BY: ED COLE
GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s been a busy Monday for the Phoenix Suns. Early in the morning, they relieved Jeff Hornacek of his head coaching duties. Later in the afternoon, they decided who their next head coach would be – in an interim basis – and it’s Earl Watson.
Watson – the Suns 17th head coach in team history – joined the team as an assistant coach this past offseason after serving as an assistant coach for the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League. Watson moved into coaching after a 13-year NBA career (2001-2014) as a point guard. Those 13 years saw Watson play in 878 career games with Seattle/Oklahoma City, Memphis, Denver, Indiana, Utah and Portland.
Watson averaged 6.4 points, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals for his career. In 2007-08, Watson averaged a career-high 10.7 points and 6.8 assists with the SuperSonics.
Watson played for three NBA Coach of the Year Award winners (Hubie Brown, George Karl, Scott Brooks), as well as Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan.
Before he was selected 40th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by Seattle, Watson was a four-year starter at UCLA. He helped guide the Bruins to three Sweet-16 appearances, and he also earned All-Pac-10 First Team honors in 2000-01.
Watson will succeed Hornacek, who was let go following Phoenix’s 0-4 road trip, which saw them fall to 14-35 on the season. The Suns had lost 19 of their last 21 games prior to Hornacek being let go. Hornacek finishes with a 101-112 (.474) record as Suns head coach.