The Phoenix Suns announced the firing of head coach Jeff Hornacek early Monday morning.
Phoenix is currently 14-35 and tied for the second-worst record in the Western Conference. The Suns have lost 14 consecutive road games, closing in on the franchise-record of 17 straight road losses.
According to former NBA player Jon Barry, what comes next will be crucial for the franchise.
“They have to retool, I don’t know what they’re going to do here,” Barry told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday. “Do they have enough to build on with what’s there? Do you think Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are a backcourt that can be your two best players and move forward? I don’t know, I’d have to change direction if I was in their shoes.”
Knight signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Suns in the offseason after Phoenix landed him in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks last season.
Knight played in just 11 games for Phoenix after the Suns acquired him in 2014 due to an ankle injury, and this season has posted career-highs in points (19.4) and rebounds (3.7), but has been sidelined the last six games due to a groin strain.
Bledsoe was also having a career year, averaging career-highs in points per game (20.4) and assists per game (6.1) before suffering a torn meniscus on Dec. 26 against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, Barry thinks the loss of Bledsoe and Knight are just the beginning of Phoenix’s problems.
“When you have ownership that’s very involved in coaching decisions, personnel decisions, who is your GM, you have to be on the same page,” Barry said. “Obviously Robert Sarver has not been on the same page with GMs, coaches, with players they’ve brought in. If he’s going to have a say, it makes it all the more difficult.”
Barry thinks the Suns should take a page out of one of their rival’s books on how to move forward.
“If you look at franchises like San Antonio, they’re going to have another 50-win season for the 17th straight season,” Barry said. “How many times have you heard of their owner mentioned in anything that happens with the San Antonio Spurs? He hires basketball people, they do their job.”
Barry emphasized how imperative it is that Sarver and the Suns identify what the team is trying to do.
“You gotta hire people you trust, and you let them do their jobs,” Barry said. “The more people that meddle into what’s going on with decisions, the worse it becomes. You gotta simplify things, find a direction and go with it.”
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