Is Stan Van Gundy To Blame?
The Orlando Magic had a disappointing end to a season in which they had hoped to get over the hump and make a return to the NBA Finals to win the championship. Just a few weeks ago, this team was on a fourteen-game winning streak and undefeated in the playoffs heading into a series against the aging Boston Celtics. But contrary to popular belief, the Celtics were the better team and the Magic’s offense imploded. The Magic live and die by the three-point shot, similar to Duke in college basketball, and the Celtics defense was able to contain the dribble penetration and eliminate the open kick-outs to the perimeter.
For them to have a big man down low in the paint like Dwight Howard and not build an offense around him is absurd! I am not pointing fingers at Stan Van Gundy because he is a great coach and has the track record to prove it, but failing to give enough post touches down the stretch to the best player on your team doesn’t make any sense. Now that he has the whole offseason to sit back and think about how he can improve this team, hopefully he can figure it out and right the ship or else Orlando could be looking for a new coach this time next season.
Stan Van Gundy joined WQAM in Miami to talk about whether he thinks there is an executive in the NBA that has an incredible eye for talent more so than anyone else, someone that he thinks he better at drafting talent than other franchises around the NBA, and some of the questionable calls on Dwight Howard during the Bobcats series.
Whether he thinks there is an executive in the NBA that has an incredible eye for talent more so than anyone else: “Oh wow, I mean I think there are people who if you really sat down and analyzed, have gotten better results which means they have done a better job over a long period of time. But I don’t know who that is right now off the top of my head and I do know that there is nobody who hasn’t done it very long who hasn’t missed several times too. So it is for anybody, not a perfect art, but I do think there are some people who are more successful than others but I haven’t really analyzed that to be honest.”
Whether he would rather be lucky or good at drafting superstars:
“Well I think it is both. Here is the thing, Chris Bosh was the fourth pick, Wade fifth, Ok. So Wade has been a little better but you didn’t go wrong with Chris Bosh. The only thing that went wrong earlier in that draft was Darko Milicic. That is where it went wrong. I don’t think you get LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, you know you are in good shape. That is sort of how I have looked at those things too. It is not so much. Did you get the best possible scenario with your guy at that pick? I think that you can survive and do well even if you don’t. What hurts you is that when you get one of those really high picks and you get a guy that just isn’t productive at all, like Detroit got Darko Milicic. That hurts your franchise when you have got the number two pick and you get nothing for it. But the fact that you get Chris Bosh instead of Dwayne Wade, your franchise can still thrive with that.”
On someone that he thinks he better at drafting talent than other franchises around the NBA
“I will come up with a name for you, now I am not saying that he is the best because I don’t know. But a guy that I have been impressed with is Geoff Petrie with Sacramento. What impresses me with Geoff is you can look at a lot of his middle of the first round picks, Peja Stojakovic, Hedo Turkoglu, more lately even thought they haven’t become great yet but Jason Thompson, Spencer Hawes. I mean I think he is a guy that has rarely bombed out in picking guys even though he hasn’t had really high picks and I think a big part of it is, Geoff Petrie narrows it down. He sort of knows what he is looking for. He wants a combination of size at the position and skill, not always the most athletic guy but he is looking for size and skill. He has sort of got a formula and that has served him very, very well. I don’t know if that makes him the bet. Again, I haven’t sat down and analyzed everybody’s picks but he is a guy, who I do know has done consistently well in the draft.”
On some of the questionable calls on Dwight Howard during the Bobcats Series:
“Well you know, look, here is the thing now. You can only go so far with all of these conspiracy things because everybody would agree that last year if the league had a bias, they certainly would have rather had Cleveland in the NBA Finals against L.A. than us. We played very well and it still comes down to, I mean I have never seen anything blatant in an NBA game. That is why it took them so long to catch Tim Donaghy. It is just so many of the calls can go either way. Like I said, we are biased as coaches and there are times where I don’t think we are getting a great whistle but I have never felt like, ‘Hey, it doesn’t matter what we do today. There is nothing to win.’ You can always play well enough to win and we played well enough in the Cleveland series to win and I had a lot of people telling me that the league wants Cleveland to win. I don’t even know if that is true but they certainly don’t have control over who wins, they don’t!”