20120424_jla_ai4_237

Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations said that the Suns had lost their way recently, and had not properly respected their rich history in recent years. They may be correcting that mistake in a big way.

Effort had been made to turn a new corner after Amare Stoudemire left in 2010. Steve Nash got a two-year tribute tour with a ragtag Suns team that failed to make the playoffs in his last two years in the Valley. Then after Nash left, the Suns hit rock bottom, all while divesting themselves of many great names and personalities that made the franchise one of the models of the NBA.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns may be on the verge of taking a huge feel-good step back into the past by following Suns tradition and hiring a former player to lead the troops into the future. Dick Van Arsdale did it in 1987 for 26 games. Paul Westphal did it from 1992-1996. Then Danny Ainge for parts of three seasons, after only 13 games on the bench. Then Frank Johnson.

And now maybe Jeff Hornacek, who was drafted by the Suns at the dawn of the other blackest period of their history, will lead the Suns into the dawn once again.

One of the Phoenix Suns' popular former players - Jeff Hornacek - has emerged as the frontrunner for the franchise's head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek is the leading candidate to become the Suns' new head coach. (USA Today Sports)An assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, Hornacek met with new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and president Lon Babby in the past week in Phoenix.

No offer has yet been extended to Hornacek, but the Suns' search process could be completed within the next week, league sources said.

He was an unheralded second-round pick who made himself into a player, and then an All-Star, and was traded to acquire one of the brightest Suns of all time: Charles Barkley. Hornacek went on to play many great years with the Utah Jazz.

I do admit some surprise here. I thought the Suns would wait until more coaches became available as the playoffs wound down. Brian Shaw, Mike Budenholzer, Dave Joerger, Lionel Hollins. All good candidates with much longer pedigrees as coaches in the NBA.

Hornacek has only two years as a full-time NBA assistant after consulting for a few years before that. The Suns dallied in hiring Hornacek as far back as 2004, but at the time he had no experience and wanted to watch his kids graduate high school before committing to a full time coaching gig.

Now maybe one of the most popular Suns of all time will come home to shepherd a new/old era.

Update from Gambo, who has the Suns in his back pocket:

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Poll
Would this be the right hire?

  78 votes | Results

20120424_jla_ai4_237

Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations said that the Suns had lost their way recently, and had not properly respected their rich history in recent years. They may be correcting that mistake in a big way.

Effort had been made to turn a new corner after Amare Stoudemire left in 2010. Steve Nash got a two-year tribute tour with a ragtag Suns team that failed to make the playoffs in his last two years in the Valley. Then after Nash left, the Suns hit rock bottom, all while divesting themselves of many great names and personalities that made the franchise one of the models of the NBA.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns may be on the verge of taking a huge feel-good step back into the past by following Suns tradition and hiring a former player to lead the troops into the future. Dick Van Arsdale did it in 1987 for 26 games. Paul Westphal did it from 1992-1996. Then Danny Ainge for parts of three seasons, after only 13 games on the bench. Then Frank Johnson.

And now maybe Jeff Hornacek, who was drafted by the Suns at the dawn of the other blackest period of their history, will lead the Suns into the dawn once again.

One of the Phoenix Suns' popular former players - Jeff Hornacek - has emerged as the frontrunner for the franchise's head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek is the leading candidate to become the Suns' new head coach. (USA Today Sports)An assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, Hornacek met with new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and president Lon Babby in the past week in Phoenix.

No offer has yet been extended to Hornacek, but the Suns' search process could be completed within the next week, league sources said.

He was an unheralded second-round pick who made himself into a player, and then an All-Star, and was traded to acquire one of the brightest Suns of all time: Charles Barkley. Hornacek went on to play many great years with the Utah Jazz.

I do admit some surprise here. I thought the Suns would wait until more coaches became available as the playoffs wound down. Brian Shaw, Mike Budenholzer, Dave Joerger, Lionel Hollins. All good candidates with much longer pedigrees as coaches in the NBA.

Hornacek has only two years as a full-time NBA assistant after consulting for a few years before that. The Suns dallied in hiring Hornacek as far back as 2004, but at the time he had no experience and wanted to watch his kids graduate high school before committing to a full time coaching gig.

Now maybe one of the most popular Suns of all time will come home to shepherd a new/old era.

Update from Gambo, who has the Suns in his back pocket:

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Picture_2_medium

Poll
Would this be the right hire?

  223 votes | Results

20120424_jla_ai4_237

Update: Per Paul Coro, it's definitely happening: Jeff Hornacek is returning to the Valley to coach the Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations said that the Suns had lost their way recently, and had not properly respected their rich history in recent years. They may be correcting that mistake in a big way.

Effort had been made to turn a new corner after Amare Stoudemire left in 2010. Steve Nash got a two-year tribute tour with a ragtag Suns team that failed to make the playoffs in his last two years in the Valley. Then after Nash left, the Suns hit rock bottom, all while divesting themselves of many great names and personalities that made the franchise one of the models of the NBA.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns may be on the verge of taking a huge feel-good step back into the past by following Suns tradition and hiring a former player to lead the troops into the future. Dick Van Arsdale did it in 1987 for 26 games. Paul Westphal did it from 1992-1996. Then Danny Ainge for parts of three seasons, after only 13 games on the bench. Then Frank Johnson.

And now maybe Jeff Hornacek, who was drafted by the Suns at the dawn of the other blackest period of their history, will lead the Suns into the dawn once again.

One of the Phoenix Suns' popular former players - Jeff Hornacek - has emerged as the frontrunner for the franchise's head coaching job, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Jazz assistant Jeff Hornacek is the leading candidate to become the Suns' new head coach. (USA Today Sports)An assistant coach with the Utah Jazz, Hornacek met with new Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and president Lon Babby in the past week in Phoenix.

No offer has yet been extended to Hornacek, but the Suns' search process could be completed within the next week, league sources said.

He was an unheralded second-round pick who made himself into a player, and then an All-Star, and was traded to acquire one of the brightest Suns of all time: Charles Barkley. Hornacek went on to play many great years with the Utah Jazz.

I do admit some surprise here. I thought the Suns would wait until more coaches became available as the playoffs wound down. Brian Shaw, Mike Budenholzer, Dave Joerger, Lionel Hollins. All good candidates with much longer pedigrees as coaches in the NBA.

Hornacek has only two years as a full-time NBA assistant after consulting for a few years before that. The Suns dallied in hiring Hornacek as far back as 2004, but at the time he had no experience and wanted to watch his kids graduate high school before committing to a full time coaching gig.

Now maybe one of the most popular Suns of all time will come home to shepherd a new/old era.

Update from Gambo, who has the Suns in his back pocket:

Picture_1_medium

Picture_2_medium

Poll
Would this be the right hire?

  543 votes | Results

20130327_lbm_ai4_218

Judging Garrett based on his playing time for the Suns

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Diante didn't exactly cement himself as a NBA player in his rookie season. In fact, he did much the opposite. The most glaring deficiency is his overall shooting ability. Garrett ranked 434th in eFG% out of 469 players that stepped on a NBA court last season. When factoring in that 19 of the 36 players below Garrett played less than 60 minutes the entire season it becomes readily apparent that he was one of the most atrocious shooters in the league.

The next area of infamy is the turnovers per 36 minutes. Garrett averaged 3.9, which slotted him as 16th worst in the league. Of the 15 somehow worse than him only three played more minutes.

Not all of this section consists of me making denigrating remarks about Garrett's game, though. Diante did average 7.5 assists per 36, which was good enough for 19th in the league. Only one player ahead of him played less minutes on the season, so this makes Garrett somewhat of an outlier. Interestingly enough, the Suns had three players in the top 23 in assists per 36 - Goran Dragic 7.9, Garret 7.5 and Kendall Marshall 7.3 - which contradicts the prevailing sentiment that the Suns lack of shooting was holding their point guards back.

What about thievery? Diante is morally reprehensible. His 2.4 per 36 ranks him 7th in the NBA. The top three in the league played a combined 65 minutes. The other three are Ricky Rubio, Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe.

So Garrett is one of the worst players in the league at shooting and taking care of the ball, but in the ranks of the elite at distributing and burglary. Is the chasmic difference startling? Not so much. The sample size is still microscopic enough there is no way to confirm these as definite trends. It is somewhat interesting to see these areas at such opposite ends of the spectrum, though.

Grade: C-

Judging Garrett based on his backcourt bench cohort

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Neither of these guys had stellar years. While Kendall's bemoaned shooting woes placed him 12th in eFG% among Suns this season, Diante managed to finish dead last (16). In WS/36 Marshall ranks 12th again while Garrett once again is in the caboose.

Surprisingly, Garrett beats out Marshall in his one plus level skill (assists). Diante also shows his more diverse skill set with the edge in rebounding and steals.

While I give Kendall the slight nod among the rookies, I think Marshall clearly distances himself by virtue of being nearly three years younger than Garrett.

Grade: D+

Judging Garrett based on his stints with the Bakersfield Jam

Garrett excelled in his role for the Jam. He averaged 17.3 points (49.1% FG) and 7.3 assists in eight regular season appearances. He even made 13-21 three point attempts and 17-21 free throws, suggesting that his NBA numbers may not be entirely reflective of his ability. Is he awestruck or just unable to get similar looks at the highest level. Free throw shooting should be static, so maybe it's a case of the former...

His playoff numbers were even better as he averaged 21.0 points (50% FG), 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds in two games. Turnovers were still an issue for Garrett, however, as he averaged 3.0 per game over his 10 total appearances.

Garrett is eminently qualified as a D-Leaguer, but his ability to be productive as a pro is very suspect.

Grade: A-

Overall Grade: C

Garrett started the season as a fourth string rookie point guard who snuck onto the roster and played like one. He shouldn't have been better than third stringer Marshall, though he was close. He didn't do anything to make a case for an expanded role, but also fared well enough with the Jam to maintain a lambent glimmer of future potential. With an expected roster shake up it is unlikely that Garrett will return to the Suns as an end of the bench security guard, but hopefully he hasn't played himself out of the league. He will turn 25 at the start of next season and that's starting to get up there in terms of unproven prospects. I believe that Garrett met his expectations, but those expectations were practically non-existent.

Strengths Oladipo has two qualities which may be the best in the draft: his motor and his defense. Victor plays at a much faster pace than every player he shares the court with. On both ends of the...

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