By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Phoenix Suns had an opportunity to pick Luka Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft but selected center DeAndre Ayton with the no. 1 overall pick.
Some believed that the presence of Igor Kokoskov at the helm of the Suns would shift the attention of the team towards Doncic since the coach and the player had worked together with the Slovenian national team. Phoenix, though, was fixed on Arizona State’s Ayton.
Why didn’t the Suns go with Doncic?
“Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question because of the professional code. But since you asked me, all I’ll say is that I’m sleeping peacefully and carefree,” Kokoskov said in an interview with the Croatian website “Index“.
“Until yesterday, we talked about Luka as an up-and-coming player, today we talk about him as one of the NBA’s best players. The basketball he plays at the age of 20 puts him in the position of one of the most dominant players of today, and the speed at which all this has taken place is especially fascinating. It no longer makes sense to talk about his potential. Luka has outgrown such a narrative. His game is mesmerizing. He’s equally dangerous for the opponent’s basket as he’s making all of his teammates better than they objectively are. Today, Luka is perhaps the most versatile player in the world,” Kokoskov also said about Doncic.
Kokoskov was asked about whether accepting a job as an assistant on the Sacramento Kings was a step back in his career.
“Not at all. A coach’s place is on the court with the players,” Kokoskov said. “That’s the only way to advance and be even better in this job. My ego is in a good place. I’ve never been a slave to vanity and all I want to do is work and perfect myself. I didn’t have a dilemma of whether or not to accept a job with the Kings at any point.”
“There is no discrimination against Europeans in the NBA,” Kokoskov also mentioned when asked if he had any difficulty imposing authority as a European. “At least I didn’t experience it. Players are looking for information, and it’s all the same to them who it comes from, an American or European coach. The only thing that matters is if it is good and works in favor of the team and them as individuals. There are both good and bad players, as there are good and bad coaches. It has nothing to do with language. Why didn’t it work with the Suns? This is an issue that requires a little longer analysis. We had a lot of young players, and we didn’t have a real playmaker. Today, it is impossible to play modern basketball without a top playmaker. Quite simply, at that moment we were not ready for a better result, and despite everything, when I look back at that period, I have no bad memories. Life is like that, sport is like that, let’s move on”, Kokoskov said.