Kokoškov appointed as a head coach in Phoenix, will Luka Dončić follow?
Igor Kokoškov has been appointed as a new head coach of Phoenix Suns after serving as an assistant manager at Utah Jazz. With this, he has written history, as the first coach of an NBA team born outside of USA.
Kokoškov, born in 1971 in Serbia (former Yugoslavia) has had a rich coaching history, starting as a coach at OKK Beograd back in 1992. With his exceptional coaching skills, he is widely known as a great strategist. He first appeared in the NBA as an assistant coach at LA Clippers in 2000, where he stayed for 3 years then left to be an assistant coach at Pistons for next 5 years. Throughout his coaching history he was an assistant in; Serbia and Montenegro national team, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando magic and most recent Utah Jazz. In addition, he coached Georgia in 2008-2015 and Slovenia from 2016-2017. As far as his assistant-coach career goes, he won NBA championship in 2004 with Detroit Pistons and NBA All-Star Game back in 2006.
One of the most memorable moments as the head coach, was surely in 2017 when he lead Slovenian national team to the title of European champions. That was an exceptional result and only proved Kokoškov coaching skills, which did not go unnoticed by NBA teams. To be fair, he was considered one of the best assistant coaches even before that, but this only proved what we already knew.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough met with Kokoškov in Huston before the Sunday Game 1and quickly made an offer to him. It’s no secret Suns are struggling at the moment, finishing NBA season with 21-61 record. Something needs to be changed, so they decided to start rebuilding the team, starting with the head coach and building a roster around Devin Booker.
Kokoškov has shown many qualities at Utah Jazz, as credited by head coach Quin Snyder as well as general manager Dennis Lindsey. Of course as mentioned before he has achieved a surprising result in 2017 EuroBasket with Slovenian national team, leading this small country to the title with Goran Dragić (Miami Heat) and Luka Dončić who is considered to be top 3 picks in the upcoming NBA draft.
Many people speculate Suns picking Luka Doncic in the NBA draft. He has proven his worth in the EuroBasket as well as a great player in Real Madrid. Kokoškov has said many times before he sees Dončić as an NBA superstar and his knowledge about this youngster would surely help them both is Dončić is in the end picked by Suns. To be fair I see this happening. Dončić would be an exceptional addition to the team and Kokoškov knows it.