Sports Illustrated polled 138 NBA players for its latest issue, on newsstands tomorrow, and asked which head coach is the most annoying during games. The Orlando Magic's Stan Van Gundy, with 65 percent of the vote, "won" in a landslide; Phil Jackson of the L.A. Lakers and Scott Skiles of the Milwaukee Bucks tied for second place, receiving seven percent of the votes apiece.
Van Gundy, in his fourth season leading the Magic, is among the most outspoken coaches in all of sports, as his recent feud with NBA Commissioner David Stern demonstrates. He's also taken on targets as big as the Miami Heat and Shaquille O'Neal during his Magic tenure. But this poll asked players to only consider the coaches' attitude during games. It's easy to understand why they may not take kindly to Van Gundy, with his high-pitched shouting and histrionics.
For all the negative attention he draws, Van Gundy has the respect of his players; Earl Clark and Quentin Richardson, new to Orlando this season, have spoken glowingly about Van Gundy, whose career .649 winning percentage ranks him fourth among active coaches with a minimum of 100 games' experience.