Over at Sports Illustrated, everyone's favorite swimwear magazine,their NBA roundtable of writers had this to say about our very own huggable coach:
3. Stan Van Gundy has criticized everyone from the officials, to Shaq, to the Celtics for their concern over injuries, to the Knicks for not hiring Patrick Ewing. Is the Magic coach speaking the truth or are these just sour grapes?
Ian Thomsen: Who is the strong voice on that team? They don't have one. In some way he is letting everyone know that the Magic are going to demand respect, that they plan to go far this year and they don't mind making enemies along the way. They have a reputation around the league (based in no small part on being clobbered by the Pistons in recent years) for being a meek, finesse, three-point-shooting team, even though they're among the league leaders defensively. So I think Van Gundy is trying to set an aggressive example for his players heading into the playoffs by lashing out a little bit. It's not a major strategic move on his part, but it's a small step in transforming his team into a contender.
Jack McCallum: Coaches are quoted almost every day from the beginning of October until the end of the season, so it's unwise to toss all of those comments into one bag and proclaim it either "garbage" or "gold." Van Gundy went after the Celtics because he feels his team isn't getting its proper respect. That puts him in the company of -- let's see -- every other coach who ever lived, including Vince Lombardi. SVG went after the officials because that's what coaches do. He went after Shaq to protect his own player, Dwight Howard, and he went after the Knicks to protect his own assistant, Ewing. Yes, the comments about the Knicks' disrespecting Ewing were unfair. But you can't say the man isn't keeping things interesting in Orlando, where -- let's face it -- things just aren't that interesting. Now he'll come after me.
Chris Mannix: Reporters hate "coach-speak," which we loosely define as a laughable quote given just to prevent any bruised feelings. So why are we hating on Van Gundy for telling the truth? Sure, Van Gundy could be more careful with his words (Shaq was right -- he's not a flopper, though he did flop on that one play), but I like the coach's honesty. Is more attention given to the Celtics' injury woes than the Magic's? Yes. Do the Knicks patronize Ewing? I don't know about that, but as someone who has known Ewing for a few years, I respect his opinion.
Steve Aschburner: No problem with Van Gundy and whatever he's saying (can't claim to have absorbed it all). Still, his tone and timing were off in blaming the Knicks for honoring Ewing as a great alumnus even though they never interviewed him for coaching vacancies, and he easily could have let the "Shaq flopped" thing pass. Maybe he does feel a little overlooked, under-respected and defensive for his team. But Shaq brutalized him by hanging that "panic" label on Van Gundy, and he still seems like the wounded party from the Miami exit in 2005. Besides, in our business, if the players and the coaches aren't talking, then guys like us get stuck trying to make something out of nothing.
I have nothing interesting to add. I just thought it was amusing. :D