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Lindsey Hunter: Suns are still learning how to play

LISTEN: Lindsey Hunter , Suns Head Coach

Michael Beasley said he stopped listening to people, including his coaches.

Luis Scola said the Phoenix Suns “don’t know how to play basketball.”

Suns coach Lindsey Hunter said he doesn’t really listen to Beasley, but that it’s common knowledge if the players don’t do what the coaches want, they won’t play.

But the coach, who was a guest of Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Friday, said Scola’s take has some truth behind it.

“We have a bunch of young guys who we’re trying to teach a lot of basic things to,” Hunter said. “And not that they don’t know how to play, but at this level there are certain things that are expected of you and you’re almost expected to know that we’re still teaching.”

Hunter said that can get in the way of progress and growth, but it’s necessary and the team cannot skip any steps in trying to get its youth up to speed.

So for a veteran like Scola, or any other on the team, it may be a bit frustrating losing games because the team, in a sense, does not know how to play the game.

But that’s how it is for the Suns, who at 24-55 are long gone from the playoff conversation.

“A lot of times you take for granted, those things, and we can’t,” Hunter said of some of the basic stuff his players still have to learn. “That’s why, all along, I’ve said whatever I have to coach, I’ll coach, regardless to what it is, how simplistic we think it is, or things we think our guys should know.

“If they don’t, then it’s my responsibility to coach it, and that’s the tedious part of it that people don’t understand and don’t see.”

Hunter pointed to the idea of the “strong side” and “weak side” of the floor as something he’s had to teach. He said one of the things he’s learned in his time on the job is that he cannot be shocked by what his players don’t know; all he can do is teach, no matter how simple the coaches think it is or how surprised they are that the player may not know it.

But, the coach acknowledged that he’s in a results-based industry, and it’s difficult to see anything positive right now. But, he maintains improvements have been made with the players, at least as far as an understanding of the game is concerned.

“I’m really happy with with some of the progress our guys have made, but we still have a long way to go.”