The Phoenix Suns have made Earl Watson their full-time head coach, the team announced Tuesday.
Watson, 36, became the league’s youngest head coach when he replaced Jeff Hornacek on an interim basis Feb. 1. The Suns went 9–24 under his guidance and finished 23–59. They hold the fourth-best odds in the upcoming draft lottery.
Watson’s playing career ended in 2014, and his coaching career started as an assistant with the D-League’s Austin Spurs during the 2014–15 season. He entered this season as an assistant with the Suns.
“Earl did a very good job with our team last season after taking over as interim head coach during a challenging time for the organization,” said Suns GM Ryan McDonough in a statement. “Earl’s natural leadership qualities and his ability to connect with and motivate our players have stood out throughout his time here in Phoenix. We are excited to see what he can do with a healthy roster after having a full offseason to prepare.”