Anybody remember when the Arizona Diamondbacks fired Bob Melvin and hired A.J. Hinch?
At last check, Melvin earned AL Manager of the Year honors and just received a multi-year contract extension from Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, who might know a lil’ bit about baseball.
Conversely, Hinch then joined the San Diego Padres as VP of professional scouting and hasn’t sniffed the dugout since.
So, to answer our own question — I didn’t remember a single thing about A.J. Hinch. That is, until the Phoenix Suns fired Alvin Gentry and promoted Lindsey Hunter.
Back in 2009, D-backs management and ownership promoted Hinch ahead of qualified and accomplished baseball men, like Kirk Gibson. #GibbyBall.
In the Suns organization, Hunter just vaulted past 14-year NBA assistant Elston Turner and franchise icon Dan Majerle, who has been an NBA assistant for more than four years, along with serving as the Suns head coach in the NBA Summer League for four years. Hinch… err, Lindsey Hunter wrapped up his playing career in 2010 and then joined the Suns as player-development coordinator.
Hinch had never coached or managed a single professional game. #OrganizationalAdvocacy.
Similarly, Lindsey Hunter’s coaching experience includes helping out with his son’s high school team. #OhBrother! (Cue the Al McCoy sound efx).
Anybody remember how the A.J. Hinch era ended with the D-backs? Uh, let’s just say the “D” in D-back stood for disaster and dysfunction.
Where do we think the Suns are headed? Dare we say that maybe, just maybe, the Suns are pointed exactly where owner Robert Sarver intends — possessing the most ping-pong balls as possible in the NBA Draft hopper.
How else do you possibly explain entrusting a roster full of misfits and castoffs to an uber-rookie head coach?
Then again, perhaps the perfect fit for a roster that features nine new players, not a single go-to guy in crunch time and zero superstars just happens to be a head coach whose grease board still has the price tag on it.
In an interview posted on the Suns team web site, Hunter is quoted as saying about his entry level player-development coordinator position: “I’m still finding my way, meeting new people every day and just learning…I think it was just a perfect time for me to fall into a good situation.”
That was exactly seven months ago.
Looks like Hunter just managed to fall upward again. And if the Suns keep losing (by design?) and plunging in the standings, then all those extra ping-pong balls might just yield oceanfront property in the desert.
On Planet Orange, this approach is known as the Failing Upward game plan.