On this episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Alex Kennedy is joined by former Phoenix Suns assistant coach Cody Toppert. He discusses his first season coaching in the NBA, how the G League prepared him, his one-on-one work with the Suns’ young core, his advice for up-and-coming coaches and more. Time-stamps are below!
0:25: This season was Toppert’s first as an NBA coach. He talks about getting that job with the Suns and how coaching in the NBA differs from coaching in the G League (where he got his start).
2:00: Prior to coaching, Toppert played seven seasons in the G League and overseas. He discusses how his playing experience helps him as a coach.
3:25: Toppert reflects on the 2018-19 season with the Suns.
4:50: The G League travel is even more brutal than the NBA travel, so that’s one area where Toppert’s prior stints prepared him for his latest gig.
5:55: As a coach in the G League, you have to be prepared to lose some of your best players at any moment since they can be called up to the NBA. Toppert had five players get called up when he was head coach of the Northern Arizona Suns and he talks about what that was like.
7:10: Toppert worked one-on-one with Devin Booker this season (and he did Booker’s pre-draft training). He discusses Booker’s season, the progress he’s made and how good he could be if he reaches his full potential.
10:50: Booker has played four seasons in the NBA, but he’s still just 22 years old. Many young players in the NBA are mature beyond their years and Booker is a great example of this.
13:13: Toppert also did a lot of one-on-one work with Mikal Bridges during his season in Phoenix. He discusses Bridges’ rookie season and where he’ll go from here as he continues to develop.
15:10: Tyler Johnson is another player whom Toppert has trained since his pre-draft process, so he worked one-on-one with the point guard after Phoenix acquired him via trade.
16:55: Deandre Ayton was the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft. Toppert talks about what he saw from Ayton development-wise throughout the big man’s rookie campaign.
19:00: Toppert exudes enthusiasm and energy, and he’s also great at developing relationships and building trust with players. He discusses his approach when it comes to these things.
22:20: The Suns have a number of talented young players, another high draft pick and a lot of cap space going forward. Toppert discusses Phoenix’s future.
23:50: Prior to coaching in the NBA, Toppert did private training with draft prospects and NBA veterans. He discusses the biggest differences between private coaching and team coaching.
26:45: Toppert shares advice for up-and-coming coaches and discusses the people who mentored him.
32:00: Many players say they don’t want to be a coach when they’re still playing, but then change their mind after they retire. Toppert discusses when he decided he wanted to become a coach after his playing days ended.
33:40: Toppert discusses the various countries he played in.
34:50: Having played and coached in the NBA G League, Toppert knows the league very well. He discusses the new “professional path” that’s being implemented and the future of the G League.
37:40: When does an NBA player typically reach their prime?
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