Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy will be heading into his sixth season as the sideline general for an NBA team, and when looking at his body of work over the past few years, certain parallels arise. Let's take a quick breakdown, shall we?
The past: In his first year with the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic, Van Gundy helped both clubs increase its number of wins from its previous seasons by more than ten, +17 for Miami and +12 for Orlando. In both years, the Heat and the Magic lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the hands of a Central division foe.
In his second year with Miami and Orlando, Van Gundy led both teams to a 59-23 record in the regular season and pushed the Heat & the Magic deeper into the playoffs. Had it not been for Dwyane Wade's rib injury in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, it's not outlandish to suggest Miami could have advanced to the NBA Finals. Of course, Orlando was able to attain such a feat this past season, only to lose.
After coming close to winning a championship, the Heat went out and retooled the roster during the off-season in 2005. Miami was able to acquire the following players via free agency and trade - Antoine Walker, Jason Kapono, Gary Payton, James Posey, Jason Williams, and Wayne Simien. Questions of chemistry arose prior to the beginning of the 2005-2006 season but the Heat were able to respond and capture the franchise's first NBA title, albeit, without Van Gundy. Who knows if Miami would have won a championship had Pat Riley not replaced Van Gundy along the way?
The present: ... the premise remains the same. Like the Heat, the Magic came close to winning a championship this past season. As a result, the Orlando organization promptly opened up the checkbook and revamped the roster, trading for Ryan Anderson and Vince Carter, signing Matt Barnes and Brandon Bass, and bringing back Marcin Gortat. Already, there are those that are wondering whether or not the Magic's chemistry will be affected with the new acquisitions. Sound eerily familiar?
The future: It remains to be seen whether or not Stan Van Gundy guides the Orlando Magic to a title in his third season with the team. If it happens, it'd be a fitting way for things to come full circle for Van Gundy after his saga with the Miami Heat.