Gentry: Suns coaching candidate Igor Kokoskov would be ‘great choice’

Apr 20, 2018, 4:20 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2018, 9:09 pm

Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry, second from right, along with his assistant coaches Dan Marjerle, ...

Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry, second from right, along with his assistant coaches Dan Marjerle, right, Bill Cartwright, third from right, and Igor Kokoskov, fourth from right, and players watch as the Orlando Magic take a commanding lead in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 13, 2011, in Phoenix. The Magic won 111-88. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

(AP Photo/Paul Connors)

LISTEN: Alvin Gentry, Pelicans' Head Coach

The Phoenix Suns and their last head coach to make the playoffs have spent some time with the Suns’ latest head coaching candidate set for an interview.

From 2008-13, current Utah Jazz assistant coach and candidate for the Suns’ head coaching job Igor Kokoskov was an assistant with the Suns for then-head coach Alvin Gentry.

Kokoskov would be a good hire for the Suns according to Gentry.

“He’s had some great head coaching experience internationally,” Gentry said. “I think he’s very much ready to be a head coach. I think he understands the game, (he’s) got great personal relationships with the players … he’s got great temperament. I think he would be a great choice.”

Led by Kokoskov, Slovenia unexpectedly won the 2017 EuroBasket tournament. The team had the ninth-highest odds to win the tournament, per BetOnline.

That Slovenian national team, of course, had former Suns point guard Goran Dragic and potential No. 1 overall draft pick Luka Doncic lead the way.

Kokoskov spent time working with the likes of Steve Nash and Dragic while he was in Phoenix and Dragic some more, along with Doncic, as the head coach of Slovenia.

“Goran came a long way when he was [in Phoenix] and Igor had a lot to do with that and his development,” Gentry said.

On the obvious link between the Suns’ best NBA Lottery odds and Kokoskov coaching Doncic in the past, Gentry sees how it could work.

“I could see that being a really good working relationship, player-coach working relationship,” he said.

When it comes to a signature aspect of his coaching style, Gentry likes the way Kokoskov sees the game unfold.

“He has a great feel for the game,” Gentry said. “He really understands the game from an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint.”

Don’t discount how Kokoskov could help out other members of the Suns like Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren, either. Gentry said Kokoskov’s style would help unlock more out of those players.

“[They would] play an uptempo kind of basketball,” he said. “I think those guys are very good in that situation.”

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