The man given the steering wheel to turn around the Phoenix Suns, new general manager Ryan McDonough, was formally introduced on Thursday.
McDonough is going to be very busy from day one in the position. The team is coming off the worst season in franchise history since their Inaugural year and will have three draft picks including one very high pick this summer to work with. But first and foremost, McDonough will need to hire the team’s head coach.
“I am going to spearhead that process and the process has already begun,” McDonough stated. “That was part of my interview with Robert (Sarver) and Lon (Babby)…We were in alignment with a lot of the names. Most of the names.”
“We have received a good amount of interest from people all over the basketball world who want to be the coach of this storied franchise,” McDonough added. “That’s my first order of business as general manager is to find the best guy for that job.”
Lindsey Hunter is still very much in the mix for the position. Though he has been linked to other jobs around the NBA, such as the Detroit Pistons head coaching vacancy, McDonough mentioned that Hunter is a candidate for the job.
“I don’t know Lindsey that well personally but I have heard good things about his character and his toughness and his work ethic,” McDonough mentioned. “So Lindsey is a candidate.”
Finding the new head coach is the first big job to do but the work load will definitely not diminish from there. Lon Babby mentioned after Lance Blanks was fired that the team is still in the beginning stages of the rebuilding process. Now that McDonough is in position, it initiates what will be a long and tedious task of rebuilding the teams’ roster.
“The Suns did win 25 games last year so the talent needs to be ungraded across the board,” McDonough explained. “However there are some good pieces in place here. I think Goran Dragic is a good, tough point guard and a player I’ve liked for a while…Marcin Gortat is another guy that I have admired and scouted and watched.”
“There is something here and we are going to try to supplement that and maximize those guys’ abilities,” McDonough added. “Obviously we are going to bring in a few draft picks and begin to take the next steps for the Phoenix Suns.”
McDonough spent the previous ten years with the Boston Celtics. He worked everywhere from the video room, to scouting amateurs, scouting internationally before becoming the assistant under Boston’s general manager Danny Ainge. Ainge has been aggressive as a general manager and has as McDonough put it, gone after the best players “by any means necessary.” So will McDonough bring a similar philosophy in the same role with the Suns?
“Danny Ainge is probably my professional mentor,” McDonough mentioned. “He had great things to say about his time here in Phoenix…I know they spoke to Danny a lot through the process and yes I think my philosophy will be the same.”
As mentioned, McDonough worked a myriad of different roles with the Celtics organization. He started from a very hard working but under-appreciated role to being one of the most valued pieces of the front office. He is a true example of someone who knew what they wanted to do, did whatever they needed to do to get their foot in the door and worked their tail off to eventually get where they wanted to be.
“It’s not always glamorous as you know starting out starting out, and you do some things that aren’t always recognized a lot of the time outside of your organization but if you put the work in, you put the time in I think people realize great results,” said McDonough. “I was very fortunate in Boston, I worked for a guy in Danny Ainge who liked my opinions, my work and promoted me through the ranks pretty quickly. Without him I don’t think I would be here today.”
McDonough and his staff will be looking forward to May 21st as the NBA Draft lottery is announced and the Suns will now where they will be selecting in the upcoming draft this summer.