Rookie head coach Earl Watson sounds a lot like a rookie NBA player.
He’s got big goals for his own future with the Phoenix Suns and big ideas for a team coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history. The first-year head coach went in depth on his own goals with The Luke and Paige Show podcast.
The 36-year-old sees his relative youth as an opportunity to become one of the great head coaches in the league.
“It’s a journey, it’s not a destination. You can’t just reside in success,” Watson said. “I see it as a great opportunity for, potentially one day, I want to be a part of one of the best groups to ever coach. Since I’m so young, I think that’s a reality for me.”
For those goals to become reality, Watson realizes turning Phoenix around isn’t a process. For him, building a culture and a winning team can’t take long.
It’s not just that his job could be on the line if the Suns don’t win soon. Watson isn’t going to use the team’s status as a rebuilding club as an excuse.
“Everyone wants to build something but it takes years,” he said. “I’m not that type of person to always extend my contract by saying I’m building. Coaches are great politicians in that way, you hear it all the time, it’s typical. The time is now, I’m young and maybe that’s the stubbornness in me. I have no patience.
“I want to be an NBA lifer and I want to be here for my tenure.”
He said it …
On being drafted by the Seattle Supersonics: “It didn’t move me. No contract moved me …. the only thing that moved me was when I signed my letter of intent with UCLA.”
On if he watches the NBA playoffs: “I’ve known Russ (Westbrook) since he was a kid. I knew Russ before UCLA just being in L.A. It’s cool to watch, cool to see.”
On how to stop Stephen Curry: “I think you can make him a volume shooter. Everyone gets caught up in how Golden State shoots threes. But the stat that no one talks about is how many passes they make per game — not assists. I guarantee it’s significantly more than any other team.”
On how he views leadership: “I hate titles to be honest with you. You need hierarchy if you have a group that’s not disciplined. But we want to have a disciplined culture.”
On one unique part of the Suns’ recent draft workouts: “We put in plays. I really want to see if you can remember a play. We put it in early and we make you run it at the end of practice.”
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