Just because tonight’s game in Portland signifies the unofficial start to the second half of the season for the Suns, don’t expect to see any major changes to the lineup. At least not right away.
Head coach Lindsey Hunter, after shoot around at the Rose Garden, told the media he and his staff aren’t prepared to change their starting lineup even though they’ve considered it.
“No, not yet,” he said with a smile. “We talked about it and tinkered with it. There will be rotations that’ll change. Time will fluctuate a bit for guys. In that way there will probably be changes.”
Just because they aren’t prepared to pull the trigger on any lineup changes now, doesn’t mean fans won’t see them in the near future. But whoever gets the call to start will have to earn the new position and minutes.
“Eventually something is going to change,” Hunter said. “If guys continue to play well things will change. There has to be consistency in somebodies play to deserve to be promoted into the starting lineup. I don’t think it’s a big deal. Finishing games is the bigger concern for us and getting our guys to focus.”
The team will get their first chance to impress coach Hunter and finish a game on a high note tonight in Portland at 8:00 pm on FOX Sports Arizona and Arizona Sports 620.
Usually when someone gets defensive it’s a negative thing. For Lindsey Hunter and the Suns, it might just be what the doctor — or at least the front office — ordered.
Since Hunter and his staff took over, the team’s main focus has been on improving their defense.
“We’re going to work on our foundation,” Hunter said. “I know if the foundation is solid everything else will be a little easier to incorporate.”
Building that foundation will take hard work and time. Two things Hunter and his players are willing to put in.
“When you can get everybody understanding every single concept that’s when it becomes really good,” the coach explained. “That’s the hardest part. Getting all five guys that are on the floor on the same page. That takes a lot of work and repetition. We do it every practice, every shoot around, every day. That’s what we do. We go over it and drill it until it becomes second nature.”
Once it becomes second nature for his team, he thinks it’ll have a positive effect on the opposite site of the ball as well.
“I really want to focus on us being a solid defensive team,” Hunter said. “I think when we start to get there it takes a lot of pressure off your offense.”
Key to the Game
Coach Hunter shared his keys to the game.
“Aldredge and Lillard are keys to trying to slow those guys down,” he said. “Those two guys they score a lot of them. They depend on those guys night in and night out and they produce. We have a challenge ahead of us with those guys.”
Hunter on Lillard
Hunter, a former NBA point guard himself, shared his thoughts on Portland’s rookie.
“I was impressed with him from the first time I scouted him. It was hard to believe watching a guy that young for the first time how poised he was, how effortlessly he did thing and how seemingly unrattled he was. He kept doing it throughout the entire draft process. To see how it transferred for that kid is good to see.”