On the Sunday morning of his team's midseason revival interlude, Phoenix Suns general manager Lance Blanks provided the crucial "Amen!" moment. "I think the simple answer is that the organization needed a jolt," Blanks said. "We needed something that would shock the system." For the record, this was a compound jolt administered to the players, coaches and fans of the 13-28 Suns. It began with the mutual decision to relieve Alvin Gentry of his head coaching duties and then bestow the interim tag upon Lindsey Hunter on Sunday. Hunter, in his first season as the team's director of player development, played in the league for 17 seasons, retired in 2010 and has never been a bench coach on any level. "Being a basketball junkie has prepared me for this," Hunter said. "My entire life has been surrounded by this game. It never gets old to me." Hunter's ascension means Blanks — backed by owner Robert Sarver and president of basketball ops Lon Babby — passed on handing the gig to Suns assistants Elston Turner, Dan Majerle and Igor Kokoskov. While Hunter spent Sunday morning conducting his first practice (it went swimmingly, by all accounts) on the practice floor at US Airways Center, Turner was in another section of the arena. Majerle wasn't in the arena, according to reports, and Kokoskov was on the floor working. Blanks said all three were offered the opportunity to remain with the team as assistant coaches, but he left further commenting on the coaching staff to Hunter. "It's still up in the air," Hunter said. "I'm not at liberty to speak about it." For now, Hunter will proceed toward Wednesday's game against the Kings in Sacramento with holdovers Kokoskov, Noel Gillespie and Corey Gaines (head coach of the WNBA's Mercury and a Suns assistant) on the bench with him. So, with the jolting done, everyone else interested in the Suns now can sit back and wonder why Hunter was chosen. First of all, actual coaching — believe it or not — isn't a drop-dead requirement for being good at coaching relatively soon. But it certainly helps. And just having been an NBA player doesn't guarantee coaching success, either. There are several successful NBA coaches who didn't play anywhere near this level.
Experience? Suns go for 'jolt' with Hunter
Fox Sports Arizona | Jan 21