBA head coach, but it didn’t stop there. It continued when discussing Hornacek.

“I’ve always found him to be an incredible basketball guy,” he said. “I think he’s going to do a tremendous job. Obviously, they have a lot of work to do with their roster. Some of the contracts that they have had and some of the character issues that they still have on their team — they’re legitimate problems that have to be corrected.

“But in McDonough and Hornacek, I think you’ve got a very good tandem to help start solving some of these very difficult problems that the Phoenix Suns roster has.”