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Solar Flares - Open NBA/Suns Thread - On coaching opening, lotto luck, etc

This week, the Phoenix Suns will make significant progress on finding their new coach and, best of all, will finally know their exact draft position.

It's lotto week!

The last couple of weeks have provided Suns fans with next to zero news, despite this being one of the Suns' most important offseasons in franchise history. Clearly, new GM Ryan McDonough is not all about flash and sound bytes. He'd rather just pick the right people - coaches and players - to move this franchise forward.


Tuesday night, Suns fans will finally find out what all this angst for the past few years has brought on the Suns franchise. While it's just about random bouncing balls, fans will undoubtedly apply the results to some version of 'karma'. If the Suns lose ground (ie. pick 5-7), then the franchise is now cursed. If the Suns gain ground (ie. 1-3) then it's the basketball gods laughing at us since this is the worst Top-3 draft in years. This draft is heavy on depth but lacks any surefire superstars at the top.

For luck, the Suns are sending Lon Babby to the show.


In another lottery, the Suns are soon going to pick from a pile of up-and-coming assistant coaches to lead this team into the next few years. Expect the hire to be a guy who embraces analytics and is willing to take a job likely to produce 50-60 losses in the next 12 months. The coach will be growing with the team, much like Monty Williams in New Orleans (still respected despite horrific loss counts) and hopefully not like Mike Dunlap in Charlotte (fired after one season).

Rumor has it that the Suns want a coach in place for individual player workouts in prep for the draft, and the sooner the better. The problem with that is some of the best options - Brian Shaw (Indiana), Mike Budenholzer (Spurs), Lionel Hollins and Dave Joerger (Grizzlies) - are all coaching for at least 1-2 more weeks and possible right up until mere days before the draft.

An inquiry to Lon Babby about the timing of a hiring went unanswered, so we don't know if the Suns are willing to wait until mid-June to hire their next coach.

The hot assistants available at this moment include J.B. Bickerstaff and Kelvin Sampson (Rockets), Jeff Hornacek (Jazz), Quin Snyder (Russia/Lakers) and Steve Clifford (Lakers). Suns GM Ryan McDonough used to work with Rockets GM Daryl Morey, so you can expect some real talk between them about the two Rockets guys.

Will the Suns choose from that letter group, or wait patiently for the playoffs to end?

Will they surprise us with someone we haven't heard of?

Or will they keep Lindsey Hunter, who got an interview last week?

Stay tuned.


No word yet on the profile of pick the Suns want in June.

Smart money says that's because there's not a single untouchable position on the roster, leaving every prospect still on the Suns' board. And that likely won't change with the lottery on Tuesday night. The top picks are so interchangeable that we won't know who "won" the draft for at least a year, if not three.

If McDonough can pick out a future star like he did Rajon Rondo in 2006 (was drafted 21st but Celtics had him in the top 2), then we are in good shape. That's the real key to the draft. Have the draft position and player-evaluation talent to pick the best of the bunch.

No word of workouts in Phoenix, or even of favorites from the Combine last weekend. Heck, we don't even know who the Suns interviewed among the top talents.

Ok, I'm done rambling about absolutely nothing. No news is no news.

Your turn!

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