Well, Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has come to a decision with his starting lineup but he wouldn't disclose who the starters will be against the Philadelphia 76ers to the assembled media after practice was over this afternoon. It appears everyone will wait and see on opening night at the Amway Arena, which is only two days away.
I was able to speak with Van Gundy amongst the media and Marcin Gortat one-on-one.
Here's what they had to say:
Stan Van Gundy:
How much film have you watched in preparation for the Philadelphia game?
Just normal, nothing ... same as you do for of the other 82 games.
In terms of offenses, is there a trend in the NBA that's taking over in terms of offensive styles?
There's actually pretty good variety now, I think. I think that there's variety in styles of play and offense, I still think there's some teams who primarily want to play half-court, sort of grind the game out. There's fewer and fewer of those but there are some and I think there's the teams in the other extreme, Phoenix and New York, that just want to fly up and down and score as many points as possible. There's a lot of people in between and then within the half-court offense, I think there's basically everything. Every night there's something a little bit different. You know that you're always going to have to defend pick & rolls, post-ups, and guys coming off screens, it's just everybody does it a little different.
For the Sixers, how important is it to contain Andre Iguodala and some of the other guys?
Well, I mean, I think they have a lot of people that can hurt you. I mean, obviously, Iguodala and Brand are the best-known but certainly Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, [Jason] Kapono, Willie Green, all of those guys are very, very capable. [Marreese] Speights has been tremendous, he had over 30 [points] in one of the pre-season games. They have a lot of guys who can hurt you and they have a lot of guys with a real scoring mentality. Lou Williams is a guy who scored 3,300 points in high school. I mean, every guy for them when they get the ball is looking to score and they have a lot of athletic ability, lot of quickness. I mean, Iguodala and Brand have the best reputations but I think they have a lot of ways to hurt you.
Defensively, do you expect Philadelphia to single Dwight and stay home on the shooters?
I don't know what Eddie [Jordan] will do. He's done a little bit of both in the past. Again, what he's going to do is mix it up all the time. I mean, we're very different in our approaches to defense. With us, you pretty much know exactly what we're going to do every night defensively, we're going to come out and stay in our defense and try to play it well. We're not trying to confuse anybody or anything else but with Eddie, they're trying to change up a lot and confuse you and everything else so I don't know exactly what we'll see but we'll see a lot of different things.
More after the jump.
What's the focus in practice been with what you guys are trying to do against the 76ers?
We got to get ready for the press attack. That's a team that plays different than a lot of teams in the league. It's hard matchups, those guys I will say are pretty mobile, pretty athletic team, they penetrate very well, and just getting ready. Basically, we got to play our defense, make sure we got out rotations, our coverages good, and just do our thing on offense.
I know that they gave you guys a little bit of trouble in the playoffs with their athleticism. Do you expect the same thing from them this year even though they've brought back Elton Brand and some other people?
Yeah, they're going to have Elton Brand back so they'll definitely be stronger under the basket and it's obviously going to be harder. I think they are a better team, they have a better team this year, and obviously some of those guys are better too so it's going to be hard but I still believe we're the better team. We have potential on the team, so many guys on the team, such a deep bench that the second unit has to go out and do everything that's possible to get stops and just play offense.
I know that you've talked about the second unit, that there's a lot of talent in that group, how important is it for guys when you come into the game, to outmatch some of the other benches in the league?
Well, that's how you win a championship, actually. The starting lineup might be good, might be great. Last year, we could have a bad starting lineup against L.A. but the bench was the main thing that was actually killing us in the Finals so I would say that we have to step up, everybody. Me and everybody else got to step up and we just got to play harder.
How big of a difference-maker can the bench be for games when sometimes the starters aren't playing well?
Well, every night somebody is going to be out of his game and we're not going to have every night like the last game [against the Atlanta Hawks], where every short [went in] and we're scoring 130 points. Some guys will play well, some guys will not, but those guys who are not playing well, who are not hitting shots, they got to focus on doing different things. Those little things, details - setting screens, play defense, try to get a rebound, hustle plays, and just try to do everything that's possible to help the team.
For the new guys, how have their personalities been able to mesh with the current players?
They're great. To be honest, I've never met an NBA player who was an (expletive) or who was stupid. NBA players are selected very carefully so I don't think this team ... I think this team was selected perfectly. There's a bunch of guys over there in the office who are controlling everything and I don't think they would bring a guy who's a guy that's not going to connect with us. Second thing, having Dwight [Howard] and Jameer [Nelson] on the team makes it impossible, it's impossible, to not have a good atmosphere on the team. It's impossible.
I know that Ryan Anderson talked about enjoy hanging out with each other.
Oh yeah, most of this stuff starts on the away trips because when we're at home, everybody got their own family, everybody got girlfriends, wives, so I think everything starts on an away trip. I'm doing most of these things on away trips, getting together with J.J. [Redick], Adonal Foyle, and Dwight sometimes. Busting Dwight in a Playstation game or an XBOX game so on the away trips most of the time.
I heard you're good at Call of Duty, is that true?
I heard you weren't good at first but now you can't lose.
I had to get used to it, to the controller, because the Playstation and XBOX was different so I had to get used to it, to the controller, but I said give me 24 hours, I'm going to get used to it, and we'll see. That's how it was later, I was beating Dwight and Rashard [Lewis] together against me, and I was winning everything.
Do you guys still play, or try to?
We got a different plane right now and sometimes when there's a chance, we can meet in a room somewhere and just play but not really often anymore.
I know that you guys were an excellent road team last year. You talk about being close to the team and hanging out, is that a little part of it?
In my opinion, I think we're just becoming more focused at the game on away trips. When we're here at home, we kind of rely on ... okay, we're at home, we got our fans here, our people, and it's always going to be like, okay, we're going to win. We're just going to win and I just believe on away trips, we got stuff out of our heads, that's all we got, is our team and we got to do what we got to do. Most of the teams may underestimate us a little bit and that's how we started winning.