Suns’ Igor Kokoskov clouds PG position by relying on play-makers

Oct 15, 2018, 9:18 PM | Updated: Oct 16, 2018, 10:32 am

Phoenix Suns coach Igor Kokoskov signals to his team during the first half of an NBA preseason bask...

Phoenix Suns coach Igor Kokoskov signals to his team during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

The Phoenix Suns will head into the 2018-19 regular season without a starting-caliber point guard leading the team, but first-year head coach Igor Kokoskov is willing to work around the issue.

Former Suns general manager Ryan McDonough reportedly pursued a point guard in a trade, but to no avail. With McDonough now fired, vice president of basketball operations James Jones took over as interim general manager and reportedly made his first move on Monday by signing 38-year-old combo guard Jamal Crawford to a veterans minimum deal.

Crawford has not been used much at point guard due to his ability to score at a high level. He has only been a primary starter in five of his 18 seasons played in the NBA.

So what is Kokoskov’s approach at the lacking position?

“We don’t have one guy that we designate as the starting point guard and we’re trying to turn it into a strength of this team,” Kokoskov said in an interview on Monday.

The Suns currently have three point guards on the depth chart with Isaiah Canaan, De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo in rotation. Kokoskov will look to get the ball to his better and more proven players.

“There’s a couple of guys who can take that role,” Kokoskov  said. “We also know that guys like [Deandre] Ayton, [Devin] Booker and a couple other vets are going to take the role when it comes to the play-making, somebody who can make a play for other people on the court.”

“So that doesn’t mean necessarily it’s going to be point guard.”

Kokoskov said he would rotate 21-year-old Booker in at point guard but will be cautious in his approach not to exert too much of Booker’s energy defending the premier point guards of the Western Conference.

“We ask him to do so much and he’s accepting the challenge,” Kokoskov said.  “I don’t want to waste our best offensive weapon to guard point guards necessarily. He’s going to score for us, he’s going to defend obviously.

“He’s going to play some stretches, some games and we’re going to try also to incorporate other guys who can help us at the point guard position.”

Starting with Wednesday’s opener against the Dallas Mavericks, there could be lineup changes throughout the season as the front office continues its search for a productive point guard.

The Suns will have to work with what they have as of now, and take the upcoming season “one game at a time,” said Kokoskov.

“I know that we’re going to be prepared. We’re going to play hard and we’re going to try to win every single game, whoever we play.”

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Suns’ Igor Kokoskov clouds PG position by relying on play-makers