Early Monday morning, the Suns made it official that they have parted ways with their 16th head coach in franchise history.
In just over two seasons as head coach of the Suns, Jeff Hornacek’s teams compiled a 101-112 (.474) record including the hot start in year one in 2013-14 where they went 48-34 and finished just outside the playoffs.
For some sad reason, the firing of Hornacek was inevitable even before the team severely struggled to this point with the fact that he was a lame duck coach coming in.
The trend of firing coaches in sports today is becoming an embarrassment. Sure some deserve it more than others but in the NBA especially, Suns fans know first hand it takes more than two years and change to turn around a franchise. If an organization can’t do so with personnel, how can a coach do it then? If there isn’t a superstar, there needs to be consistency, stability and a culture. The Spurs have been the model of that even in the years they haven’t competed for a title during their run. Right now with the Suns between the coaches and the number of players who have been acquired and traded over the years, there has been no consistently or stability to create anything remotely close to a culture.
And speaking of culture, how about the fact that Markieff Morris is still a Sun and Hornacek is not. At this point, it’s addition by subtraction as it pertains to Morris, not what kind of value you can get in return.
It is my hope that for the Suns sake, history repeats itself. Not with firing coaches but with Jeff Hornacek specifically. As a player, he was dealt from the organization for Charles Barkley who in the end, brought the Suns more success than the team had seen in its history at that point. Robert Sarver and company can only hope that cutting ties with Hornacek once again, this time as a coach, is replaced by someone who brings the team back to the top of the NBA.
As someone who is born and raised in Phoenix and as someone that takes pride in the history of the franchise, I will choose to remember Jeff Hornacek as the player who for six years, made the Suns a contender in the west after getting drafted out of Iowa State. Sure the notion of his time as a coach will come up and it and won’t be a great memory. But what Hornacek has brought to the organization overall far outweighs what he has not.
As for the Suns going forward, whether or not they land Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield or Kris Dunn as a result of this season, the Suns need to find the guy as head coach who can be counted on to dig them out of the hard times with all this youth and be given time to do so. Two years and change will not do that and will only keep this franchise is purgatory.