Archive for June 27th, 2018

Suns announce assistant coaching staff

The Phoenix Suns today announced Head Coach Igor Kokoskov’s coaching staff, naming Joe Prunty, Corliss Williamson, Jamelle McMillan and Jason Staudt assistant coaches, Cody Toppert director of player development and Devin Smith player development coach.

The Suns have also added Alex Zampier as head video coordinator and retained Brandon Rosenthal as assistant video coordinator.

“Proudly, I would like to announce the Suns’ coaching staff is complete,” said Kokoškov. “Our main criteria was to find high character people who will bring positive energy and enthusiasm to the team day in and day out. I strongly believe that we have extraordinary teachers of the game who are capable of helping our talented team grow. As a staff we believe that we control our own preparation, so we will give our best to prepare ourselves and our team to play on the highest possible level, one game at a time.”

Bringing 22 years of experience in the NBA to Phoenix, Prunty joins the Suns after most recently working as interim head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Prunty went 21-16 over the final 37 games of the season at the helm of the Bucks before pushing the Celtics to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. He began 2017-18 as an assistant coach, his fourth season with Milwaukee which also included 17 games as interim head coach in 2015-16.

Williamson joins the Suns following two seasons as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic (2016-2018), and he has also worked three seasons as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings (2013-2016). Before joining the NBA coaching ranks, Williamson was head coach at the University of Central Arkansas for three seasons from 2010-2013. His coaching career began with three years at Arkansas Baptist College, the first two as an assistant before serving as head coach during the 2009-10 season.

A 12-year NBA veteran as a player, “Big Nasty” averaged 11.1 points on 49.0 percent shooting plus 3.9 rebounds in 822 career games with Sacramento (1995-2000; 2005-2007), the Toronto Raptors (2000-01), Detroit (2001-2004) and the Philadelphia 76ers (2004-05). In 2003-04, Kokoškov was an assistant coach on Hall of Famer Larry Brown’s coaching staff in Detroit while Williamson averaged 9.5 points on 50.5 percent shooting to help the Pistons win the 2004 NBA Championship. Over the 12 seasons that comprised Williamson’s career, no NBA player totaled more points when coming off the bench and he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award with the Pistons in 2001-02.

McMillan joins the Suns following six seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans (2012-2018), serving as one of the NBA’s youngest assistant coaches in his final two seasons with the Pelicans. The 29-year-old began with the Pelicans (then the Hornets) as a coaching intern in 2012 before working as a player development coach with the team for three seasons from 2013-2016. While a member of Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff, McMillan served as the Pelicans’ head coach at NBA Summer League 2017 in Las Vegas.

Staudt joins the Suns after most recently spending the 2017-18 season as Orlando’s pro personnel scout. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in various positions with five different NBA teams. Prior to his most recent tenure with the Magic, Staudt served as advance scout for Portland (2016-17) and the Houston Rockets (2012-2016). He spent seven seasons as video coordinator for Milwaukee from 2005-2012, which followed a brief stretch as an advance scout for Cleveland. Staudt began his NBA career as an intern with the Magic in 2001, elevating to video coordinator and advance scout in three seasons during his first tenure with Orlando before spending one season as an assistant coach with the Idaho Stampede (2004-05), then of the CBA.

Toppert remains in the Suns organization after spending the 2017-18 season as head coach of the team’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns. Under Toppert, the NAZ Suns led the G League with five GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, in addition to leading the league in three-point makes, ranking second in scoring and winning a team-record 23 games.

Smith joins the coaching ranks following a decorated playing career overseas, spending his final six seasons with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv where he played a key role in the club’s 2014 EuroLeague Championship. An All-EuroLeague Second Team selection in 2014-15, he helped Maccabi to two Israeli League titles, six Israeli Cups and the 2012 Adriatic League crown, in addition to the 2014 EuroLeague title. Smith retired in 2017, leaving Maccabi ranked ninth in club history in scoring in European competitions with 1,539 points, and he was inducted into Maccabi’s Hall of Fame earlier this year. Smith was a teammate of Suns forward Dragan Bender with Maccabi for the 2015-16 season.

The Los Angeles Lakers have extended a qualifying offer to forward Julius Randle, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

By extending the qualifying offer, Randle becomes a restricted free agent.

According to the LA Times, the offer is worth $5.6 million. And per the paper, “Randle will count for slightly less than $12.5 million against the Lakers’ salary cap.”

Drafted seventh overall by the Lakers in the 2014 NBA Draft, Randle owns career averages of 13.5 points (.493 FG%), 8.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 238 games (182 starts) for Los Angeles. Randle finished 10th in the NBA in field goal percentage last season, shooting 55.8 percent from the floor. The University of Kentucky product played all 82 games (49 starts) in 2017-18, averaging a career-best 16.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that assistant coach Becky Hammon has been promoted. Hammon fills the position vacated by James Borrego who was named head coach of the Charlotte Hornets on May 10.

According to the San Antonio Express News, “although the Spurs do not rank their assistants, the move essentially makes her the team’s No. 3 bench assistant behind Ettore Messina and Ime Udoka.”

Hammon has served as an assistant on the Spurs coaching staff since 2014, following a 16-year career in the WNBA. She served as head coach of the Spurs Las Vegas Summer League teams in 2015 and 2016, guiding the 2015 squad to the Summer League championship.

Named one of the WNBA’s Top20@20, an honor given to the WNBA’s 20 greatest and most influential players in the league’s 20-year history, Hammon played eight seasons for the San Antonio Stars (2007-14) and eight seasons for the New York Liberty (1999-2006). A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon ranks ninth in league history in points (5,841), third in three-point field goals made (829), fifth in assists (1,708) and 10th in games played (450).

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