The Phoenix Suns have been going through an extensive and arduous interview process to determine the new head coach. Hopes are high that this change will lead Matt Ishbia’s Phoenix Suns to success under the new head coach’s supervision, whoever they may be.
On this episode of By the Numbers, we take a look at the career’s of the final 3 candidates for the role – Kevin Young, Frank Vogel and Doc Rivers.
Kevin Young is appearing to be the preferred choice among the players currently on the roster. He made his professional head coaching debut at age 23 in Dublin, Ireland with the Shamrock Rover Hoops in the Super League in the 2006-2007 season. He would go on as an assistant for the next two years before coaching in the NBA G-league for the Utah Flash, the Iowa Energy and back to the Delaware 87ers.
From 2017-2020 he would act as assistant head coach to the Philadelphia 76ers, and would move to Phoenix in the same role the year after.
Since 2021 he has acted as associate head coach, even replacing Monty Williams when he was on leave for health reasons for 4 games. Following Young’s time as acting head coach, veteran Chris Paul had this to say:
“He did a great job…KY will be a head coach very soon in this league.”
Young getting the job would put him in his first season as a fully fledged head coach in the NBA.
Longtime fans of the NBA don’t only know Doc Rivers as a prominent, elite head coach across multiple teams. Rivers has his own time as a player in the NBA with the Hawks, the Spurs, the Clippers and the Knicks. During his career as a player, he averaged 10.9 points, 5.7 assists, and 3 rebounds per game.
As a coach, he was named the 2000 NBA Coach of the Year and overall in the Top 15 Coaches of all-time. He led the Boston Celtics to their 2008 NBA Championship victory, and in 2010 he led them to another finals appearance, though they lost to the Lakers.
Doc Rivers has a current coaching record all-time of 1,097-763, and in his last 20 years of coaching in the NBA, he has only missed the playoffs 3 times.
In terms of a resume, Rivers has a hard one to beat. As a player? An NBA All-Star. As a Coach? NBA Champion.
Frank Vogel was named the interim coach of the Indiana Pacers in 2011, and after leading them to their first playoffs since 2006 at that time, he was named head coach.
Prior to this, he was an assistant for the Celtics and the 76ers. Interestingly enough, it seems Vogel transitioned from the Celtics to the 76ers just as Doc Rivers moved from Orlando to Boston.
Vogel is a 2x NBA All-Star Game head coach, and won the 2020 NBA Championship the Los Angeles Lakers.
Though not having as long a career as Rivers, he has coached 11 seasons in the NBA, stringing a total record of 431-389.
So…who is the best choice?
All three of these men are obviously great options for the role of head coach, otherwise they wouldn’t be interviewed.
The most powerful resume seems to come from Doc Rivers. With such a consistent, powerful presence in the league over many seasons, it’s hard to ignore such a tenure.
Frank Vogel has a convicting resume of his own, and both him and Rivers have a ring to their name. If they’ve done it before, they could certainly do it again, right?
Then there is Kevin Young. He is beloved by the players, respected in his work ethic and ability, but is there risk? Do you pass over Rivers and Vogel to promote from within?
Bill Simmons says Young is a done deal, what do you think?
Bill Simmons saying the Suns are going to hire Kevin Young: pic.twitter.com/gXiBRdWD1X
— Cage (@ridiculouscage) May 24, 2023