Great Quotes: Stan Van Gundy

Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy had a few thoughts to share about the Miami Heat and how they are reacting to the scrutiny they’re under.

“I do chuckle a little bit when they sort of complain about the scrutiny when they get. My suggestion would be if you don’t want the scrutiny, you don’t hold a championship celebration before you’ve even practiced together. It’s hard to go out yourself and invite that kind of crowd and celebration and attention, and then when things aren’t going well, sort of bemoan the fact that you’re getting that attention. To me, that doesn’t follow.”

Stan Van Gundy

The Heat’s summer celebration (after signing LeBron, Wade and Bosh) raised more than a few eyebrows around the league. I’m sure the players and franchise just wanted to celebrate the fact that they signed all three players, but it clearly didn’t go over very well outside of South Florida.

It is funny that anyone in their position would be surprised at the attention the team is getting. Of course the team is going to be under heavy scrutiny after the summer it had. And when you lose four games in a row, that attention isn’t going to be positive. Man up.

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Where do the Magic go from here?

While it takes more than one player to lose a series, this season was about Vince Carter, and the Magic’s decision to trade for him last summer in lieu of re-signing Hedo Turkoglu. Here’s what I wrote about the move in mid-July:

Let’s see, your team just lost in the Finals — losing two games in overtime — and your main ballhandler is a free agent. What do you do? It’s tough to create the kind of chemistry that gets a team to the Finals, so you re-sign him, right? Not the Orlando Magic, who balked at Hedo Turkoglu’s $10 million-per-season asking price and instead pulled the trigger on a trade for Vince Carter. So essentially they gave up their most consistent player (Turkoglu) and a budding star (Courtney Lee) for the 32-year-old Carter. A healthy Jameer Nelson (along with a savvy mid-level signing) may have been enough to put this Magic team over the top, but now we’ll never know.

Turkoglu has had his problems in Toronto, but on a per minute and per shot basis, he was just about as productive as he was in Orlando. We’ll never know if the Magic would have beaten the Celtics if they had kept their Finals core intact, but one thing is for sure — the Vince Carter move was a bust. Against Boston, he averaged 14-4-2, shot 37% from the field and just 21% from long range. The question remains: Does Vince Carter have what it takes to win an NBA Championship?

If the Magic have learned their lesson, they’ll try to move Carter this summer. He has one more year on his contract (at the tune of $17.5 million) and another year that is a team option. So he essentially has an expiring deal, which could be valuable to a team trying to get out of another big contract. Three trade partners spring to mind…

Perhaps Golden State would be willing to take on Carter’s contract for a year to get out of the four years remaining on Monta Ellis’ (26-4-5, 45% shooting) deal, which would allow the Warriors to fully commit to rebuilding around Stephen Curry. Along with Jameer Nelson, Ellis would give the Magic the league’s smallest backcourt, so that may not be a very good idea.

The 76ers would almost certainly be willing to trade Elton Brand (13-6, 48% shooting), though that would force Rashard Lewis to the three. (Andre Iguodala is another possibility, but the Sixers would want something else in return, like Marcin Gortat.)

Finally, the Wizards would love to unload Gilbert Arenas (23-4-7, 41% shooting), and Carter would take some of the scoring pressure off of rookie John Wall. The move would also create a ton of cap space (for the Wizards) in the summer of 2011 for a possible run at Carmelo Anthony. Arenas would represent another roll of the dice for Orlando, but if he can get back to All-Star form, he could give the Magic the playmaker on the perimeter that they had hoped to find in Carter.

I’m not sure if any of those options sound good to Magic fans, but this is where the team is at with regard to Carter. Given his inability to win in the postseason, no one will want him at his current salary, so the possible trade partners are limited to teams looking to dump a bad contract of their own.

Or the Magic could elect to hold onto Vinsanity and tweak the roster around the edges, hoping that this core has better luck next season. Clearly, that hasn’t been Otis Smith’s style, so I’d expect a big change or two as Orlando tries to find the right players to surround Dwight Howard.

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What Game 4 means for the Magic

Yes, the headline is that they avoided elimination and live to fight another day. Orlando’s odds of advancing have obviously gone up, but just how much? John Hollinger explains…

The good news, however, is that they already accomplished the hardest part by winning Game 4. Teams down 3-0 have struggled mightily in that contest, but those with a home Game 5 haven’t faced as many problems. Historically, home-court advantage teams trailing 3-1 are 43-17 in Game 5, a 71.7 percent success rate.

Should they survive Game 5, 36.7 percent of the home-court-advantage teams facing Game 6 elimination have prevailed. Combine the two probabilities and you get about a 1-in-4 shot for the Magic to become the fourth team in league history to force a seventh game after being down 3-0.

The interesting thing about the Orlando/Boston series is that the Magic have two of the next three games at home. Most teams that fall down 0-3 are inferior to their opponents and probably don’t have home court advantage. But Orlando does have home court advantage and is arguably as talented as Boston. It’s a matter of effort and execution.

Can the Magic come back? Absolutely. If I’m Stan Van Gundy, I tell my team that while it’s true no team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit, it’s going to happen someday, so why not today? It’s a cliche, but cliches exist for a reason — Orlando has to take this series one game at a time.

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Rashard Lewis refuses to enter game

Per the Orlando Sentinel

Controversy brewed during the Orlando Magic’s 120-111 loss to the Utah Jazz on Thursday night when power forward Rashard Lewis said he declined to go back in the game during the second quarter.

Coach Stan Van Gundy was upset and said he had never had a player overrule him.

“(Lewis) didn’t want to go back in. I wanted to put him back in with six minutes to go in the second quarter and he didn’t want to go back in,” Van Gundy said after the Magic (17-5) had their six-game winning streak broken. “He said it was because he had two fouls, and so if you have a guy who doesn’t want to play, I’m not going to get in an argument and put him back in if he doesn’t want to play at that time.

He said, `I’m going to back in and be out in three or four minutes and Ryan (Andersonn) is playing good.’

“I didn’t have time to get into it. It’s rare and I’ve never had that in the first half of a game. I was a little baffled by it.”

Lewis confirmed the story, but said that he wasn’t being defiant. He already had two fouls and he thought that his replacement, Ryan Anderson, was playing really well.


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Van Gundy says NBA age-limit is a “sham”

Five of the 10 starters in last night’s Game 4 skipped college altogether. In his pregame press conference, Stan Van Gundy says that the age-limit is a sham and blasted the NCAA.

Van Gundy was on a roll, decrying the NCAA as “the worst organization going,” and the NBA/NCAA’s one-and-done rule as “a sham,” telling the press that he doesn’t “understand how we got away with [the one-and-done] rule as a league.”

I’m not a fan of the age limit. I understand the goal — to make the NBA a more mature league and (hopefully) increase the quality of the product. But the one-and-done rule is hurting the college game, and it isn’t doing much for the NBA. High school players have a high rate of success in the NBA, so those that get drafted should be allowed to play straight out of high school. If a player doesn’t get drafted, then he should be allowed to attend college. Once he enrolls, he should have to play for a minimum of two years before making himself eligible for the draft again. Case closed.

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