He went from the guy anointed to replace Isiah Thomas to the older player Chauncey Billups trusted most when Billups was being put through the emotional ringer by Larry Brown.

Now, former Piston Lindsey Hunter is taking on a new role: interim coach of the Phoenix Suns. Former teammate Tayshaun Prince isn't shocked Hunter was tabbed to replace Alvin Gentry.

"I can understand why (he was selected)," Prince said. "Great mind, motivator, great passion and they'll see that. Taking over a team that's struggling is different."

The Suns have gone from perennial contenders during the Steve Nash era to the worst record in the Western Conference.

Although Hunter is an interim coach, Prince believes his infectious spirit will enable him to connect to the players.

"Today's game isn't just about coaching," Prince said. "You gotta fire these young guys up and have them ready to play. It's so many other things involved other than X's and O's."

Hunter, 42, spent two stints with the Pistons after they drafted him 10th overall in 1993. He served as a bridge between the Thomas and Billups eras.

Prince said Brown, who coached the Pistons' 2004 title team, consistently sought Hunter's counsel and input during crucial stretches.

"Whether Coach Brown thought it was the right idea or wrong idea, he just wanted to hear his perspective because Lindsey has so much knowledge," Prince said. "When you play the game that long and have been though that many things, you knew how he played the game he could fire guys up."

Hunter was a member of that deep 2004 team and even though he didn't have a huge role, he was respected in the locker room, unafraid to call his team out when necessary.

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130122/SPORTS0102/301220329#ixzz2IiW3rArM