Earl Watson has been named the Suns interim head coach and, although he has been compared to Lindsey Hunter by many, Earl Watson will have a card up his sleeve that Hunter never had during his short stint as interim head coach.
When I heard that Bob Hill had been hired to be Watson's lead assistant, my first reaction was... who? So I decided to do some research.
Bob never played in the NBA and actually had a lackluster college career which made him decide to go into coaching. His first job in the NBA was as an assistant coach with the Knicks from 1985 to 1987. During the 86-87 season, Hubie Brown left the Knicks 16 games into the season and Hill became the interim head coach for the rest of the year.
He went on from there to become an assistant with the Pacers and took over the head coaching position there when Dick Versace was fired mid-season in 1990. He was the Pacers' head coach until 1993 when he got fired. He spent the next season as an assistant at Orlando and then was hired by the San Antonio Spurs as their new head coach in 1994. He coached the Spurs for two full seasons and part of a third before getting fired after injuries to the team's two best players, David Robinson and Sean Elliot, caused the Spurs season to start down the toilet. That of course was the season that Pop took over in SA and the Spurs did the greatest tank in NBA history that resulted in them being able to draft Tim Duncan and... well, you all know the rest.
After that, Hill spent four years coaching at Fordham University between 1999 and 2003. That did not work out well and he was bought out of his 10 year contract by Fordham after 4 years.
Hill returned to the NBA in 2005 as an assistant at Seattle. He took over as head coach 30 games into the season and stayed on in that capacity until the end of the 2006-07 season when he was fired by the Sonics. He has not worked as a coach in the NBA since then.
His overall record as an NBA head coach is 312-293. Not great but at least it's a positive win/loss record.
Hill's history makes him a good mentor for Watson. Hill has coached both very good and very bad teams and also has the almost unique experience of taking over an NBA team at mid-season three times during his NBA coaching career. I can't say that the hiring of Hill will really have much of an impact on the rest of the Suns' season but it does tell me that the Suns aren't planning to just let Watson sink or swim on his own as they did Hunter.
They've thrown Watson at least a small life preserver in hiring Hill.