As the NBA Draft quickly approaches, less than two weeks now, the Phoenix Suns still need to fill out the rest of their coaching staff. Well, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, Phoenix has capped off their hirings by adding two more with European connections.
Jason Staudt will join the Suns coaching staff as an assistant coach and Devin Smith as a player development coach.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) June 11, 2018
Outside of Corliss Williamson, who played under Kokoskov in Detroit when they won it all in 2004, all of the recent hires by Phoenix point toward them implementing the European style of basketball General Manager Ryan McDonough and Vice President of Basketball Operations James Jones have alluded to before.
As it relates to Staudt, he knows Kokoskov back from their time together with the Georgia National Team. Staudt was an assistant under Kokoskov before joining the Portland Trail Blazers as an advanced scout. Last season, Staudt was in Orlando alongside Williamson as a pro personnel scout.
Meanwhile, Smith’s background is interesting. After going undrafted in 2005, Smith went overseas and carved out an established career for himself. Playing for six teams over his 12-year career, which included six years at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Smith is a 4-time champion when adding up EuroLeague, Adriatic and Israeli Super League stints.
With the Maccabi Tel Aviv connection, Smith actually was a teammate of Dragan Bender’s for three years (2014-2016), so he might be an insight into how to properly develop him. Smith’s no-nonsense attitude will also fit well alongside Williamson, who seem to be the ones prioritizing on player development (Williamson with bigs, Smith is still unknown).
Kokoskov — now flanked by Prunty, Staudt, Williamson and Smith — looks set to begin his journey as head coach of the Suns with his preferred staff now on board.