Former Iowa State player Jeff Hornacek was named as the NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for the Phoenix Suns’ fantastic month in December.
December 27, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek (right) instructs point guard Ish Smith (3) during the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Suns 115-86. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
From the NBA.com official release:
"Hornacek guided the Suns to a 10-3 (.769) record, including wins over the Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers. Phoenix recorded a five-game winning streak between Dec. 4-15, the longest winning streak the Suns have had since January, 2011. The Suns, who rank eighth in the NBA in scoring at 103.7 ppg, eclipsed the 100-point plateau in 10 of their final 11 December contests."
This is Hornacek’s first year as a head coach in the NBA. He took over for the Phoenix Suns this season after being an assistant on the Utah Jazz from 2011-2013.
The Suns have been a surprise team in the NBA this season. Heading into Thursday night’s action, the Suns sit at 19-11 overall and are one game back from the first-place Los Angeles Clippers (22-12) in the Pacific Division.
If the season ended today, Phoenix would be the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs, ahead of Houston, Golden State, and Dallas.
What’s the key to the Suns’ early success? It’s the head coach that looks like he’s having the time of his life, according to CBS Sports’ NBA writer Matt Moore.
"The man behind Phoenix’s surprising run this season acts like he doesn’t have a care in the world. Jeff Hornacek may be the most laid back NBA coach you’re going to find. He speaks with an easy smile on his face, like a guy who happened into a comfortable job he can enjoy. That’s a pretty long walk from the hellacious pressure cooker that warps men’s hairlines and weathers their faces. Take a look at how much Jason Kidd has aged in just a few months on the job."