PHOENIX SUNS

Kokoskov on Suns taking Ayton over Doncic: ‘I’m sleeping peacefully’

Dec 6, 2019, 11:34 AM | Updated: 3:30 pm
Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov directs his team against the Denver Nuggets in the first half...

Phoenix Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov directs his team against the Denver Nuggets in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic has risen as one of the league’s biggest stars with a vicious step-back three-point shot and the ability to set up his teammates for the best shots possible. He is third in the NBA in scoring, third in efficiency rating and second in assists.

Doncic stands in second-place on NBA.com’s MVP Ladder, only behind the defending winner Giannis Antetokounmpo. He won the Western Conference Player of the Month award for November.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, the 2018 top draft pick who was selected two spots ahead of Doncic, has still played in just one game this season due to an illegal substance suspension.

The jury is still out on what Ayton will become, but it seems unlikely that he will be seen on Doncic’s level down the road.

Former Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov discussed Donic and the decision to draft Ayton in a Eurohoops.net article.

“All I’ll say is that I’m sleeping peacefully and carefree,” Kokoskov said, according to a translation of the Croatian site Index about the Suns’ decision.

He could not say more for professional reasons on the matter, but he did go on about Doncic’s “mesmerizing” play.

Kokoskov coached Doncic on the Slovenian national team and is clearly very fond of him.

“Until yesterday, we talked about Luka as an up-and-coming player, today we talk about him as one of the NBA’s best players,” Kokoskov said. “The basketball he plays at the age of 20 puts him in the position of one of the most dominant players of today, and the speed at which all this has taken place is especially fascinating.”

Kokoskov’s hiring brought a lot of speculation that the Suns would select the former Euro League MVP. But it was not to be.

The Suns fired Kokoskov after going 19-63 last season. Kokoskov is now a part of the coaching staff of the Sacramento Kings, helmed by head coach Luke Walton.

He was asked why things did not work out in the Valley.

“We had a lot of young players, and we didn’t have a real playmaker,” Kokoskov said. “Today, it is impossible to play modern basketball without a top playmaker.

“Quite simply, at that moment we were not ready for a better result, and despite everything, when I look back at that period, I have no bad memories. Life is like that, sport is like that, let’s move on.”

Penguin Air
Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Gold...
Sam Graveline

ESPN’s Pelton gives Phoenix Suns ‘C+’ offseason grade

Despite the Phoenix Suns being among the few teams to dominate the offseason news cycle, ESPN's Kevin Pelton gave them a C+ grade.
15 hours ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns throws up a shot during the second half of the NBA game at ...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ Cam Johnson to coach at Basketball Without Borders camp in Australia

Cam Johnson will be coaching some of the top prospects from the Asia-Pacific region at a Basketball Without Borders camp in Australia.
2 days ago
Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after a teammate scored against the Los Angeles Lakers...
Kevin Zimmerman

Ish Wainright on Suns return, when NFL career was toast and Game 7

Ish Wainright hit on a few topics on Bickley & Marotta, including how he feels the Suns have responded to their Game 7 loss.
3 days ago
Follow @KellanOlson...
Kellan Olson

Devin Booker’s signature Phoenix Suns moves tracked for NBA 2K23

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker will grace the cover of NBA 2K23 and the game will feature his signature moves.
4 days ago
Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference...
Kellan Olson

Ish Wainright returns to Phoenix Suns on 2-way contract, per report

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a two-way contract with forward Ish Wainright, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
5 days ago
Duane Washington Jr. #4 of the Indiana Pacers reacts after forcing a turnover by Trae Young #11 of ...
Jake Anderson

Phoenix Suns sign guard Duane Washington Jr. to 2-way contract

The Phoenix Suns have officially signed guard Duane Washington Jr. to a two-way contract, the team announced Wednesday.
5 days ago
Kokoskov on Suns taking Ayton over Doncic: ‘I’m sleeping peacefully’