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It’s All In The Game: Superstar Lindsey Hunter?

In a league filled with superstars like LeBron, Kobe, Yao

and T-Mac, it is really easy to forget about some of the other players. I like

to think of myself as a basketball junkie that appreciates the players in the

league that don’t get Sports

Center coverage or

endorsement deals. That is why I am surprised that in all my years following

the NBA, I have failed to recognize the talent of Lindsey Hunter.

 

I was sitting on my couch last week watching the

Spurs/Pistons game and I started noticing the things Hunter does on the floor –

things that have kept him in the league for the past 15 years. He only played six

minutes, but in that short time, he was locking up Tony Parker, scrapping for

loose balls and taking it the ball hard to the rim. He was running around like

he was 22.

 

So, today I decided I’m going to pay homage to the solid NBA

vet.

 

I know I may be opening myself up for some criticism for

dedicating a column on Lindsey Hunter. A guy who is averaging 2.1 points and

1.6 assists per game. Or a guy who has never been close to making an All Star

team. Or someone who is 37 years of age. But if you think about it, his career

is pretty amazing.

 

Drafted in the first round in the ’93 Draft, he is the sole

member of that draft class still in the NBA. This is the same class that

included the likes of Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Allen Houston, Shawn

Bradley, Jamal Mashburn and J.R. Rider. I mean, that’s 1993! He’s been playing

in the league since Karl Kani’s were in and The

Chronic was the Number One album in the country… and I was in junior high!

 

Only Shaq, Mutombo, Zo, Sam Cassell and Robert Horry have

more longevity than Hunter – and most of those guys were All Star-caliber

players. As a back-up point guard the majority of his career, Hunter has kept

himself in the league with hard work, but most importantly, his ability to

adapt.

 

Lindsey spent his first seven seasons in Detroit, where he

backed Isaiah Thomas the first few years and used his lightning quickness to

get his points and set up teammates. Near the end of his tenure with the Pistons,

he morphed into a three-point specialist where he canned 168 treys in 1999-00

season and hit another 152 the next season in Milwaukee.

 

After brief stints with the Lakers and Raptors, Lindsey

returned to the motor city, where he returned to playing point and providing

veteran leadership at the position. He also made himself an asset through his

scrappy defensive skills – where he consistently ranks among the league best

for steals per 48 minutes. He has been a member of two championship teams with Detroit.  

 

This year, Hunter’s numbers have not been great – he has

only appeared in 17 games and has spent several games on the inactive list. But

when his number has been called, he has provided a spark off the bench. He

showed in the San Antonio

game last Thursday that he is still gritty, savvy and has some quickness left

in him. No doubt, Detroit

is saving him for the postseason where he will be an important piece to their

run. And that is why he is still on that team.

 

He’s not one of those novelty guys who are only still

playing because of their past stardom and to help sell tickets. Hunter is there

because he can play, and he can still help the Pistons.

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