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Suns had no choice but to fire Hornacek

By: Tim Palladino

Jeff Hornacek finished second in Coach of the Year voting his first season with the Suns but lost the team midway through his third season and was fired.

Jeff Hornacek finished second in Coach of the Year voting his first season with the Suns but lost the team midway through his third season and was fired.

Before they even reached the All-Star break, the Phoenix Suns showed they could not take losing any more and fired their head coach Jeff Hornacek. Hornacek is the third coach to be fired already this season. All three teams are in different situations, but the reasons have all been the same. The Nets fired Lionel Hollins after a 10-27 start but because he lost the team’s support. The Cavaliers led the Eastern Conference when the fired David Blatt, but he lost the team. Hornacek lost the Suns and was losing.

Midway through Hornacek’s third season the Suns were just 14-35. They were doing even worse than last year when his team missed the playoffs with a 39-43 record. They were far from the 48-34 team he coach in his first year. It’s been a downward spiral and in two and a half year he went 101-112 with no postseason appearances.

That losing combined with the players no longer supporting him made it obvious he was going to be done. When players start speaking out against the coach there is no hiding that there are problems and changes need to be made.

Hornacek was seen as a coach who would bring greatness to Phoenix when he was hired. At the very least he was expected to make them a perennial playoff team. He finished second in Coach of the Year voting his first season and his players loved him. But it is surprising how fast times have changed. His players jumped ship. Why? That is still no very clear, but the team was not playing hard, they were losing and something had to be changed so the team made one.

Earl Watson, who was hired by Hornacek as an assistant on July 30, 2015, will serve as the team’s interim coach. He played 14 years in the NBA from 2001 to 2014 after being a second round pick by the Seattle SuperSonics out of UCLA. He was an assistant coach of the D-League’s Austin Spurs last year before joining the Suns this year.

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Tim Palladino

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