Updated Jan 20, 2013 - 1:35 pm
Suns GM Lance Blanks: Lindsey Hunter 'gives us a jolt'
But Sunday, the 17-year NBA veteran was given the reigns of a struggling 13-28 Phoenix Suns team for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.
While the Suns front office had plenty of veteran options in assistant coaches Elston Turner, Dan Majerle and Igor Kokoskov, Hunter was tagged with the interim label and tasked with replacing Alvin Gentry, because Phoenix general manager Lance Blanks said he needed to respond to the wishes of the players.
"Lindsey will lead the group for the next 41 games or so," Blanks said Sunday. "We believe for what's needed he's the right choice. Beyond those 41 games, we don't know."
Hunter previously worked for the organization as a scout before being named the player development coordinator in August 2012. Before coming to Phoenix, Hunter worked for the Chicago Bulls in a similar capacity.
Because Hunter is just two years removed from his playing career, Blanks believes the two-time NBA champion might be the perfect leader for a team floundering in basement of the Western Conference.
"The organization needed a jolt," said Blanks. "We needed something that would shock the system for us and the players. Risk trumps safety in this business. We felt this was the right person to take the risk on."
Hunter, who played for the likes of Phil Jackson and Larry Brown, will be expected to do one thing during the second half of the season.
"I think the word is accountability," said Blanks when asked what he wants to see from Hunter. "We're looking for him to hold each player accountable. To hold the balance of his staff accountable. We'll challenge him in that. And he'll challenge us I'm sure."
A so-called "youth movement" was discussed in the days leading up to Gentry's departure on Friday, and when asked about whether such a move was coming, Blanks suggested that Hunter will have final say.
"Ultimately, Lindsey will have to make those decisions with our support," said Blanks. "We're not the ones in the trenches every night. He'll be the one that's doing that."
Hunter's first game won't be until Wednesday night in Sacramento, but already his new coaching staff is in a state of flux.
Majerle and Turner weren't present at Sunday's practice, although Blanks said both were offered to the opportunity to remain in their roles. When reached by Arizona Sports 620's Craig Grialou, Turner admitted that he was weighing all of his options.
Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- Suns guard Goran Dragic limited as Slovenia routed by United States in World Cup exhibition
- Report: Phoenix Suns reach out to Minnesota Timberwolves about an Eric Bledsoe-Kevin Love trade
- Phoenix Suns don't have a point guard in top ten of WARP projections
- Phoenix Suns 2014 preseason schedule released
- The Pulse: Most say Eric Bledsoe and agent Rich Paul are at fault for contract standoff with Phoenix Suns
- Lionel Hollins, head coach Brooklyn Nets - Wednesday August 27The head coach of the Brooklyn Nets joins Doug & Wolf for the ASU Sun Devil Fork Report.
- Kirk Gibson, D-backs manager - Tuesday August 26D-backs manager Kirk Gibson discusses possible changes to a six-man rotation.
- Paul Coro - azcentral sports Suns writer - Tuesday August 26Paul Coro discusses Eric Bledsoe still being a restricted free agent.
- Chris Sheridan- sheridanhoops.com - Tuesday August 19Chris Sheridan believes there is one team that could easily make a max contract offer to Eric Bledso
- Who impressed/who depressed - Monday August 18Dan and Vince look back at who impressed and depressed them over the weekend.