Suns should roll with Thunder's plan

Suns should roll with Thunder's plan

Published May. 14, 2013 6:04 p.m. ET

Since the Suns seem
to be in the market for rising thinkers who can teach and have been
trained in winning backgrounds, we wonder if their list includes anyone
from the Thunder.

Yeah, while OKC’s coaches and
players are still trying to figure out how to play without Russell
Westbrook, it should be noted the Thunder model seems similar to what
the Suns and new general manager Ryan McDonough are trying to

The Thunder assistant coach who would fit
that blueprint is Rex Kalamian, who – in addition to being highly
regarded as a bench coach – has considerable experience developing

As an interested witness to the
skill-development approach of every team that visits US Airways Arena,
I’ve been most impressed by OKC’s system.

workouts that translate to real basketball situations – along with
physical-performance maneuvers – the Thunder continue to help their
young players get better.

James Harden, an admittedly
very talented kid whose early returns didn’t exactly wow NBA observers,
really reached elite status in a hurry. When OKC visited Phoenix, I
watched Kalamian’s work with the former Arizona State star and was
impressed with the pragmatic function of their

The next young player up in OKC has been
Reggie Jackson. Don’t be surprised if rookie Jeremy Lamb, who seemed
like Kalamian’s main development responsibility this season, lifts his
game next year.

Not being privy to the coaching
tactics (and how they’re achieved) for any team, it’s impossible for
writers to know how well a guy like Kalamian would do in the lead chair
right now.

But he’s part of an organization the Suns
would do well to emulate. Talking to him may demonstrate that there are
other smart, aspiring head coaches beyond those recycled names we keep

And it wouldn’t hurt to have
another Kevin Durant available when Phoenix makes its first-round