People sometimes wonder why a guy like Jeff Van Gundy hasn’t checked back into coaching in the NBA, but the answer’s pretty simple – he’s just got it way too easy right now. Instead of catching on with another losing franchise in need of a coach that will only get a group of decent to above average players so far, Jeff gets to hang out at the broadcast booth and say just about anything he wants without ever really being criticized, which is basically the exact opposite of being a coach.
His brother, Stan, on the other hand, will most likely end up in coaching again, as it’s hard for contending teams on the cusp of joining the elite tier to ignore a guy who had a .641 career winning percentage when the Orlando Magic fired him a few months ago. And it’s that very reason that the kid brother in his big boy announcer’s chair is going to keep sticking up for Stan every chance he gets.
Jeff’s latest comments about the Magic front office came on Mike Lupica’s ESPN Radio show, and he basically doesn’t understand why people have faith in this sadsack organization.
“I think long-term if you’re an Orlando Magic fan today is a day where you have to ask yourself is it worth it? Because we’ve had three stars in our time, in Orlando, we had Shaquille O’Neal who went free agency and left. We had Tracy McGrady and he forced his way out and I was the beneficiary of that. Then third you had Dwight Howard who forced his way out. You have to ask yourself, is it worth it? Because even if we get the guys are we going to be able to keep the guys? So much is being made of draft picks. Those draft picks are great if, like Oklahoma City, you have the ability to have the second, third and fourth pick in the draft and get (Kevin) Durant, (Russell) Westbrook, (James) Harden and (Serge) Ibaka. You’ve got to get those picks and then you have to draft the right guys and they’ve got to come together like those guys have and then you have to be able to retain them like Oklahoma City has but Orlando, when they have gotten their best players, whatever reason, it hasn’t worked out and I really, really feel for their fan base. It’s a sad day for the Orlando Magic fan base.” (Via Sports Radio Interviews)
First and foremost…
I agree with Jeff. But I think this conversation needs to be opened wider to represent the fans of the 20 teams that haven’t won NBA titles since 1980. It didn’t work out for Orlando because Otis Smith was handing out bad contracts like Tic-Tacs while the people above him didn’t have a clue what they were doing either, and I’m sure that fans of the Charlotte Bobcats, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, and any other team not named the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, or San Antonio Spurs.
Henry Abbott of True Hoops wrote about the incredible but mostly silent problem with tanking and terrible front office leadership back in March, and it’s one of the more depressing things I’ve read about the NBA since the lockout. It’s definitely something that needs to be addressed more than whether or not David Stern prefers certain teams or if shoe companies are calling the shots behind the curtain. He does and they are, but instead of giving up hope, we really should be asking, “Why? Why do our teams keep hiring complete morons?”