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‘Business as usual’: Ryan McDonough blames the GM who built the Suns roster for Igor’s failure

His roster was so bad that four rookies had to be part of the regular rotation!

Phoenix Suns Introduce 2018 Draft Picks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former Phoenix Suns general manager, Ryan McDonough, has a new radio show on SiriusXM and made some comments on the firing of the last coach he hired, Igor Kokoskov.

“Business as usual with the Suns, unfortunately,” McDonough said.

“Obviously I’m a little biased with that opinion,” McDonough said, who had been the Suns GM for five seasons (six offseasons) before being fired by telephone just before the season last fall.

He talked of Igor being a great coach, leading Slovenia to their first ever European Championship “led by the great Goran Dragic and the young phenom Luka Doncic”.

Let’s recall McDonough didn’t treat Dragic as “great” when he was in Phoenix. It was McDonough who inherited Dragic when he took over in 2013 and kicked Dragic to the curb a year later when he signed Isaiah Thomas (trade, RFA) and Eric Bledsoe (re-sign as RFA) to run more point duties, pushing Dragic to the small forward position and into a trade demand after which McDonough famously talked up Brandon Knight as the “best player coming or going”.

It was also McDonough who homed in on Deandre Ayton as the best player to take with the top overall draft pick ahead of “young phenom” Doncic, despite having just hired Igor Kokoskov and in desperate need of a point guard.

And why did he need a point guard so bad? Oh yeah, it was McDonough who cycled through a number of point guards only to alienate them before trade demands or super-bad play forced them out of Phoenix. All of Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas, Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight left the keep on a flaming wagon with one finger up at the organization on their way out.

Business as usual indeed.

And who did McDonough give to his great coach as a point guard to run his complex, pass-oriented offense after six years of team building to shape and reshape the roster into something that could grow into a winner?

  • A minimum salary combo guard who’d never run an offense more than one year in life, coming off a devastating ankle injury that was sure to require another year to fully heal
  • A second-round rookie who has never played point guard, and hadn’t even played competitive basketball in over a year
  • Another second-round rookie who had only been a point guard one year in the lower levels of the French league.

And how was the rest of McDonough’s sixth roster constructed? A checked-out mercenary, a washed-up power forward, a pair of rookies, and a budding but still-learning star shooting guard. The bench? Loaded with players no one else would put in their rotations.

That’s it. That’s how McDonough set up Igor for success.

“If you get fired 11 months after you got hired, and had a team full of young players, you probably didn’t have a great opportunity to develop those players and maximize their development.”

Maybe take a bit of that blame on yourself, Ryan.

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