Orlando Magic Media Day: Stan Van Gundy

The following questions were ones that I asked either one-on-one or within the media scrums (no different than the formats of previous Q/A's). For additional questions and answers, feel free to visit the Orlando Magic's site or the Orlando Sentinel's site to hear the additional commentary from the coaches and players.

 

Stan Van Gundy:

 

Adonal Foyle just got named to the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. What does it say about his character to achieve such an honor?

I think that's a great thing. I think that any time that you're someone that's been blessed like any other pro sports star, that you are willing to give back to a large degree, understanding how fortunate you've been, and to give back to other people I think is a great thing. I think Adonal really lives that. He's not a guy that's doing a lot of things that are out there for notoriety and trying to bring publicity to himself or enhance an image or reputation, I think he's a guy that's genuinely committed to trying to make this world a better place. That almost sounds cliche now but I think Adonal certainly is someone that is genuinely committed to that and it was a well deserved honor for him to be inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame and I know we're all very proud of him here in the organization and I'm honored to just work with somebody like that on a daily basis.

Is that partly why you brought him back, aside from his play on the court?

Well, when we got to looking at our roster, other than the two guys we brought in on non-guaranteed contracts, that was the last guaranteed deal that we did in the summer and we needed a third center and I think at that point we brought in a lot of new guys and the value of having someone else here who knew what we were doing, who is still very, very capable of playing and giving us minutes, in knowing exactly what type of person he is and what he brings to his teammates, I think it made it a no-brainer to bring him back. It was probably the easiest decision Otis made in the off-season.

You're a fan of baseball, in terms of the sport itself. The NBA is becoming more and more committed to the numbers, there are some general managers that are really into that. What do you think about that, in terms of the sport itself, and the fact there are more and more franchises committing to the numbers?

I think it's smart. We're, as a sport, harder to objectify and get down to numbers than baseball is. There's not the stoppage in play and it's not predominated on ... let's just say the matchups aren't isolated like the pitcher-hitter matchup in baseball, which is very isolated. In basketball, it really doesn't come down to that. A lot of what goes on depends who your teammates are and the spacing on the floor and all of those things so I think it's hard to do, in a lot of ways.

 

But, with that said, anything you can do and study that helps you make better decisions, whether it's on player personnel decisions or as a coach, I think it's valuable. There's not much out there that I don't want to know. What I use, that'll be determined how well it's proven and whatever else but I want to know if somebody can come up with some numbers and trends and some stats that can help me make better decisions, I'm all for it.

Do you think it's harder to quantify a player's value in basketball than it baseball, given that baseball is more of a stat-oriented sport?

I think baseball is easier, yeah. I just think it lends itself easier to quantifying that. I don't think, okay sure, you might have a guy hitting ahead of you that helps you see some better pitches but there isn't as much effecting your teammates. I think that baseball is a far more individual sport. I mean, Hanley Ramirez [of the Florida Marlins] hitting .350 is ... he's a great, great hitter. It really doesn't matter who he's playing with. They're not going to come out and double-team him because he doesn't have enough hitting around him. I mean, it's going to come down to his individual talents.

 

Basketball is far different, in that regard, and so I do think you have to be a little bit careful but at the same time, I think the numbers are important. There are some that I look at more than others but I'm always open to research things that other people are doing that prove certain things are worth looking at. I think, a guy like John Hollinger [of ESPN.com] has been on the cutting edge of that and I read John's stuff as much as I possibly can because I think he's a guy that's studied it and knows what he's doing and his numbers make a lot of sense. I follow those things. Some of them make more sense to me than others and so, I'll latch on to them and others I'll let go but yeah, I think it's important trying to learn more and more about what we do.

So you're aware of PER, adjusted plus/minus, and some of the other metrics?

Yeah, again, some of those things are ... I like John's PER. I think it makes sense. Again, I think it's not an end-all and be-all in basketball. I think the hardest thing to quantify in our game is defense. People try, I know some people think they can do it, but when I read their stuff on defense and go with what I'm seeing on film, it doesn't add up to me. But I think the offensive stuff does in large part, especially John's stuff so I'm always trying to learn more and more.

For defense, is it because it's so team-dependent?

Exactly, and it also comes down to defensive philosophy to me on things, on what you as a coach are trying to do so some of the guys that are considered great, great defenders in this league, I don't particularly like the way they defend and some guys I think are very underrated defenders, in the way they play, but may not be getting things like a lot of steals and blocks and things like that so we all have different ways. I have not seen a numerical rating system defensively that I thought really lent a lot of solid information to me. Offensively, I do.

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