Hornacek Adds Another Title to Resume
Jeff Hornacek is no stranger to working hard before and after the draft to make an impact on the NBA. He had to do it back in the summer of 1986 in an attempt to make the Suns’ roster as the 46th overall pick in the draft and the team’s fourth pick overall of the day. History seems to be repeating itself in Hornacek’s first summer as head coach of the Suns, as well.
Since the day he was hired, Hornacek has been moving faster than the Cotton Express on the break. He has had press conferences, media interviews and interviews with candidates on his staff. He’s also been busy helping new General Manager Ryan McDonough prepare for the draft by running pre-draft workouts with the top prospects from around college basketball. It may seem like a small thing, but it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“I liked how he was interactive,” said Texas A&M guard Elston Turner Jr. “This was the first workout where the actual head coach was directing the drills and actually in the gym watching and interacting with the guys. That’s something us players really like to see.”
Hornacek’s offseason efforts won’t stop there, though. He will be spending part of his July in Las Vegas. While that sounds like fun for most of us, it’ll be all business for the first-year head coach as he’ll be coaching the Suns’ entrant in the Vegas Summer League.
“I am,” Hornacek said when asked if he’ll be coaching in July. “I’ve obviously watched these guys on tape, I scouted against the Suns when I was with the Jazz. I’ve seen them play plenty of times, but to see them live and hands on, and to start the coaching process in the summer, I’m glad to do it. I’m glad those guys are wanting to do it so we can start putting some things in.”
The question is, just how much can Hornacek start to implement with a roster that will likely consist of Kendall Marshall, the Morris brothers -- or as we like to call them, the Morri -- three rookies and possibly P.J. Tucker with minimal practice time?
“Obviously you only have three days of practice and then they basically go play, so it has to be very simplified,” Hornacek explained. “We want to see how they play, but we want to emphasize the team work. No matter what we run, even if it’s simple, we want to see them play as a team and play hard defensively. That’s the start of it.”
It’s also the start of what Hornacek hopes is a productive first year to his first year at the helm of the Suns. If history can repeat itself, it’ll be the second time he turns an offseason of hard work into the start of a good career in Phoenix. Luckily for him, it’s much harder to be traded as a coach than it was as a player.