Phoenix Suns fire Jeff Hornacek, name Earl Watson interim coach
The news was first reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Phoenix is 14–35, having won just two games in January and going 6–26 since Dec. 1. The Suns have lost 14 straight on the road and are tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the league’s fourth-worst record.
Since Dec. 20, the Suns are a league-worst 2–19, have the league’s worst offense and defense, and have a -13.3 point differential, as Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver notes.
Expectations for the Suns were much higher entering the season, especially after adding center Tyson Chandler, but injuries have decimated the rotation. Rumors swirled just before Jan. 1 that Hornacek would be fired as the season started to spiral out of control. Assistant coaches Mike Longabardi and Jerry Sichting were let go on Dec. 28 after losing seven of eight games. Leading scorer Eric Bledsoe tore his meniscus and was lost for the season on Dec. 29. Chandler dealt with a number of injuries while averaging just 5.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
Hornacek, 52, had been head coach since 2013 and went 101–112 in just over 2 1/2 seasons. He led the Suns to 48 victories in his first year as head coach, but missed the playoffs by one game. He worked in assistant coaching capacities for the Utah Jazz, where he spent parts of seven seasons as a player, from 2007–2013.
|2013–14||48–34||Missed playoffs, 9th in Western Conference|
|2014–15||39–43||Missed playoffs, 10th in Western Conference|
|2015–16||14–35||Suns fire Jeff Hornacek after 2–19 skid|
|2 1/2 seasons||101–112|
The Suns selected Hornacek out of Iowa State in the second round of the 1986 NBA draft, and spent 14 seasons in the league, also playing for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Jazz.
The Suns play their next seven games at home, beginning with the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.
Photos: NBA head coaches as players, including Jeff Hornacek