Ryan McDonough, by all accounts, had a smashing debut yesterday in his press conference and later radio interviews. He is a no-nonsense, serious, analytical guy who has a clear vision of his coaching and front office structure going forward. He knows what he wants.
And what he wants doesn't fit the skill sets of Grant Hill, Lindsey Hunter or Michael Beasley.
"On my staff, I told Lon and Robert I don't want specialists," he said, regarding what he wants in the front office with him. "What I generally prefer is a few guys that are master evaluators who know all the players, who can compare a guy who just got bought out in Europe to a guy who is available in the D-league to an NBA free agent who's at home working out. I want my top guys who can do that, and tell me who the best players are."
Grant Hill has been only a player in the NBA since graduating college. He's not a scouting junkie. Ryan McDonough seems to value a small team of guys who know it all, and have seen it all. He wants guys whose lives are all about video and travel to watch players face to face. Does that sound like Grant Hill, in the here and now, to you? Me neither.
You could say the Suns need better communication, and who's better than Hill at that? Well, after listening to McDonough, who got a communications degree, whose father was a journalist and whose brother is a TV guy, we don't need a mouthpiece who isn't the decision maker any more.
Ryan McDonough and the new coach look to be the faces of this franchise.
Grant Hill could fill a Mark West role, or an Alvan Adams role. They've been with the organization in various front office roles for years. But would Grant Hill be best served in a such a supporting, background role? Probably not.
While Hunter is still up for consideration, he doesn't appear to have the complete profile that Ryan McDonough wants in a head coach.
"Whether that's adjusted plus/minus, emphasizing corner threes, the value of two-for-ones," McDonough said about a future coach. "Those are just a few of the things we're going to ask our head coaching candidates about during the coaching search and I'm positive that the next coach of the Suns will understand the value of all those things."
Anyone who listened to Lindsey Hunter last spring, which I did a LOT, knows that Lindsey and analytics are not lifelong buddies.
"We are looking for a guys who's a leader," McDonough said, citing character and principle. "A guy who can develop players.
This might be Hunter, but that's still a stretch.
"Someone who's a good communicator. Someone who can embrace the rich tradition and history with the Suns, communicate our vision to the fans, to the media and all the people in the organization."
Hunter communicated, but not that well. He wasn't comfortable behind a mic, or sitting in his office with the press around him. It seems the Suns want a much better communicator this time.
While Hunter potentially has the leadership qualities that McDonough wants, the hard-working qualities, the toughness, Hunter just doesn't have the appreciation for analytics and the communication skills to fit McDonough's perfect profile.
And back to Grant Hill for a moment, you can write him off the list too. Hill's a wonderful communicater but he's not a coach, and McDonough already has a long list of actual, proven coaches at his disposal.
Emphasizing corner threes. Smart offense. Taking advantage of two-for-ones. Cutting edge analytics that prove theories and help you identify value that's not all about points and rebounds. Drafting Rondo at #21. Drafting Bradley at #19. Drafting Sullinger in the 20s.
How will Michael Beasley stack up to that scrutiny? Not well, I wager.
For now, McDonough is being diplomatic. And possibly also not killing Beasley's potential trade value, if there is any.
"With Michael, he's a talented player, " McDonough said on KTAR yesterday. "I've watched him for a long time. I remember seeing him in 2004 in Adidas camp. He was a child prodigy.
"He still has a lot of ability, but he has some maturing to do. I've seen him dominate at the high school level, at the college level at Kansas State. He has some growing to do. The new head coach and I get will get to try to have him see the value of hard work and hopefully he learns from some of those mistakes."
Being diplomatic. But also saying they have to investigate the allegations against him. Meaning, they aren't poo-pooing these rumors. The Suns are allowing the process to play itself out without defending Beasley in the meantime. It is what it is, and what it will be.
Doesn't bode well for Beasley's future, in my opinion.