In the last 30 years, just three NBA head coaches have been fired during their first season as a non-interim head coach – Randy Ayers with the 76ers in 2004, Gar Heard with the Wizards in 2000 and Jerry Tarkanian with the Spurs in 1992
Chatter emerged Suns coach Igor Kokoskov could become the fourth.
Will Phoenix keep Kokoskov the rest of the season?
Suns acting general manager James Jones, via Arizona Sports 98.7:
Yes. We’re committed to Igor, and we’re committed to finishing the season out on a high note. We have room for improvement. That’s the challenge across the organization for us to improve upstairs as well as downstairs, on the court, off the court. So we’re going to push it. But Igor, like I said, it’s a tough job, but he’s up to the challenge.
Our stance is we need to evaluate what we do periodically, but more importantly to finish the season strong.
We support Igor and the staff, and we’ll continue to work together to try to push this forward.
Kokoskov will retake the hot seat this offseason. The 12-50 Suns are terrible and didn’t plan to be. The general manager who hired Kokoskov, Ryan McDonough, was fired before the season even began.
Phoenix’s problems go way above Kokoskov. The roster is lacking.
Good coaches might struggle under these circumstances. Even if he’s not a good coach, Kokoskov will probably improve if he spends more time as a head coach.
But Kokoskov has failed to impress this season. The Suns are awful offensively and defensively. They’re sloppy and undisciplined. Their chemistry has been awful. Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton are getting fed up.
The absence of clear faults by Kokoskov is not alone reason to keep him, not at this level. He hasn’t set himself apart positively. It might be unfair for him to be judged in this awful situation, but it’s the one Phoenix has.
Kokoskov could still gain traction the rest of this season. Signs of development and cohesion would stand out. Jones is apparently giving the coach this limited opportunity to grow on the job.
After that, Kokoskov’s future with the Suns is up in the air, subject to whomever is running their front office this summer.