Already there are coaching vacancy signs up in Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia.
Phoenix may or may not be next.
There had been no decision — one way or the other — on Lindsey Hunter’s interim status as players cleaned out their lockers Thursday morning following the second-worst season in franchise history.
“I think he did a pretty good job,” Marcin Gortat said.
Hunter, who went 12-29, was the team’s player development coordinator at the time he was named Alvin Gentry’s replacement on January 20.
He had no coaching experience prior to the move.
“We switched starting lineups a lot,” Jared Dudley said. “It was just difficult to define our roles. That’s something that not only he will improve on, I think we need to improve on as an organization, where you got to define roles: Who’s our scorers? What’s your role off the bench? When are you going to come in? All the good teams have that.”
Players, including Dudley, mentioned Hunter preached and expected discipline.
“He was really strict,” Goran Dragic said. “He was fining players if they didn’t do their jobs. That was a good sign.”
Dragic appreciated the accountability.
“We are a young team so we need that,” he said. “Maybe in the past we have so many veteran players like Steve (Nash), Grant (Hill). They are professionals. They know what they have to do, but with the young players you have to be on them all the time.”
Dragic cited improved practice habits as an example.
“Before when coaches were talking everybody was talking. They didn’t pay attention,” he said. “Then when you play the games we didn’t know what you have to do in certain situations. That was frustrating for everybody, including the coaches, players. That’s why when Lindsey took over, he was saying that he was going to fine a lot of players if they are not going to listen.”
How the increased discipline factored into the team’s on-court performance is hard to quantify.
• Eight of the 12 victories came against teams with winning records
• Twenty of the 29 losses were by double figures, including ten losses by 20 or more
“He tried to keep the discipline a little bit better than Alvin,” Gortat said, “but at the end of the day, the wins count the most and we didn’t have too many wins.”