Get to Know Lindsey Hunter
Posted: June 20, 2012
Break down Lindsey Hunter’s 17-year NBA career and it becomes obvious why the Phoenix Suns have invested in him to be an integral part of the Player Development staff.
There’s the fact that Hunter’s teams were in the playoffs 12 of the 17 years he was in the league. Then consider that he had a role on the 2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers championship squad. Next, take into account he earned a reputation as a pesky on-the-ball defender. Finally, consider the fact that he ran the point, got others involved and played as a true teammate.
But ask Hunter what has led him to this position with the Suns, and his answer is simplified. He’s a basketball lifer.
"It’s what I like to do, it’s enjoyable to me," Hunter said. “I’m always around the game. I’m always around the gym. Even when I wasn’t playing, I had my boys in the gym. I can’t help it. I spend numerous hours in the gym. I think it’s in my DNA."
Hunter retired from the NBA in 2010 and dedicated the ensuing year to his family. Other than basketball, he said that his wife, Ivy, and three children – sons Lindsey III, 16 years old, and Caleb, 11, along with daughter Cydney, 13 – take up the rest of his attention.
The former point guard now sounds ready to delve into his new job as an assistant of player development – after first being hired as a scout in March. Hunter appreciates the opportunity to work with the players on a day-to-day basis, in an effort to help the organization build an atmosphere of hard work and improvement with the ultimate goal of an NBA championship in mind.
Hunter broke down the responsibilities of his position, how he is approaching his new job and what he is learning about the current Suns players in this exclusive interview with Suns.com.
Suns.com: You mentioned how important your family is to you, so how did you guys come to the decision to come to Phoenix and how has that transition gone?
Lindsey Hunter: They’re still in Michigan because I’m still kind of back and forth right now. Until I get settled, we’ll be making decisions on our living situation, moving and all those sorts of things.
The decision to come here was made easy because of (Suns General Manager) Lance (Blanks), and the relationship I’ve developed with him. I think the work ethic that he sees in me, the passion, made for a great match with this organization.
I was just thankful, because you don’t always end up with a situation that you feel is great for you. This one is.
Suns.com: Did you have a connection with Lance before you started here?
Hunter: I think we probably knew each other, but more through mutual friends and that sort of thing. Really it was Joe Dumars. That was our mutual friend and that’s how we got connected because we were both close to Joe.
Suns.com: When you talk about guys like Joe Dumars, who do you think back on as major influences on your career in the league?
Hunter: I think the biggest influence in my life is my dad (Lindsey Sr.). He’s the guy who taught me at a young age that hard work is what you hang your hat on, regardless of what you do. That is the thing that I based my career, my life and everything on. I’m not saying it guarantees you success at what you do, but if you don’t work hard then it can guarantee that you won’t be successful. So that’s kind of how I carry on with my business.
Suns.com: How have you become accustomed to things here with the Suns?
Hunter: I’m still finding my way, meeting new people every day and just learning. But it just seems like an environment that seems conducive to us growing, and that’s exciting because we’re learning what it takes to win at a high level in a new NBA era. I think it was just a perfect time for me to fall into a good situation.
Suns.com: So how would you describe your main focus in the role that you play for the Suns?
Hunter: My main focus is to make sure we give each and every one of our players a great opportunity to enhance their skill level. Hopefully, if we get our guys better here during the offseason, it will have the effect we want on the court. I know everyone looks at the offseason as to what trades you can make or free agents you can sign in an effort to get better right away - for instant gratification - but it first starts here. If we can do that part successfully, the rest of that stuff will take care of itself.
Suns.com: How have you gone about introducing yourself to the players and building relationships with them? And has anyone stood out to you in terms of your relationship with them and how you can work together?
Hunter: Being that it’s the summer, a lot of the guys are scattered right now. I’ve reached out over the phone, and luckily a lot of the guys know me anyway. So that’s made it a no-brainer and really easy for me.
What’s next for me is to learn how guys want to work, what work they put in and helping them make the most of their time. I have to learn from our coaches what are some of the things that guys need to improve upon, and I’ll be working hand-in-hand with them to implement things that will allow us to maximize what we can do for the guys.
Suns.com: There have been some players here, like Jared Dudley, who have made their career out of hard work in the offseason by changing their body and changing their game. Has anybody stood out to you in terms of what they put into the game in order to improve?
Hunter: I think just watching Markieff (Morris) work, and watching Bassy (Sebastian Telfair) work, I think they are starting to understand what it takes. For Markieff, especially because he is just getting over his rookie year, it’s really important for him to get it as fast as possible. The faster he gets it – it being, investing in himself and in his future – it will make him even more of an asset. And it will make us better.
Suns.com: What do you think is the most important thing for you moving forward right now? Is it just about building relationships? And how will the rest of your summer play out with the team?
Hunter: It is definitely about building relationships right now. It’ll definitely be busy. I will be at the summer leagues, continually learning our guys and continually trying to find ways for them to get better. That will be my constant on a daily basis: whatever we can do to help our guys get better, we’ll do it.
We have a great owner who is willing to invest in our guys, and we have to take advantage of that because I’ve been in places where that hasn’t necessarily been the case. It’ll be up to me to let guys know that you have a great opportunity, and now is the time to take advantage of it.