Igor Kokoskov and the Phoenix Suns have done it! They have snapped a franchise record 17-game losing streak with a win Monday against the Miami Heat. This is their first game since January 12th against Denver, a game where star player Devin Booker didn’t even play. A lot has transpired in this month and a half, players discussing (retweeting) their unhappiness with their role, trades that happened, and trades that didn’t. The pressure was building for the Suns, pressure that was going to swiftly result in the firing of head coach Igor Kokoskov.
The writing was on the wall: a franchise-record losing streak, players are regressing and failing to respond to Igor’s voice in the locker room. The Suns could fire coach Kokoskov and fans wouldn’t blink an eye. But here we are, the day after a much-needed morale-boosting victory, Igor is still the coach (last time I checked). A win has granted Igor Kokoskov more than a good trip back to Phoenix, it has given him time. I firmly believe that this win has solidified Igor’s position with the team…for the remainder of the season. However, if Monday was the Suns’ last win of the season, you can expect James Jones and Robert Sarver to continue searching for the next coach.
How can it be fixed?
The biggest thing that people will need to see in Igor Kokoskov will be his ability to incorporate rookie center Deandre Ayton into the offense. Deandre Ayton is now accustomed to the pace of play in the NBA. He can no longer go through games accruing points from offensive rebounds. Igor’s offense can be great with a little adjustment. An offense where the anchor is built on ball movement from the center position.
A 75% shooter from the free-throw line, Deandre Ayton can increase his points-per-game by 10 points. All he needs is 6-7 more touches in the paint. Once a defense respects that presence passes out to open shooters on the perimeter will occur naturally. Say goodbye to chucking up contested 3’s.
Keep a close eye on the teams competitiveness and Deandre Ayton’s involvement in the offense. If it continues to look the same, you can expect another new coach in the Valley.