With all of the talk over the past few off seasons of Ettore Messina being the next coaching sensation from the Spurs tree to sit in the head chair, we wanted to highlight who the better international option actually is. No disrespect to Messina, but the the guy we are talking about is better fit for today’s NBA, we think.
Messina’s coaching awards are numerous and impressive. His career winning percentage is .740, also impressive. He’s led some of the most prestigious clubs outside of the NBA including CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid. He’s a legend. But we maintain that the 58 year old Spurs assistant is the second best candidate for the NBA head coach openings.
The man we are talking about has already coached for 6 NBA teams. In 2000, he was the first non-American full-time assistant hired in the NBA.
He was part of the Detroit Pistons staff that won an NBA championship in 2004. He’s had stints with Phoenix, Cleveland, Orlando and is currently with Utah. Along with his NBA duties, he’s spent several summers coaching European National teams with great success. The crown jewel being 2017’s EuroBasket champion, Slovenia.
Igor’s resume may be second to Ettore’s but his NBA experience and ability to communicate with players from all over the world puts him in the driver’s seat, in our opinion.
During pregame shooting, it’s not unusual to find Igor talking to players and coaches on the opposing team, visiting scouts, and some other basketball junkies. While that may not seem special, what separates Igor from others is his ability to converse in multiple languages at the same time. English, French, Serbian…and probably a few others that we haven’t heard yet. And he’s unnervingly polite and charming. The type of guy you just want to see succeed.
As of 4/30, the reports are that he’s interviewed twice with Phoenix. And that makes sense. For a few reasons; the obvious one being that he’s a really good coach and should get a chance of being the top guy. Jared Dudley said he’s already done it…
The other reason he’s a prime candidate to interview in Phoenix is that they want to learn more about Luka Doncic. If they end up with the top pick, public pressure will be for Ayton, but Doncic may be the better fit for the NBA and if Igor is the coach…well, you get what we’re saying.
Get to know Igor, he’s a fantastic coach and even better person. He’s ready. The time is right. And Phoenix should finalize everything before someone else wises up.