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Lindsey Hunter watch, day two: "Maybe I'll see you, maybe I won't"

The interim head coach of the Phoenix Suns, Lindsey Hunter, has not heard yet on his future with the Suns organization.


Despite his job being up in the air, with no word either way from management, interim head coach Lindsey Hunter offered up what could very well be his last press conference as coach of the Suns.

On the day that other coaches were fired, including Lawrence Frank and Byron Scott (as well as Doug Collins already being out), the Suns coach was still taking questions and waiting for answers.

The mood was tentative and somber. The usually affable but sometimes combative coach was open and honest about his situation, giving media the sense that he knew this could be his last media session. At one point about ten minutes into the session, PR director Julie Fie tried to steer media away from asking Hunter question after question on his job status, but he answered every question anyway.

"I enjoyed it. I learned a lot," he said of the experience this season. "Very valuable to me getting the experience. Although we didn't win as much as I would have liked, I think there are a lot of positives that happened during my tenure here.

"And I'm just looking for the next step now."

He was asked further about that next step, and offered a candid response.

"Well, I'm going to relax a little bit," he said. "Go watch some AAU basketball, coach my kids and wait and see."

Has heard anything from Lon or Lance yet on his future? "None at all."

Then he put on the tougher facade you have to put on when your future is at someone else's mercy.

"I'm not even really pressed to think about that," he said. "I'll be constantly putting things together, my thoughts and things on paper. Just the typical basketball summer. I don't feel any urgency at all. I trust that they know what they're doing upstairs. They'll make the decision when they feel they need to."

Hunter does not know what criteria will be used when considering his performance, but he hopes it's not just wins and losses. Alvin Gentry was fired for going 13-28 with this club. Hunter was 12-29.

"It better be a lot of it!" he said, to a lot of chuckles. "If it's just wins and losses, I don't have a chance."

Then, as is Hunter's way, he followed the quip with a more complete, yet less complete, answer.

"I'm really not worried about that part of it," he said. "Whatever is supposed to happen, will happen. It's a hard question for me to answer. I'm not the guy making the decision."

Hunter has come to the point where it's okay to admit how far he had to come as a coach, from the first game where he didn't even call a single offensive play.

"I went from not holding the clipboard at all to totally taking over at the end, so that's a big jump," he admitted. "I think throughout the losing, that made my stomach sick at night but I enjoyed the coaching. That's what I do."

Point guard Goran Dragic said Hunter still has a lot further to go in the play calling area.

"We only had two, three actions," Dragic said of the difference between Hunter and Alvin Gentry. "Teams would scout us and make it difficult to run those actions. Alvin always had a play he could draw up to get a good shot."

As far as positives go, Hunter cited the development of three of the younger rotation players.

"Hopefully for the future this will be a step forward in their careers," he said. "Wes Johnson, and Kendall [Marshall] and Markieff [Morris]. Those guys really got a chance to play some meaningful minutes. Those are the small victories."

Hunter's biggest problem may have been not having strong-minded veterans on the team to keep the young guys focused. As a rookie head coach, you're already behind the 8-ball when it comes to respect. If none of the vets are the type to influence the young guys, then you've got nothing.

Marcin Gortat talked of this deficiency (not leaving himself out), and Hunter mentioned that's an area Dragic could develop further.

"That's something he realizes he needs to work on," Hunter said. "He's such a fiery natured tough kid that he often exploded instead of talking through things, and that's part of maturing."

Hunter talked of needing balance on the team, in terms of personality as well as talent. The Suns had none of that this year.

"I've learned to be careful with that," he said. "In the beginning as a young guy, I would always want guys like myself. But you can't have a whole team of rowdy, defensive rough necks. They wouldn't score but 60 points a game, but they'd be good defensively.

"You can't have a bunch of guys out there that's ready to fight every night. It a mix and match. I've learned that. Somebody has to put the ball in the hole."

He also realizes that a set rotation is the real need for a team to be successful, but that you can't just name a rotation for the sake of it.

"You always want a definitive rotation so guys know what is going on," he said. "In the situation we were in, it was tough because we weren't consistently playing well. And when you're not consistently playing well you try to find combinations of guys that can. And unfortunately we were doing that quite a bit. It kind of goes hand in hand. If you think you've got five guys who can consistently get a win, you go with that. We were searching."

At the end of the conference, Lindsey said goodbye.

"Thanks ladies and gentlemen," he said. "Maybe I'll see you, maybe I won't."

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