Suns GM Ryan McDonough: ‘Earl (Watson) continued to stand out’

Apr 20, 2016, 7:19 AM
Newly-appointed Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough smiles during an NBA basketball news co...
Newly-appointed Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough smiles during an NBA basketball news conference, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Phoenix. McDonough joins the Suns after most recently serving the past three seasons as the assistant general manager of the Boston Celtics. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)
LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns' General Manager

The way in which the Phoenix Suns went about hiring Earl Watson had been questioned by some on Tuesday.

When listening to Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, however, it’s clear as to why the decision was so decisive.

“Throughout the last month or so of the season, we had a number of players come to us unsolicited and say ‘hey look, this is the guy that should be our head coach. We believe in him, we feel like he believes in us. We sense some of the changes around here in terms of the culture and the mood,'” McDonough said on Burns & Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

“More than anything, I think we saw Earl grow as a coach over a two and a half month period,” McDonough said.

The Suns general manager — entering his fourth offseason with Phoenix — cited the March 14 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves as a game when the Suns saw Watson shine as a coach in the way he created plays.

It’s been only a week since the Suns’ season ended, but McDonough made it clear that the Suns have been completing a process since they fired Jeff Hornacek on Feb. 1.

“We’ve been doing our homework and our due diligence for two and a half months now,” McDonough said.

“We considered everybody from former NBA head coaches to current college coaches to up and coming assistant coaches in the NBA.”

With that evaluation came comparing Watson to those candidates, and McDonough spoke highly of how Watson performed when that was done.

“Earl continued to stand out, if not emerge from the pack as we were going through that process,” McDonough said.

Despite the 9-24 record the Suns had under Watson, there’s no doubt about the positive energy he brought to the Suns’ organization and locker room.

“We think he did a really good job in terms of starting to establish and create a culture of sacrifice, of hard work, being competitive and frankly, he commanded the respect of the team and the locker room,” McDnoough said.

McDonough went on to note a surprising tidbit about their search.

“Let me make this clear, there were no budgetary restrictions on what we could spend for a head coach.”

Penguin Air

Burns and Gambo

Infielder Nick Ahmed #13 of the Arizona Diamondbacks whips the ball to first base after tagging out...
Kellan Olson

Diamondbacks’ Lovullo expects SS Nick Ahmed to miss rest of season

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said on Burns & Gambo Tuesday he thinks shortstop Nick Ahmed will miss the rest of the season.
3 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals calls a play during a game against the Detroit Lions at Fo...
Arizona Sports

Roundtable: What can the Cardinals do to bring out Kyler Murray’s best?

Kliff Kingsbury, Steve Keim and Cardinals teammates of Kyler Murray will have a role in bringing out the QB's best.
28 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel throws to a Colorado Rockies batter during the...
Jake Anderson

D-backs believe Dallas Keuchel still has ‘some really good games left in him’

Arizona Diamondbacks left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel will be making his fourth start in a D-backs uniform on Tuesday.
1 month ago
Manager Torey Lovullo #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is thrown out of the game by home plate umpir...
Jake Anderson

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo reveals what he said in ejection vs. Braves

Not all ejections are created equal. Some are peculiar. And some are a little more justified, like D-backs manager Torey Lovullo's on Monday.
3 months ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on...
Jake Anderson

Suns GM believes Deandre Ayton will be back: ‘He’s a big part of what we do’

Phoenix Suns GM James Jones told Burns & Gambo on Wednesday that he believes Deandre Ayton will be back with the team next season.
2 months ago
Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Miami Marlins during the MLB game at Ch...
Jake Anderson

Torey Lovullo wants D-backs rookie Alek Thomas to focus on ‘his process’

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo wants rookie OF Alek Thomas to focus on what got him called up instead of results early on in his career.
3 months ago
Suns GM Ryan McDonough: ‘Earl (Watson) continued to stand out’