Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek: ‘Your role is to play basketball’

Apr 7, 2015, 4:52 PM | Updated: 4:52 pm

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After the Phoenix Suns beat the Utah Jazz 87-85 last Saturday night, guard Archie Goodwin joined the team’s post-game radio show and wondered about a lack of leadership and defined roles for players this season.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek, the man responsible for creating roles for players, didn’t seem to pleased about the second-year player’s comments.

“It’s typical,” Hornacek told Doug and Wolf Tuesday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “They always pull out ‘what’s my role?’

“Well, your role is to play basketball. It’s to play defense, it’s to pass the ball, it’s to run the offense and not break things off.”

The second-year head coach did admit that Goodwin’s comments weren’t totally misguided.

“He’s got a little bit of a point. I think most of our guys have a scoring mentality and we need more guys to have a passing mentality.”

The Suns (39-38) are near the bottom of the league in assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.

In terms of leadership, it’s no secret the Suns have struggled in that area with the current make-up of their roster, especially since the trade deadline. Phoenix was the seventh-youngest team in the league at the beginning of the season and has since traded seasoned veterans Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas.

Hornacek believes the best type of team leader is one that creates an example with his on-court performance and can also be vocal with his teammates.

“Usually your leaders are the best players on the team because they’re doing the right things 95 percent of the time,” he said. “It’s tough to be a leader when you’re the one making the mistakes. How do you go yell at somebody else and get the guys to do something whey you’re not doing it?

“The best leaders are the guys that will do in actions and will do it with their words. While they’re on the court, they’ll try to pump somebody up and give somebody encouragement. Right now, we’re a young team and we don’t have one guy that has developed into that yet.”

Hornacek went on to say that he understands the nature of Goodwin’s comments about defined roles.

“Some guys pull that out when they’re not getting the minutes they think they should be getting,” he said. “So you hear a lot of that too. Sometimes it’s tough on bench guys. They’ll say ‘what’s my role.’ I don’t know.

“Some nights, you’re playing well and you’re going to play 15 to 20 minutes. Other nights, you’re hurting us and you’re going to play five minutes.”

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