After news broke out that the Phoenix Suns signed Igor Kokoskov away from the Utah Jazz (where he is currently an assistant), speculation immediately swirled as to why the Serbian was tabbed by Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough for the part. You know, the Luka Doncic link. More on that in a minute.
The nearly six-year Suns executive has gone through a long list of head coaching candidates for weeks, which includes Mike Budenholzer (formerly of the Atlanta Hawks), Steve Clifford, and Jason Kidd.
That was all before ultimately deciding on the Serbian, making Kokoskov the first ever European-born head coach in the NBA. This is also his second stint with the team, having served as an assistant from 2008 to 2013, before moving to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, and now Utah — where he is presently hard at work trying to help the Jazz move to the Conference Finals.
Perhaps familiarity was the reason for the decision.
Another theory has to do with the Suns’ upcoming draft and who they are going to select. While draft pick positions are not set in stone yet (the lottery is set a few weeks from now), the Suns currently stand at number two over-all and with Arizona product DeAndre Ayton all but assured of going first, it is Slovenian teenager Luka Doncic that could very well go second. With Kokoskov being the current Slovenian national team head coach, put two and two together, and there may be a pattern here.
Adding more credence to that theory is the discovery by radio host Peter Edmiston, who found it odd that the Suns official website chose to go with such a curious photo to accompany the news of the announcement.
Probably just a big ol' coincidence the Phoenix Suns used this picture on their team website when describing Igor Kokoksov's time as Slovenian national team coach… pic.twitter.com/L285GxYSBH
— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) May 3, 2018