The Phoenix Suns recently implemented a policy which is meant to help the team cut back on its league-leading 36 player technical fouls. If a player earns a technical foul, he’ll be benched for the remainder of the game.
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek felt forced to institute such a measure, given the team’s technical foul epidemic.
And while much has been made of the policy after it was first showcased in the third quarter disciplining of Markieff Morris in Sunday’s 120-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, Hornacek says it’s meant to expedite long-term growth in the organization.
“(GM) Ryan McDonough was hired and when he hired me, we talked about winning a championship and I don’t believe you can get to that level constantly arguing with the ref,” Hornacek told the Doug and Wolf show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Tuesday.
He was redundant with this message, making it clear — the policy was for the future, not the present, and for his players, not for his personal development as a disciplinarian.
“It’s not just a quick — we’re not just looking to fix it for this year,” he said. “This is something we want to try to establish as we go forward in this process of growing and making our run. It’s not all about just getting into the playoffs this year.”
Individually, too, Hornacek believes this stringent new set of rules dictating how his players speak with officials will not only earn them calls — as he believes he’s seen with Eric Bledsoe of late — but will give them opportunities to develop leadership traits.
P.J. Tucker, 29, is the oldest of the Suns’ nine most used players and the team, in general, is one of the younger in the league.
“We’d like them to kind of control themselves,” he continued. “You know, if one guy’s getting on the refs, then one of his teammates goes over there and pulls him aside and says, you know, ‘Enough. Let it go.’
“But we don’t have the leaders quite yet, so we’re trying to develop them.”