I Hate Columns Like This! So Far Fetched!

Bordow: Byron Scott should be atop Suns’ list

Scott Bordow

courtesy: East Valley Tribune

There is one coach out there for Steve Kerr, one coach who is available and would be a home-run choice for the Phoenix Suns:

Byron Scott.

I know what you’re thinking: Doesn’t Scott already have a job coaching the New Orleans Hornets?

Yes, he does.

But Scott can opt out of his contract after this season. And while he has professed his desire to remain in New Orleans, you never know if a few flattering words – and a fat contract – would change his mind.

Scott would seem to be everything Kerr wants in a coach.

He’s a proven winner, having led the New Jersey Nets to the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003. This season, he guided the Hornets to the second-best record in the Western Conference and was named the NBA Coach of the Year.

He likes to play up-tempo basketball – Kerr has said he doesn’t want to hire a control freak who wants to call every play and coach 75-72 games – but he also places an emphasis on defense. The Hornets allowed 95.5 points per game in the regular season; only the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics were harder to score upon.

He holds players accountable.

If anything, Scott has had to teach himself to be more of a players’ coach. He admits that he was too much of a disciplinarian with the Nets. He has since learned the delicate balance of trusting his players while making sure they know who’s the boss.

As a bonus, Scott played his college ball at Arizona State.

(Of course, you’re asking two Arizona guys in Kerr and owner Robert Sarver to hire a Sun Devil. I believe there are state laws against that).

Why would Scott leave the spectacular Chris Paul and a young, up-and-coming team to coach an aging bunch like the Suns?

Good question.

From strictly a basketball standpoint, Scott should remain in New Orleans. The Hornets have a much better chance of winning a championship the next few years than the Suns do.

But the big picture favors the Suns.

Until the playoffs began, New Orleans was a remote basketball outpost. The Hornets ranked 26th in attendance in the regular season, and it was not an uncommon sight for half of New Orleans Arena to be empty on a game night.

The Suns, on the other hand, are the talk of the town, even when times are bad. Phoenix played to 96.8 percent capacity this season and ranked 14th in the league in attendance.

Then there’s the question of the Hornets’ future in New Orleans.

There’s not enough money in the economically depressed city to support an NBA franchise over the long haul, so Scott could view Phoenix as the more stable franchise.

Scott wouldn’t come cheap. It would cost the Suns up to $2 million to buy out his contract, and he’d likely command a salary in excess of $5 million per season.

But he’d be worth the money given Kerr’s other options – broadcasters with no coaching experience, assistant coaches and front-office personnel.

Chances are that Scott won’t trade jambalaya and Paul for chicken enchiladas and Shaquille O’Neal.

But the Suns won’t know unless they ask.

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One Response

  1. Byron Scott & the Hornets are a perfect match! 🙂 Go Hornets!!

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