Joe Prunty will be the lead assistant for new Phoenix Suns’ coach Igor Kokoskov in the 2018-19 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Prunty took over as the interim head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks in January after Jason Kidd’s firing. He guided the team to the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, where they lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Prunty won 21 of 37 games to finish out the Bucks' regular season, and he interviewed for the Milwaukee head-coaching job that ultimately went to former NBA coach of the year Mike Budenholzer.
Like Kokoskov, Prunty has an extensive history as an assistant coach in the NBA. He was with the San Antonio Spurs from 2002-05, the Dallas Mavericks from 2005-08 and the Portland Trail Blazers from 2008-10. From there, he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2010-13, the Brooklyn Nets for one season in 2013-14 and then was with the Bucks from 2014 until Mike Budenholzer was named head coach on May 17.
He has won two NBA championships, both coaching for the Spurs in 2003 and 2005.
The Suns have also added former NBA player Corliss Williamson to Kokoskov’s coaching staff.
Prunty is joining a Suns team that was the worst team in the NBA this season. Now with a new coach and the No. 1 pick, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. The Suns still have Devin Booker, who is their best player.
Prunty proved that he can coach a young, talented team, and can handle superstars like Giannis Antetokounmpo. As an assistant, he would not have all the pressure on him to navigate the direction of the team.
Prunty can hone in on specifics and cement himself as a key cog in the new Suns machine.