NBA Coaching Carousel: Who Will the Phoenix Suns Hire?
NBA COACHING CAROUSEL: WHO WILL THE PHOENIX SUNS HIRE – The Phoenix Suns moved on from Monty Williams after failing to reach the Western Conference Finals. The Kevin Durant, Deandre Ayton, Chris Paul, and Devin Booker core was expected to come out of the West and make a run at an NBA title.
Now, they are sitting at home and getting ready to watch the NBA Finals on television. Monty Williams was fired, and now Phoenix will head into an offseason that includes questions about Deandre Ayton and Chris Paul’s futures with the team.
As far as the coaching search goes, Phoenix dropped a final list of candidates on Tuesday night. Here is the list: Nick Nurse, Frank Vogel, Doc Rivers, Jordi Fernandez, and Kevin Young.
Mike Budenholzer and Ty Lue aren’t on the final list of candidates despite being rumored to have an interest. So, let’s rank the five candidates from bottom to top.
#5) Jordi Fernandez
Fernandez is a current assistant for the Sacramento Kings and an interesting name in the coaching cycle. He was the head coach for the Canton Charge in the G League, then was an assistant with the Denver Nuggets before joining Mike Brown’s staff. He was also with the Cleveland Cavaliers for five years as a player development, so he has a lot of experience for a guy that is just 40 years old.
Fernandez is a question mark, but him even being a finalist shows how well-regarded he is in the NBA circles.
#4) Doc Rivers
The former Philadelphia 76ers head coach is now reportedly a finalist for the Suns job. On one hand, hiring Rivers is a somewhat easy choice given his vast experience and leadership. On the other hand, Rivers’ teams have choked down the stretch again and again in the playoffs, with the 76ers 3-2 collapse being the latest example.
Would Rivers be able to get the most out of Booker and Durant and bring an NBA title to Phoenix? I wouldn’t count on it, and if it wasn’t for his lofty experience, he wouldn’t even be fourth on this list.
#3) Frank Vogel
The former Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and Los Angeles Lakers head coach is gaining interest during this coaching cycle. He had a tough job with the Lakers, but they won the NBA title in the Bubble in the most difficult of circumstances. He will always have that, and he did a terrific job coaching during that run with a roster that wasn’t the best by any means.
It would be quite something for Vogel to go from coaching LeBron James and Anthony Davis to coaching Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
#2) Kevin Young
The Suns do have an in-house option, and a pretty decent one, at that. Young spent time as a head coach in the G League before coming to the 76ers as an assistant a few years back. He spent the last couple of seasons on Monty Williams’ bench, and he has even gained support from a number of Phoenix players, as Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report mentioned:
“Kevin Young, an associate head coach under Williams, will interview with the Suns as early as next week, sources say. Young appears to have the backing of many Suns’ players.”
Hiring a first-time NBA head coach might be risky, but then again, it might be a better choice than a retread, plus the players and organization already are familiar with him.
#1) Nick Nurse
Once again, Nick Nurse is entrenched in Suns rumors. At this point, it would be surprising if the former Toronto Raptors head coach did not land one of the three jobs. To be honest, he has his choice of the three, or at least we could assume.
Nurse has experience, an NBA title, and is a well-respected name around the league. The Suns might be losing out on Nurse, especially with the Bucks narrowing down their list to three. Still, Nurse has to be the favorite for all three jobs, given his experience.