CBSSports.com Adds Praise to Award for Hornacek
Jeff Hornacek’s reaction to winning Western Conference Coach of the Month was fairly predictable. Gracious, but unwilling to let himself soak in success.
The award, after all, was for December. It’s now January, and he’s busy making sure his team’s recent highs aren’t countered by future lows.
That and, according to Hornacek, the award isn’t as individual as it sounds.
“It’s really a team award,” he said. “I didn’t shoot any baskets. I didn’t get any rebounds. I didn’t get any assists.”
That’s true, but what he has done is earning league-wide praise around the league. Matt Moore of CBSSports.com featured Hornacek the same day he won the award (Thursday), crediting the rookie head coach for being “calm, cool and collected.”
The man behind Phoenix's surprising run this season acts like he doesn't have a care in the world. Jeff Hornacek may be the most laid back NBA coach you're going to find. He speaks with an easy smile on his face, like a guy who happened into a comfortable job he can enjoy. That's a pretty long walk from the hellacious pressure cooker that warps men's hairlines and weathers their faces…
But while other first-time head coaches have struggled, Hornacek has accomplished that rare feat -- he's truly gotten through to their players. Talk to the Suns and you can't really get away from the rave reviews they provide.
The player reviews Moore alludes to go as far back as summer league, when current players such as the Morris twins, Archie Goodwin and Dionte Christmas were left impressed by his coach-to-player communication.
There’s as much technicality as there is personality to Hornacek, however, a point Moore makes with a specific example of an offseason coaching tweak.
One adjustment Hornacek discussed was how when looking at the Suns' dreadful offense in 2013 (Phoenix ranked 29th in points per possession via Basketball-Reference.com), the coaching staff could see that the power forwards were clogged at the elbow, preventing Dragic and the other point guards from attacking. So immediately the staff set to work in moving Markieff Morris, the surprising young star for the team, down low. The result has been better work on the offensive glass, more efficiency from Morris, and more room for Dragic and Bledsoe to create.