In Talking Stick Resort Arena, floor zero is where the practice court is but also where most of their basketball operations take place. Coaching and training staffs run this area, but that overhaul has begun rapidly under the Suns’ new GM James Jones.
Marc Stein of The New York Times reported Monday evening that Phoenix was losing a true mainstay on floor zero, but also was likely to gain one from the college ranks. Longtime head trainer Aaron Nelson — who worked over two decades within the organization — has reunited with former Suns executive David Griffin in New Orleans, while Gonzaga assistant Riccardo Fois seems on his way to the Valley.
The Suns don't know the identity of their next coach but league sources say they are closing in on the hiring of Gonzaga's Riccardo Fois to take on a top player development role in Phoenix— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 30, 2019
Also out of Phoenix: League sources say that the Pelicans have successfully recruited noted Suns athletic trainer Aaron Nelson to make the move to New Orleans— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) April 30, 2019
The last few seasons have surprisingly been plagued by injuries for Phoenix, but back in the glory days featuring veterans like Steve Nash and Grant Hill, Nelson was a fixture in helping revive players’ careers who had injury history. This goes with the idea Jones has about stripping the franchise down to the studs and resetting entirely from the bottom up around their young core.
Fois’ role during his four years on Mark Few’s staff at Gonzaga was Coordinator of Analytics. This job typically entails compiling data and making it useful for the coaching staff and players.
This is a step in the right direction as analytics obviously can’t be ignored in today’s NBA. It also comes potentially as a reset in the department following the departure of Director of Basketball Analytics and Technology Jake Loos.
Jones is going out of his way to reshape the Suns to his vision, as far as what he believes can help turn things back to a winning environment.
Expect to see more moves as Phoenix continues to reshape their organization amidst a decade-long playoff drought.