PHOENIX SUNS

Suns have confidence in acting head coach Kevin Young

Dec 29, 2021, 6:33 PM

Kevin Young, Toronto Raptors coaching candidate...

Associate head coach Kevin Young of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of the NBA game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Footprint Center on December 27, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Grizzlies defeated the Suns 114-113. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns were seconds away from securing acting head coach Kevin Young his first victory in charge of an NBA team on Monday night.

Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant ended that bid with a spectacular finish at the rim in the final second of the game, but Phoenix has another shot on Wednesday evening.

The Suns host the Oklahoma City Thunder, while head coach Monty Williams is still in the league’s health and safety protocols.

COVID-19 has hit the Suns hard this week as starting center Deandre Ayton and forward Jae Crowder landed in the protocols, as well.

Still, the Suns nearly rallied to a victory against a current playoff team with Young at the helm, and confidence is high that the acting head coach will make the most of his opportunity.

“Monty is certainly staying involved, but he’s also, as a good leader does, he’s empowered Kevin to take the reigns and without doubt has full confidence in Kevin’s abilities,” Suns president Jason Rowley said on Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday.

“What’s really important is how the players view it, and you have Devin (Booker) who has credited Kevin with drawing up that last play, the go-ahead bucket against Memphis. Too bad it didn’t end up being a winner, but it was still a great moment.”

Young told reporters on Tuesday that Williams has been very supportive from afar during this process, even facetiming him after the Memphis game.

Point guard Chris Paul told the media Young did great, and he hates how the team was not able to finish off the Grizzlies for his first win.

Young is in his second season as an assistant coach with the Suns.

The 40-year-old was a head coach for multiple G League (formerly D League) teams for nearly a decade before the Philadelphia 76ers hired him as an assistant coach in 2017. He and Williams were both on the 76ers’ staff in 2018-19.

“I think he’s got full confidence of everybody there, he’s got experience from a lot of years of coaching, so we are very confident he’s going to do a great job tonight, and the team is going to step up and rally around him,” Rowley said.

The Suns tip-off against the Thunder at 7 p.m. at Footprint Center. You can tune in on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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