PHOENIX SUNS

Igor Kokoskov: Luka Doncic would ‘fit great’ on Suns

May 17, 2018, 11:05 AM | Updated: May 21, 2018, 1:40 pm
Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov speaks to the media Monday, May 14, 2018, in Phoenix. Kokosko...

Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov speaks to the media Monday, May 14, 2018, in Phoenix. Kokoskov will oversee a vastly improved team after they compiled the worst record in the NBA last season. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

The connection is not hard to spot.

Real Madrid wing and likely top-2 NBA Draft pick Luka Doncic played for Slovenian head coach Igor Kokoskov at EuroBasket last summer, and Kokoskov is now the Phoenix Suns’ new head coach.

Theories began to fly. This has to mean the Suns are selecting Doncic, right?

Well for one, the Suns had no idea Doncic would be available to them in the draft when they hired Kokoskov, and Kokoskov himself says the team is not locked in on one guy at No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft.

“With all respect to Luka, I love him as a player — he’s a unique player and a great guy. I think he would fit great on our team, but the options are open,” he said on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Suns Postseason Special Wednesday.

Kokoskov, obviously, has taken notice of Doncic’s play and achievements in Europe.

“You look at his career in the last two years, he made unbelievable improvements as a player,” he said.

“In the professional world, playing with professional players and as a young boy he was playing with adults and dominating and playing on that level, it’s really something that draws attention. All the lights were on him.”

Kokoskov also has the insight that Doncic wants to model his game around Philadelphia 76ers star point guard Ben Simmons.

“That’s his game,” he said. “Pass-first player, always the ability to score and make the big shots, but he’s a playmaker. He’s willing to make a pass, he’s willing to play for his teammates and make other people better on the court.”

The 46-year-old also opened up about his thought process when looking at the draft as a whole.

“Every decision takes a risk,” he said. “It gives us a better chance to look all these candidates, study very well and see what’s the best for us. I think this class is pretty good, not just the first pick, I think a lot of lottery picks can change a team and franchises they are going to play for.”

When it comes down to it, though, what really matters for the Suns was the moment of landing the pick and what that player could mean for the team.

“It was a really great night for Suns nation,” Kokoskov said. “Just made history. First time in the history of the franchise that we got (a) first pick and we have a chance to choose who (we) really like and who we think can change the franchise.”

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks as New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas looks...
Arizona Sports

Report: Phoenix Suns tender qualifying offer to C Deandre Ayton

The Suns have reportedly tendered a $16.4 million qualifying offer to center Deandre Ayton, making him a restricted free agent on July 1.
8 hours ago
Kevin Durant #7 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets look on in the final seconds of their 109...
Jake Anderson

Kyrie Irving opts into $36.5 million option with Brooklyn Nets, per reports

All-Star guard Kyrie Irving will be opting into his $36.5 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple reports.
1 day ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on...
Jake Anderson

Odds of Deandre Ayton playing for Nets leap with Kyrie Irving uncertainty

With NBA free agency officially commencing on Thursday, oddsmakers are projecting where free agents will be playing next season.
1 day ago
Phoenix Suns forward Frank Kaminsky (8) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27)...
Kevin Zimmerman

Suns free-agency focus: The center market after Deandre Ayton

The Suns will be hampered by the financial situation depending on if Deandre Ayton returns to Phoenix or not.
1 day ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns dunks against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at State Fa...
Arizona Sports

ESPN’s Pelton: NBA Draft potentially removed RFA Deandre Ayton suitor

Analyst Kevin Pelton included Ayton's future on a list of impactful decisions this summer, noting Detroit may no longer fit after the draft.
2 days ago
A basketball on the court during the game between the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns at Ca...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Ryan Resch becomes first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history

Ryan Resch, the Suns VP of basketball strategy and evaluation, became the first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history. 
3 days ago
Igor Kokoskov: Luka Doncic would ‘fit great’ on Suns