Minutes after the final buzzer of a 113-86 loss to the Garnett-less, Rondo-less Boston Celtics, at home, hosting a team just 8-17 on the road and losers of two straight, Lindsey Hunter realized just how hard his job is going to be.
It smacked him in the face.
And it rained down on him from the stands, which happened to be full of Celtics fans on this night. By late in the fourth quarter, they were cheering louder than at most any time of this long, dreadful season. Except they were cheering for the Celtics, who hit everything they put up because it felt like a home game to them.
"That is totally unacceptable, coaching wise and player wise," he ranted. "The way we performed tonight, that cannot happen. I know people say all the time you cannot coach effort. I disagree because I am responsible and I feel like if I got to coach effort then that is what I have to do."
Teams often take on the persona of their coach, and Lindsey Hunter's career was defined by a defense-oriented moxie that wouldn't take any crap from anyone.
These Suns are nothing like that player, and that's why Hunter is here despite having no coaching experience.
"They had no respect for us," he continued. "I mean that is embarrassing. One of their Hall of Famers didn't play and they still come in here and smack you around like a punching bag and you are at home and there is no resistance.
"That is just not who I am and that is not who this team will be. "
"Whatever we have to do, whatever method, it will be done," he continued. "If guys [in the rotation] think they are entitled, then they won't play. If we have to pull guys out for not making rotations, then we will shuffle the deck until we find guys that are going to do what we have to do. Simple as that."
At this point in the season, making a fundamental change in the way a team plays the game of basketball is a tough thing to do. Games come fast and furious, and there's only two months left in the season.
But Hunter isn't buying any of those excuses.
"I guarantee you we will change or we will be practicing until they kick us out of the gym. Disrespectful, that's what I take that as. Just being disrespected.
"My father always told my always demand respect and while I am here we are going to work until we learn how to demand respect and I do not care how long it takes. I do not care how guys think we are going too hard or too long. Too bad."
From this point on, we will see what kind of coach Lindsey Hunter is. We will see if he can impose his will, his style on this team. In Hunter's mind, the Suns would scratch and claw from the opening tip to the final buzzer every single night.
That's what to watch for the rest of the season.
How much conviction and control does Lindsey Hunter have over his team? Does he really have the stones and latitude to bench some talented players for lack of effort? Can he really play Diante Garrett 30 minutes a night, while a high-paid guy watches the whole game from the bench?
Hunter is looking for effort. Consistent effort.
Let's see what he can do.