USA TODAY Sports
With the team coming home after there consecutive loses on the road they hit the practice court before their final home game before the All-Star Festivities. I talked to Jared Dudley and Interim Head Coach Lindsey Hunter.
The Phoenix Suns record leaves them susceptible to round the clock trade rumor coverage. That is what happens when you are 17-34 on the season with a few assets that could help a contender with an inverse record. This is uncharted water for the Suns as a team and uncharted water for Interim Head Coach Lindsey Hunter.
Then again, everything at this point is uncharted water for Hunter.
What did they do?
Despite the performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder the other night and the fact that they are playing them tonight, the team did not askew their agenda for the frequent opponent.
On the season the Suns are 0-3 against the Thunder who are on their well on their way to another trip deep into the Playoffs, but they have done what all good teams should do against bad teams; take them out with authority. In the three games this season the Thunder have beaten the Suns by a margin of 20.3 points per game.
"We are still learning a lot," Hunter on getting the team where he wants them. "We are still teaching and trying to sure up our defense and build on the system that we have in place. That takes a lot, as simple as it is, it takes a lot."
That system so far has been up-and-down to start, but a 4-6 mark is a lot more that what most were predicting for Hunter coming into his first job on any level as a head coach. Part of getting his team to play the brand of basketball that he feels will win games is getting the coaching staff on board. They are already helping him along the way, but they are slowly adapting to his style.
"I think they are getting to know me and the things that I like," said Hunter about the staff. "We all have to be in it for this."
For this game in particular, do not expect many changes.
"We coach through the games, said Hunter. "I don't worry about solidifying what we do, because no matter who we play we are going to do what we do. When we get it and understand it then it won't matter the scheme or the play the opponent is running because we are going to guard it the same way. There may be some tactical things we are going to change, but our foundation will never change."
Tactical changes are needed, but that may be more due to roster composition and overall talent level rather than Hunter's ability to coach and teach.
For what it is worth Hunter is doing a serviceable job so far, but the job that needs to be done is in the front office where the trade winds are blowing and it appears, at least on the surface, that some moves are to be had.
None to speak of, looks like the team is as healthy as they have been all season with Jermaine O'Neal back and everyone off of the mend heading into All-Star Weekend.
Interim Coach Lindsey Hunter on Trade Rumors:
I haven't even heard any trade rumors. I have been in here trying to get better. My job is to coach and get guys better and get our team better, that is what I will do. I don't get involved in any of the other things unless they ask me. We all realize this is a business, I was a player once and I was traded a couple of times, it is nothing personal. It is just business and I think guys understand that now.
More Coach Hunter on responding to a loss like the last one:
I hope they didn't handle it like I did, but it is a part of basketball. That is a part of learning how to play at that level because when you are facing a team that is as good as they are, they were in the Finals last year, so it is not by mistake that they are that good. They are a great team and I love challenges like that and I love playing against teams like that because it shows you where you have to go. It shows you what it takes to get there. Hopefully it was an eye-opening experience for our guys to see how hard and how much work it takes to get there. If we are serious about getting there then we will go about our business to get there.
Jared Dudley on Trade Rumors:
100% Compliment. I never take it as a negative, because at one point and time Phoenix couldn't have paid me and look at that. A couple of years ago I got my contract and I was happy with that. You get that to have security so that if you ever get traded you are fine. For me it is always a compliment where my name comes up, before I was a throw-in. I think I have worked on my game now to where I can be a good piece or asset for the Suns or any team.
JD elaborated on where he gets his information on trades about himself,
I don't really talk to my agent about that, but anytime he ever calls me I know it is serious, but he hasn't called me. Anytime you get to HoopsHype, and I don't really read stuff like that, but most of my stuff is on Twitter. I have already had half of New York hit me up, but you never know.
The 2013 NBA Draft Update
As of today the team is slotted in the 5th spot and the 13th spot in the draft if it were to happen today. The 13th pick comes via the Los Angeles Lakers who are playing sub-playoff quality basketball hence the swap of the pick.
Here are the players they are taking in the current Mock Draft:
Prospects to consider: Otto Porter, Michael Carter-Williams, and Marcus Smart