Lindsey Hunter hopes to establish an identity, become more ‘defensive-minded’

Posted by on January 21st, 2:49 pm

PHOENIX — After sleeping only five hours Sunday night, interim head coach Lindsey Hunter admitted that the reality of his somewhat surprising promotion still had not sunk in.

While Phoenix’s practice facility was buzzing with energy Monday nearly 24 hours after the 17-year NBA veteran was named the team’s short-term replacement for Alvin Gentry, when the reality finally does set in for Hunter, odds are he’ll come to terms with the fact that five hours of pillow time might be on the high side for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

Although he’s only been with the organization since 2012, the first-time head coach appears to grasp the severity of the situation around him, and that he inherits a team bordering on disarray.

Often times teams take on the attitude of their coach, and if Hunter has his way, the current cellar dwellers of the Western Conference (13-28) will hit the ground running and embrace the traits that once made him a successful player.

“Of course, I want us to be a hard-nosed, defensive-minded team,” Hunter said. “That’s what I want. And that’s what we are going to work towards being.”

That sentiment might fall on deaf ears at this point, after all it’s the same one which has been thrown around aimlessly over the last few seasons.

Hunter recognizes that such a culture shift won’t occur over night — after all the Suns enter Wednesday night’s game at Sacramento as the fifth-least efficient team defensively in the league (104.9 points per possession) and dead last in opponent three-point percentage (38.9 percent) — but the 42-year-old believes the coaching move signals a need to make notable changes.

“Personality-wise, I think we need to find an identity,” said Hunter. “That’s what this whole search is. We’re trying to establish that now with a work ethic. Once we get an identity, then I think you’ll start to see things happen.”

With 41 games to go and a mixed bag of parts dressed up as an NBA roster, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that Hunter can generate such results overnight.

He, however, doesn’t agree that such a transformation requires star power.

“I think establishing an identity doesn’t have anything to do with superstars or things like that,” said Hunter. “It has to do with culture, the kind of character you bring in and the type of leaders that you have.”

Leaders might be hard to find in Phoenix’s current locker room, and arguably the only voice left that garners any level of credence is that of fifth-year forward Jared Dudley.

While Dudley revealed that Hunter was more of a player ally than a teacher in his role as the development coordinator, he suggested that the two-time NBA champion has a vision of what he wants the team’s identity to be and hasn’t shied away from trying to change bad habits right away.

“In terms of on-ball defense, he says we are playing too soft in a sense of not touching it,” said Dudley. “On pick-and-rolls, he says we’re not being aggressive enough. ”

Over his final seven seasons in the league, Hunter never averaged more than 5.0 points per game, but Dudley said his new coach’s knowledge at the defensive ends lends itself to instant credibility.

“I remember watching him, and he was one of the best on-ball defenders,” said Dudley. “That’s probably what allowed him to play in the league for so many years, when maybe he wasn’t that good offensively.

“I mean he was a point guard that played 17 years in the NBA, so he must be doing something right. It would be like Kurt Thomas or Grant Hill being the coach. So for not having that coaching experience, I think being a player makes up for that.”

Youth Movement

While starting point guard Goran Dragic realizes that neither he (14.0 points and 6.1 assists per game) nor his team (15 games below .500) are playing at the level he expected when he signed a four-year deal back in July, it’s rather apparent that no player has more job security on the roster than the 26-year-old.

Although the team drafted Kendall Marshall with the 13th overall pick in last June’s draft, back-up Sebastian Telfair (6.3 points and 2.6 assists per game) played well in stretches throughout the first half of the season and Diante Garrett made the roster coming out of camp, Dragic’s long-term contract worth $30 million combined with his projected ceiling makes it unlikely he’ll be unseated any time soon.

Oddly enough, that bothers him to some extent.

“I want all my teammates, especially the younger ones, to develop as much as possible,” Dragic said. “If they develop more, they’re going to be able to help us more, and we will be better than we are right now.”

When asked specifically about increased playing time and even practice opportunities for the likes of Marshall (21), Markieff Morris (23), Wesley Johnson (25) and Luke Zeller (25), Dragic said he wasn’t opposed to the idea moving forward this season.

“If they get more time and develop, then our practices are harder and more challenging,” said Dragic. “It also means that for guys like me, we don’t know what could happen and who could start instead of us. And, I think that’s a good thing. Having a group of hungry guys creates better competition and better competition pushes [the starters] to protect their spots.”

Assistant Coaches Watch

Day 2 came and went inside the US Airways Center, and still no sign of assistant coaches Dan Majerle and Elston Turner, who were both passed over by Lon Babby and Lance Blanks for the interim head coaching position.

Majerle, who played eight seasons with the organization and had his number retired in the “Ring of Honor” back in 2003, has every reason to be upset. After all, he has served as an assistant with the team since 2008 and has been as loyal as they come dating back to his days as a player and even a broadcaster.

While Turner doesn’t have as lengthy of a connection with the Suns as Majerle does, his résumé speaks of a man with nearly 16 years of experience as an NBA assistant coach, who like Hunter, made his living in the NBA (eight seasons) at the defensive end.

When pressed with questions regarding the future of both as it pertained to his staff, Hunter reiterated that the situation would eventually play itself out. However, he did take time to acknowledge that the organization’s decision could not have been easy for either Majerle or Turner.

“I’m sure being a coach and wanting to be a head coach and not getting an opportunity hurts,” said Hunter. “And I understand that and am compassionate about that part of it. I don’t know what will come from any of this, but you wish the guys that are not with us the best and the guys that are with us, we’re going to work.”

 

 

 

Dave Dulberg

Dave Dulberg is a ValleyoftheSuns staff writer who recently graduated from the University of Southern California. He also works as a web content writer/editor for Arizona Sports 620 KTAR.

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Tags: Goran Dragic · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Phoenix Suns News

86 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tony // Jan 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Loyalty plays no role with this pathetic front office. Hiring non-established “yes-men” who can be easily influenced/coerced is the most important criteria that Sarver, Babby, and Blanks are looking for with their new hires.

    Thus, it’s no surprise that the FO didn’t show any loyalty to Nash, Hill, Gentry, Turner, and now Majerle. I guess this is the type of culture that Babby has previously talked about instilling. Too bad for Suns fans that it won’t lead to success, but instead will tarnish the Suns franchise into obscurity and a perpetual lottery-bound team.

  • 2 PennyAnd1 // Jan 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I’m kind of pissed off that Dan Majerle didn’t get the job as next coach. This is really f***ed up. Hunter better give Marshall some minutes.

  • 3 PennyAnd1 // Jan 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    @Tony

    I agree with you. Suns could’ve paid more to keep Nash and have young guys play around him fans should still be around. Or when Nash requested for Diaw during last part of the season.

    Can’t we as fans do something about the FOs? Seriously, Suns has flipped from a superior intelligent team to a low IQ losing team. Something’s gotta give.

    If I see Dudz & Marshall getting traded? It’s official, This team is built for low IQ players.

    And 1
    Why is Brown still here? Wanna be Kobe Bryant sucking on his jersey like Kobe but can’t play. Get rid of the guy already!

  • 4 Ty-Sun // Jan 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I’m still in “wait and see” mode but I’m expecting the worst since Turner and Majerle seem to have abandoned ship.

    Trying to turn the Suns into a ‘defensive-minded’ team really sounds like the right direction to take but the Suns will have to get rid of almost every player they have right now to accomplish that. Tucker, Dragic and Dudley are the only three exceptions that I can think of. O’Neal also fits but at this point in his career the only reason to keep him around would be that there absolutely just wasn’t a better option.

    Johnson deserves a shot at least to prove he can be a defensive asset. Morris could also be one if defense is more strongly stressed (and actually coached) so he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    I don’t see anyone else on the current roster worth keeping if the Suns are now going to try to concentrate on defense first.

  • 5 Geminid670 // Jan 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Ushering in the ’25 seconds or less’ era. Yeah! Z-z-z-zzz

  • 6 DBreezy // Jan 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Seems kind of hard to put the genie back in the bottle with Turner and Majerle now. I can understand Hunter’s feelings on not needing stars to establish an identity because of the Pistons squads he played on, particularly under Carlisle. That group was composed of players with a common mindset and skillset defensively helping to successfully establish that identity without stars. Most lottery teams have players with disparate skillets making it harder to establish themselves despite quality talent. The Suns are somewhat unique in that they’re disparate and not all that talented.

  • 7 Geminid670 // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Hey, if Hunter doesn’t work out, that teenage towel boy does a heck of a job. Really hustles out there!

  • 8 Pix // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    If I wanted to follow a defensive minded team, I would be following the Bulls..
    Why sign Dragic back, draft Marshall then decide to be defensive?
    As a fan, I want to see more running, dunking and shooting! Beasley, Johnson, Brown and even Morris would thrive because they can work on instinct.. They have too much time to think at the moment. Leave that to Dragic and Marshall!
    And Front Office, next time you decide to change the teams identity, ask the fans.. You know, the ones that buy tickets, caps and league pass..?

  • 9 Geminid670 // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Seriously, I’m waiting on my new Suns hat to ship. I’ll still wear it almost daily, just a depressing time to be a fan.

  • 10 Penny Hardaway // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @Pix

    I agree completely. Running game > defensive game.

  • 11 john // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Has anyone ever considered that Majerle might be a bad coach?

  • 12 Robert Sarver // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Hello fans, Robert here. Hey, we’ve got some new exciting changes with the Phoenix Suns organization and we want you to come along for the ride.

    With the success of our Satisfaction Guaranteed night, we have decided to expand that idea with our newest “The Next Head Coach” promotion.

    Send in your suggestions for who you want to be the next head coach for your Phoenix Suns in 2013-2014. A ballot will be available on suns.com for you to select from our list of candidates, as well as the choice for a write-in candidate. Have fun, and hey write yourself in as a candidate! The possibilities of the next head coach are endless!

    (Ballot choices)
    1. Lindsey Hunter
    2. Lon Babby
    3. Suns’ Gorilla
    4. Mr. Orng
    5. Tom Leander
    6. Lance Blanks
    7. Goran Dragic
    8. Marcin Gortat
    9. Jared Dudley
    10. (Write-in)

  • 13 Rebel 2 // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    It’s all about Babby, because to him is all about making money (for himself). If you want to move forward, that’s the poison that needs to be purged from the body.

  • 14 Scott // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    As for Hunter and defense … keep in mind that Hunter knows defense, and he can call for hustle. So under him that will be the scheme. If Hunter said the Suns were returning to a high scoring run and gun style, everyone would be saying … “Umm, so why are you in charge?”

    As for why Hunter was picked to coach, IMO it wasn’t because the Suns need more defense (though that wouldn’t hurt). Blanks has a type, you might say, and Hunter fits it.

    @john -

    Yes. I’ve considered that Majerle may be a bad coach. Since he’s only coached Summer League so far, we may never know.

    IMO, as I’ve said already, the best thing for Majerle now is to get a spot on the Heat coaching staff. Having wider experience, and with successful clubs, will help Majerle get a better coaching spot.

  • 15 Lon Babby // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    @Rebel

    Those are private dealings. I’m not at liberty to discuss details of a financial nature.

    What I will say is that I, and everyone in this organization, must continue to strive for excellence both on and off the basketball court.

    To achieve excellence we have to remain principled, and steadfast in our approach.

    We must grow not only as a group of professionals, but as an organization in a rapidly and everchanging marketplace.

  • 16 Scott // Jan 21, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    @Rebel 2 -

    I’m confused by your comment – and the other negative ones on VotS – about Babby. They seem unfounded. Is there something you can share that supports your view?

  • 17 Geminid670 // Jan 21, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    The Suns have found their identity – and it is F.U.B.A.R.

  • 18 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Jan 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    Since the guy who supposedly was done with the Suns posted first, and his rant fits what a lot of fans seem to be thinking, i’ll just use a portion of it to shed some light on why Hunter is now coach and a few other things.

    “Thus, it’s no surprise that the FO didn’t show any loyalty to Nash, Hill, Gentry, Turner, and now Majerle. I guess this is the type of culture that Babby has previously talked about instilling. Too bad for Suns fans that it won’t lead to success, but instead will tarnish the Suns franchise into obscurity and a perpetual lottery-bound team.”

    The loyalty thing. Steve Nash, really?

    First of all, Nash was done in the valley, period. The Suns showed him 100% loyalty. They could have left him to fend for himself in free agency and sign somewhere like Toronto and be far away from his family.
    Instead, they helped him remained fairly local and in doing so took back less than they could have if they had a choice about it and wanted to get the most for him.

    Keeping him would have been worse than rebuilding, because we still would have been bad and the rebuild would have taken that many seasons longer to arrive.

    Hill wanted to keep playing and the Suns wanted to rebuild. Why keep him and where is the dis-loyalty in that?

    Turner wasn’t awarded the head coaching position because he was brought in to be the defensive specialist. Looking at the suns, they were anything but that, so why would they give him the job? He didn’t do his job before gentry left so why suddenly would he get it done now?

    Does anybody know the coaching philosophy of Dan Majerle? Is he a Gentry clone? Is he a spread guy? If he’s anything like Gentry, why would they promote him?

    Pix & Penny Hardaway – oh goodness.

    Please, Phoenix has been running and gunning for 20 years without a defensive foundation. That has yielded 1 finals appearance, zero titles, a couple of nice 2-3 year runs, and a bunch of bottom-feeder playoff seeds.

    I’m all for fast breaking and quick scores, but if somebody can install a defensive philosophy that lets us do that off of defensive stops where we’re not just trading baskets with the other team, I’m all for it.

    All of you guys predicting doom and gloom for years to come are just fans used to a winning program who probably weren’t fans before SSOL was born or just too young to get the ups and downs of a franchise.

    Or maybe some of you are just internet trolls.

    I begged for a rebuild every season post-Amare. He was the important piece, not Nash. Nash got the praise and rightfully so, but a healthy Amare meant that any signing could come in and help the team because he was the executioner.

    The team hasn’t had one since he left and there wasn’t one available. The rebuild should have started then and there.

    Now that it’s here though, I’m happy.

    I’m happy that the old guard is being removed. I’m happy a true and clear “rock bottom floor” is being recognized. The chalk board is finally being wiped clean totally.

    NOW, we will see if these “idiots” in the front office really do have a clue or if they will get replaced in a year’s time.

    The fact is, they showed all these guys respect by holding off on a rebuild 2 years longer than they should have. Now they’re cleaning house and getting ready to really go forward with “their guys.”

    I’m good with that as long as they get it right.

    A bad draft is the end of them, and with that I have this question for all of you fair-weather fans.

    Would you rather:
    A) The Suns FO execute a GREAT draft and start turning the franchise around,

    or:

    B) Have the FO totally botch the draft, get fired, make you guys happy in the short term, while costing the franchise another year at rock bottom

    Lets see the collective mindset.

  • 19 DBreezy // Jan 21, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Tango and Cash, Cash and Tango….

  • 20 Steve // Jan 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Well, I am approaching with optimism. Yes i am a fan of Thunder Dan, but we’ve only seen him coaching in summer league. I’m hoping we can turn this into a positive, and potential flipping players for picks or young talent. Trying to change the focal point of the team, might be a little difficult especially with the players (lack of a solid wing defender).

    I’d like to think that something will come of this and either we’ll have Gortat sent for some picks or that they’ll listen to what is being preached and pick it up.

    And all the negativity that is coming, I mean, the Suns have been one of the best teams over the last 10 years, yes no titles, but they’ve been one of the best franchises in professional sports to not have won one. We all knew that eventually that ride would end. Now we have to get back up and start trying.

    In saying that, doesn’t matter to me if they go 13-69, I’m still a fan, always have been. Always will be.

  • 21 DBreezy // Jan 21, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Majerle is officially out according to Gambo.

  • 22 azbballfan // Jan 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    If Thunder Dan is indeed out, and if the Suns players wanted him and not Hunter, how does the front office expect hunter to do?

    I think Turner didnt do that great of a job here in Phoenix just looking at the defensive numbers

    However, look at the players we got, come on!

    Whats next front office? Al McCoy gone too?

    a Mid Season coaching change by the Suns, you really had zero risk

    Hey atleast Thunder Dan and Turner jumped off this rapidly burning ship!

    So if Thunder Dan, Turner, and Gentry were all sacrificed at the altar just for playing time for Marshall, boy he better be the best point guard we ever had!

    Theres somethng called “paying your dues” in the NBA and I hope Turner, Dan, and Gentry team up somewhere else.

    I woulda done the same thing guys, those people are not worth working for.

    No wonder Gortat is unhappy, look at this BS.

    By the way, i dont blame Hunter at all, and i wish him the best

  • 23 the barnes // Jan 21, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    The worst part of this in my opinion is Gentry is actually a good NBA coach. the front office kept shifting from wanting to rebuild to wanting to win games and back and forth, of course the season was all over the place and Gentrys rotations and losses didnt show a poor coach, it showed a good coach not knowing what to do with a dysfunctional front office that was completely directionless. There is no way a coach with ZERO experience will ever do well in Phoenix especially right now and there is no way a new coach will do better than an established one like Gentry. Probably worst of all is even if they thought Hunter was as good as majerle the smart move was simply to hire Majerle or if not Turner, Hunter was the worst option. Not just because of his experience level but the fact that doing so would almost certainly spell the end for Majerle and Turner as assistants and create poor chemistry and a more toxic environment overall and FURTHER alienate the phoenix fan base. Just so many bad decisions, and some of them are really poor business decisions made by people PAID to make them. Just horrible.

  • 24 suns68 // Jan 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    The one question I wanted to hear someone ask Babby at his press conference was: Given that the best player you’ve brought to this franchise was Vince Carter, why is Gentry gone and yet you are still here?

  • 25 Cam // Jan 21, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    Fakers are now 17-24. Lets keep that losing streak going L.A. We gotta get a Fakers record watch posted, like a “this many days to Christmas” countdown. For all the problems the Suns have, it’s awesome to see the Fakers only 4 games ahead of Phoenix in the standings. It’s so much fun seeing Kobe give excuses for why he isn’t playing well! I just hope D12 leaves after the season, leaving that team even worse off. Go Suns.

  • 26 Scott // Jan 21, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    @suns68 -

    Is Babby responsible for player acquisitions, or is it Blanks?

    My impression was that Babby mainly goes over the legal matters, and Lance Blanks selects players and makes the trades.

  • 27 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:25 am

    At this point the only thing that could help us is a trade for the Artiste formerly known as Artest.

    I would give up SB for him.

    But Kobe would probably veto it.

  • 28 the barnes // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:25 am

    @cam I cant even wish badly on the Lakers anymore, with Nash there I cant do it. He wanted to stay and we pushed him out, he dserves to be happy somewhere.

  • 29 the barnes // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:33 am

    If the front office wanted to rebuild I would add also that as always, its super frustrating to never hear phoenix sniffinga round trades, for the reason everyone knows – sarver doesnt want to pay anyone. Josh Smith or Rudy Gay are young and superstar quality and if anything exciting to watch, or even Al Jefferson or Milsap, where have we been in those discussions?? Gortat/Scola/Brown/Dudley all have some decent enough trade value as does our multiple picks, I know we were supposedly talking to memphis but I read a report saying memphis actually talked to us not the other way around.

  • 30 Dennis Marshall // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Glad my son will finally get the playing time he’s so deserved!

  • 31 Lance Blanks // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Hey fans!

    I’ve been reading around the forums, and while I share the disappointment that this team is not as good as it is capable of being, partly due to people we’ve already taken care of, this team is still on the right track.

    Lindsey is a great coach and I have the full confidence he will succeed under Lance and my watch. He has knowledge of championships, and has a good career as a player to back his knowledge up.

    I know he will give more playing time to guys like Kendall and Michael, two guys who I know are guys that will help this team going forward in the race for the playoffs.

    I urge you to all join our town hall meetings, I will be there to hopefully give you all a clearer path of what I envision this team being – a team this city and the fans can be proud of.

    Stay with us, we are making the moves to turn this ship around, and this is just the first of many steps Lon and I will take to making this a franchise you can all have fun watching.

    Thank you,

    Lance

  • 32 Michael Beasley // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Maaan i’m so blazed niqa but Lindsey’s a bro for sure he gonna give me the time i deserve yeah thats whats up broooo

    Man i gotta join that new sonics team thoooo

  • 33 Lance Blanks // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Oh and before I forget, I would just like to notify Gambadoro, John of Arizona Sports 620 and la Cava, Jude of FOX 10 that they are no longer allowed to obtain media passes for the Phoenix Suns.

    Thank you all again,

    Lance

  • 34 Lance Blanks // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:54 am

    I see you Michael ;)

  • 35 Michael Beasley // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:54 am

    haha lance whats up brooo you wanna get some dro??

    thanks for having me and kendalls back bro

  • 36 Kendall Marsall // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Whats up bros??? I’m glad we got what we wanted and deserved, Lindsey is our bro and he definitley has both our backs Michael.

    On that note, I really like pancakes.

  • 37 Michael Beasley // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:56 am

    Hahaha whats up Kbutter??? You the true point guard of this team bro, pass firest. i know u have my back bro thank you we gonna run this ship soon.

    By the way want some dro???

  • 38 Kendall Marsall // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:57 am

    Haha yupp bro after i get back from iHop, man these pancakes are great!

    I’ll do some more tweeting but i’ll hit you up bro!

  • 39 John Treloar // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:58 am

    I’m such a great draft guru :)

  • 40 Kendall Marsall // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Haha what’s good John, you’re such a bro thanks for believing in me unlike that sad excuse of a coach we used to have lmao

  • 41 John Treloar // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Yup, we will always have your back Kendall! Me, Lance, Lon and Michael will always support you!

  • 42 Robert Sarver // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Man who does this fool LaCava think he is haha!

    Bear Down

  • 43 Scott // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:00 am

    BTW, I just watched the video above and … is it just me, or is it a little hallucinogenic? The camera has odd movement and Hunter’s face seems to distort a bit a times.

  • 44 the barnes // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:00 am

    @lance the fact that giving beasley and marshall more playing time is your plan to get back in the playoffs and hire hunter says it all. If Sarver will not pay players you will never make the playoffs. you need to pay for a josh smith or rudy gay or the like and build around them, not just common sense, but history shows you are not going to win or even make playoffs paying a few good players average money and throwing in a heap of cheap/role players. At no point in time will Beasley and Marshall lead this team to a championship, Beasley even got a fair crack as a starter and showed his worth to gentry – which is that hes a role player, or if he gets better in a couple years MAYBE a 6th man on a non contender. The fact is the suns could of signed steve nash and at least as fans we would be happy and entertained, but letting him walk so you didnt have to pay him for 2 years and give that money to dragic who you traded for nothing essentially a season before about sums it all up doesnt it? Let me know when you would like some help I will fly over to phoenix and work with you!

  • 45 Luke Zeller // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Hey Lance thanks for believing in nme as well, I have told everyone I am a great shooter and they just laugh, but thank you for believing in my talents!

    Unlike that former coach we had…

  • 46 Kendall Marsall // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:02 am

    By the way, follow me folks @KButter5

    #PassFir5t

  • 47 m.i.milliman // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:27 am

    Somebody should tell Hunter not to be so supprised. He was the cheapest, most easily manipulatable of all the canadates. No experience? No system? No problem. This isn’t Hunters fault. I’d take it, no hesitation. This is all front office. Absolutely no clue as to what they are doing. Hey blanks and babby, the North Star is that way.

  • 48 Tony // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:29 am

    “First of all, Nash was done in the valley, period. The Suns showed him 100% loyalty. They could have left him to fend for himself in free agency and sign somewhere like Toronto and be far away from his family.”

    Typical dumb comment from another yahoo who thinks he knows anything about basketball. Hey Rich, you must have learned the game of basketball from Lon Babby, right??

    Besides not understanding anything about basketball, apparently you don’t have any idea what loyalty is either. Again you must have been trained by the Babby school of ethics as well. You say the Suns did Nash a favor by agreeing to trade him, but you conveniently ignore the fact that the Suns received 4 draft picks for him dummy! He could have walked away from the Suns and left them nothing, but he didn’t. So don’t act as if the Suns FO didn’t get anything out of the Nash trade. You’re comment claiming that A’mare was the critical Suns player is also absolutely garbage. Of course A’mare was a key player and a star in his own right, but the overwhelming percentage of A’mare’s baskets came off of Nash-created opportunities for him to score.

    As far as the Suns “rebuilding” plan is concerned, once again you prove how truly ignorant you are. Tell us, what’s the Suns FO plan at the moment???? Did you also conveniently forget that the plan all along was supposed to be to remain competitive while rebuilding? Did you forget Babby publicly stating on several occasions about the statistical average of how long it takes a franchise to rebuild by tanking and how the organization was committed to avoiding that scenario?

    Or maybe you are so ignorant that you don’t even know that this current Suns roster isn’t even a young one! They are ranked around 15th in age. You don’t rebuild with veteran players. This current roster was never intended to lead this team last in the western conference. As such, they’re still stuck with too many veteran players and not enough talented young players. For example, Dragic (26), Gortat (28), Scola (32), O’neal (34), Dudley (27) and Brown (27). Most of those players represent the best of the Suns players at the moment and their ages are not consistent with a FO that is intending to start completely over. In other words, all of those guys are past the ideal age to rebuild around.

    So when you say that you’re happy now that the team has hit rock bottom, again you ignore the fact that this FO is not committed to tanking for an extended period of time, which is necessary for a proper rebuilding franchise. There’s simply no indication that the FO is intending to embrace tanking.

    In any case, if all it takes to make you a happy fan is a last-place team; with no young star to rebuild around; with drafting role players; continuing to field a middle-aged NBA roster; a FO without a competent plan or direction; and a team that lacks any identity, then you are truly the type of fan Sarver and Babby love!

  • 49 m.i.milliman // Jan 22, 2013 at 1:59 am

    Damn Tony, what do you really think?

    This front office is the most poorly ran front offices I’ve seen in a long time. In any sport. And that includes the Clippers.

    Tony, don’t forget, those draft choices that the Suns got from the Lakers. There not the lakers picks. They’re coming from the Heat, I think, which makes the useless.

    And if that was Blanks, and big ups for that, if it is you, for going on a board that clearly is upset with you, so if that was Blanks; the fact that you think Beasley, Marshal and Hunter, playing a defensive style, is a good idea, means you you don’t know what your doing. That’s okay, there are a lot of people that don’t know what there talking about when it comes to basketball. I was just talking to a guy the other day who had no clue. He was a hockey coach in Alaska and not the head of an NBA franchise, but still, he had no clue. You two would get along splendidly. If that was you, Blanks.

  • 50 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:01 am

    Mike & Kendall gonna Lead us to the Promised Land Fo Sho !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 51 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:02 am

    What does Tony REALLY think ?? No one knows, he beats around the damned bushes so damned much !!!!

  • 52 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:07 am

    @the Barnes: Beasley & Marshall WILL lead us to the Promised land !!!!!

  • 53 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:10 am

    I bet JIMMY CARTER (jimmy Crack Corn) will even come along to the Promised Land !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 54 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:15 am

    Jimmy Crack Corn !!!!!!!!!!!

  • 55 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:16 am

    I’m gonna back up the truck and buy a boatload of IHOP stock !!!!!!!!

  • 56 bill.thomas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:19 am

    On what can Sarver count to a higher level, sheep, or empty seats? (Hint: At least sheep give wool).

  • 57 Lindsey Hunter // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Man up Tony….. you sound like a bully just took your popsicle

  • 58 Artur Mascarenhas // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:39 am

    The best thing the FO could do to Majerle was NOT give him the job. This head coach job stint with our current squad and situation will only stain a man’s resume.

  • 59 azbballfan // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:39 am

    I think Blanks, if that was him, has alot of guts to come on a web site that does not like him

    I am interested to see what kind of plan Babby, Sarver, and Blanks all unveil at the town hall meetings

    cause i can tell you right now, getting rid of a respected coach, and two assistant coaches plus alienating the media and the fans.

    MAN you better have a great plan!

  • 60 SHAZAM // Jan 22, 2013 at 2:44 am

    mr bill is drinking and driving on our comment board..time to go watch a glacier melt or maybe watch some one do some engraving

  • 61 TheBarnes // Jan 22, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Tony was spot on with his reply. I can’t believe someone anyone would think we were loyal to Nash when he wanted to stay. Saying we could of let him fend for himself is ridiculous, as tony points out we got picks out of it but even worse with that comment do you think of we let him fend for himself he would’ve thought twice? Seriously. Dude was offered a mega 3 yr deal from Toronto, and others Paul’s of also, I’m sure he could of been just fine “fending for himself”. Nash gave his life to the suns and never complained or asked to jump ship and he actually wants to stay and we pay more money to bring in Beasley/Wes/Brown than to simply keep Nash like he wanted anyway. And how about that lowball offer Phoenix head office? What was that like a 1 yr 6 million offer to the assist leader in the NBA? What a joke.

  • 62 Dan Majerle // Jan 22, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Hey guys, drinks are on me at Majerle’s tonight. I’ve got the dart board up with Robert Sarver as the target. See ya there!

  • 63 john // Jan 22, 2013 at 7:25 am

    @thebarnes and @mimilliman

    You guys should check your facts. Ignorance is out of style.

  • 64 Michael // Jan 22, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Tony is wrong as much as one can be wrong again.
    You´ll never get a quote from any FO that tanking is the route we are walking for the next years, they have to state those “staying competitive while rebuilding things”.

    We are at the beginning of rebuilding, we will not see good results in the near future, but the Suns will come back one day, and the FO surely has a plan for the future. They have failed in the past seasons with certain decisions, they have done good with others. Some franchises have to lose, it´s a competition. But overall the Suns are a winning franchise, and we´ll get back to that.
    In Tony´s world, everything is so easy, but in reality, it´s not. And I´m sure the FO is working hard to get the Suns better. But it´ll take time.
    OKC has been awfully bad for a long time until they had all their assets to rock the show. We have been mediocre for two seasons now and are bad for half a season. It will take time. Just be a little more patient.

    But when you look at the player contracts, this is an area where the FO has done really good work already. Now it´s time to move on with doing smart trades and picking wisely within the next two drafts.

    Interestingly Steve has been very thankful that our hated FO worked out the Lala deal. A win-win for both, so I don´t see this deal as a proof of their disloyalty. A lot of the undone rebuilding results from the fact that they tried hard to give Steve a reasonably competitive team to play with instead of changing things dramatically after the 2010 finals.
    Steve has never blamed them, so I won´t do that.

    I´m also amused about the talking that Dragic is too old for a rebuilding team. Steve is 12 years older than him, and he got his first MVP at the age of 31. I don´t want to compare their style of play, their impact on the team or their talent (Steve is unique), but I don´t see why a 26 year old guard has to be considered “old, past the ideal of rebuliding around.”
    I´d say the complete opposite is true, you need at least one or two players in the middle ages where the youngstars can learn from in any aspect on AND off the court. Goran and JD are important pieces for a rebuilding process that I wouldn´t trade away (I would even call Channing an important player in this meaning).
    They´ll get the team younger within the next year, don´t worry.

  • 65 Cam // Jan 22, 2013 at 10:02 am

    @Tony
    Just because you disagree doesn’t mean you should stoop to name calling and verbal insults. I appreciate your comments in general but making statement like the one above paint you not as an adult, but as a child. We shouldn’t have to revert to such insults to get a point across. The beauty of this site is that many of us have our own opinions and views pertaining to the Suns. This should be a forum to share, without the fear of ridicule. Now I’m off my soapbox.

    Has anyone seen the rumour that the cavs are making a trade with the Griz. Spieghts, Ellington, Selby, and a 1st for Jon Leuer. Really! This FO couldn’t find a way to jump in a get that from the Griz. They were already in contact about Rudy Gay. Obtaining Speights would give the FO the freedom to shop Gortat without having to brain a C back in the trade. Selby alongside Dragon in the backcourt would’ve been fun to watch if nothing else. And then the Cavs also get a late round 1st. This is nuts. Once again the FO stumbles out of the block and misses an opportunity. Go Suns.

  • 66 Cam // Jan 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Throw Zeller and Garrett to the Griz. I just looked and it works in the trade machine. Dammit! Go Suns.

  • 67 DBreezy // Jan 22, 2013 at 10:58 am

    While I agree with Michael that you cannot come out and say you’re tanking, but my gut says Tony is right when he says that winning each individual game at all costs will remain the goal here vs development. Listening to Babby talk about how they parted with Alvin because they needed to preserve their culture right after Alvin said it was time to play the young guys and Blanks outline of what he expects from Hunter lean towards that notion IMO.

    We shall see, but beyond the first few games where I do expect to see some experimentation, I’m not sure we’ll see drastic rotation shifts especially if they’re not as competitve as they were previously. Hunter didn’t even act like he expected rotation changes when asked about it. The team tanked the 2003-2004 season ahead of Sarver taking over. They didn’t announce that that was what they were doing, but it was clear. They were extra cautious bringing guys back from injuries and D’Antoni sat vets like Eisley, White and sometimes McDyess in favor of youth. Btw Michael to be fair the Suns have had 3 out of the last five seasons as mediocre, one great one sandwiched in there and this bad one.

  • 68 DBreezy // Jan 22, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Hunter under FBI investigation for mortgage fraud? The Suns are nothing if not interesting, and Lance and Lon better hope it’s not true after this transition debacle.

  • 69 JD // Jan 22, 2013 at 11:05 am

    So the Suns GM has finally got his coach, a former long time NBA point guard with a defensive coaching mindset, looking to change the culture of the team.

    Let’s see how Coach Porter does in his first Suns game at the helm tomorrow night!

  • 70 Ty-Sun // Jan 22, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Memphis made that trade simply to shed salary to get out of paying the luxury tax. I think that they specifically pitched this deal to Cleveland because they knew that they need another big man since Varejao is going to miss the rest of this season. I doubt the Suns ever knew such a deal with Memphis was possible.

    As for the Suns already being in contact with Memphis about Rudy Gay, so was every other team in the NBA. Memphis was actively shopping Gay around the Association to any and every team that would take their calls. Phoenix didn’t have any edge over anyone else in that respect.

  • 71 Forever is2long // Jan 22, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Opinions are everywhere today about the direction of the Suns and Majerle leaving. Like Kerr not wanting to be associated with the team after Sarver reportedly hinted at a reduced salary for him and had decided not to sign Amare after the team performed so well in the 2nd half of the season and in the playoffs, Thunder Dan felt slighted with the coaching change that did not include him. I don’t know if Dan or Lindsey can coach but I do not blame Dan for leaving a franchise that has a recent history for poor draft choices, letting good players go, trading draft choices with little in return and signing a number of journeyman free agents. Good move Dan and good luck to you.

    As for the team’s direction, I said last summer if you are rebuilding why are you keeping near 30 Gortat and signing Scola. IMO it was clear their primary focus was trying to be playoff relevant. When that goal failed miserably as I knew it would, now the focus is developing players with a not so young squad (i agree Scott). Maybe Gentry is not the guy for that as I previously mentioned some former and present Suns have played better elsewhere (Dragic, Lopez, Clark). If this was the focus last summer which I think it should have been, they should have taken a page out of New Orleans playbook when they let Kaman walk and they signed a younger and cheaper Lopez. I am not surprised New Orleans has a better record than the Suns because they were never obsessed with becoming playoff relevant once Chris Paul left.Hornets just have a smarter front office than the Suns in my opinion.

    I think Rich posed the question what do we want from this point forward.I think the obvious answer is an excellent draft. However to improve the chances of a good draft I would have fired Babby and Blanks with Gentry. Now that would be a rebuild. In my opinion there is a difference between transition and rebuild. I think the evidence shows the Suns were trying to transition and when it failed now want to call it rebuilding. Some fans are buying that but I am not one of them.

  • 72 john // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I also don’t blame Majerle for leaving, but I don’t expect him to end up being a great head coach either. I think both parties did what they needed to do in this instance.

    As far as assuming the Suns were trying to be playoff relevant because they kept Gortat and signed Scola? Who were they going to develop at the C spot if they didn’t keep Gortat (who is turning 29 next month)? Robin Lopez? Talent-wise, I think it’s virtually a wash between those two players, and Lopez would have tied up the cap for more years. Gortat is off the books at the end of next season. I can see why keeping Gortat was desirable over signing Lopez. And who were the Suns going to develop at the 4? Does anyone really think Markieff Morris is ready for 35 minutes a game in the Association?

    I agree that there are ways where the “rebuilding” plan seems muddled and/or nonexistent, but I still don’t see better options presented by virtually anyone complaining.

  • 73 Cam // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    @John
    There have been options presented. The problem is, most of these options rely on trades. These trades are really just pipe dreams because none of us are in the FO. The only other real option the Suns have is play it out and work through the draft. Until the FO makes some trades to provide clarity to the fans as to the direction management is taking we can only assume that Sarver and the boys plan on sticking with what they have and slowly building through picks and free agency. Go Suns.

  • 74 Cam // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I agree with the team keeping Gortat over Fropez, precisely for the reasons John posted above. Contract length and cap space are becoming a premium. Gortat was the better choice. Go Suns.

  • 75 Harry // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Anyone notice in the video Hunter doesn’t establish any eye contact when talking?

  • 76 Forever is2long // Jan 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    John, Absolutely I would have preferred Lopez at $5m/yr as he has not reached his prime. He woulod have done 1 three year deal with the Suns as that is what he got in New Orleans (actually NO has an option to renew at the end of each season). As for power forward, I wanted the Suns to draft J. Henson from North Carolina as I agree with you Morris IMO is not an NBA starting power forward.

  • 77 m.i.milliman // Jan 22, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    @john

    I did say I think. And what facts did I reference? None far as I can tell. Just making a point, the front office has no idea what they are doing and they have no plan. They’re just blowing smoke at this point.

    And your right, ignorance is out. Way to go man. Pretty cool man. I’m proud of you.

  • 78 the barnes // Jan 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    @john they had absolutely no idea, what they are doing is not rebuilding. The Gortat argument is fine to a degree except for the fact that if they decided pre-season they were rebuilding the smart option would have been shop him – everyone knew after playing with nash his value would not be higher. And now its significantly lower. But even giving you gortat the Scola signing is completely indefensible. Do I really think Markieff Morris is ready for 35 minutes a night as a starter? I dunno, but we are never going to find out unless you throw him out there!!! That is what rebuilding teams do, they don’t care about the Ws as much as seeing what they have in young prospects and developing them, and the best way to develop young guys is to give them plenty of NBA experience so they can learn. Scola is the antithesis of rebuilding. I would also suggest that they could have drafted someone like John Henson instead of Marshall to help their young big man stocks – I think everyone knew Marshall didn’t have much of a ceiling and young bigs are more valuable. Of course I could also sight the Jermaine Oneal signing to, what was that going to achieve? And you cant say that hes a veteran with an great attitude who doesnt care about playing time and will teach the young guys….he is the absolute OPPOSITE to all of that. Then you trade for someone like Wes Johnson who I don’t disagree with, but then you don’t play him? And actually make his trade stock go DOWN and not know what you have there talent wise? The suns have not known what they are doing this ENTIRE TIME. If you are rebuilding you stock up on young prospects and YOU PLAY THEM so you can develop them and you don’t sign over the hill old guys that demand playing time and fit a contender – Jermaine oneal/scola. You also trade pieces that don’t fit for rebuilding purposes – GORATT!! When their value is high. The suns are not a rebuilding team and they are not a playoff team, and they are not even in the middle and don’t have great assets. They are in real trouble especially if sarver doesnt want to get out his chequebook. I don’t blame Gentry for all of this as to me from the outside looking in its clear he ahd a impossible task – make sure you win games but we want to rebuild to! Sure thats gonna be easy.

  • 79 john // Jan 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    How many of these posts are simply by the same person?

  • 80 the barnes // Jan 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    I can assure you I am only posting under myself and noone else. Michael Beasley, Lance, Marshall etc….well, pretty sure thats the same person!

  • 81 john // Jan 22, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Btw, the “facts” I was talking about were milliman’s reference to the Suns getting the Miami pick and Barnes’ reference to Rudy Gay being a star (this one is admittedly more subjective, but there isn’t much a statistical argument to be made for Gay’s “star” qualities). Sure, milliman said “I think,” but why not spend 30 seconds on Google to get informed and not waste my precious Internet time. :)

  • 82 the barnes // Jan 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Gay is a above average NBA player who is exciting to watch, draws fans, and is an allstar. To me that qualifies as a ‘star’. The level of star is subjective, but clearly the facts indicate hes a star…if you put him on the suns roster I ams ure everyone would view him as their ‘star’. They dont have one right now.

  • 83 john // Jan 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    The facts indicate he’s wildly overvalued, actually. The subjective opinion of fans/coaches is what made him an all star.

  • 84 the barnes // Jan 23, 2013 at 1:23 am

    Being overvalued John does not mean you cant be a star. He is prob over paid and prob overvalued, that doesnt eman he isnt a ‘star’. There has been plenty of stars who have been overpaid and overvalued. The fact is what your saying is subjective in fans/coches opinions actually MAKES players stars, if Gay is a player a large portion of fans enjoy watching and find exciting, will pay money to see and like thats going along way to making him a ‘star’. A star isnt necessarily one of the best players in the league…

  • 85 john // Jan 23, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Oh, also the whole Nash wanted to stay, “we” (who is “we”) pushed him out. I guess if you really want to dig in in the Gay thing for no reason, Nash wanted to go to LA.

  • 86 Preview: Phoenix Suns (13-28) at Sacramento Kings (16-26) // Jan 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    [...] become apparent that the goal is to bring out more confidence and aggression with on-the-ball defense and pick-and-rolls. Hunter wants to do that by simplifying the schemes. [...]

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