Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE
Sports Illustrated surveyed 134 current NBA players on which coaches they'd most and least like to play for, and they weren't at all kind to Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. 22 percent of the respondents named Van Gundy as the coach they'd least like to play for, despite his career .643 win percentage, which ranks behind only Tom Thibodeau, Gregg Popovich, and Mike Brown among active coaches. Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who got his first coaching gig with the Magic over a decade ago, received the most complimentary evaluation from the players surveyed, as 22 percent of them said they'd most like to play for him.
Van Gundy is noted for his outspokenness with the media and his animated nature on the sidelines. He most recently made headlines after the NBA trade deadline when he told the assembled media he heard "straight from the top" of Magic management that All-Star center Dwight Howard had asked for Van Gundy to be fired. Prior to the 2010/11 season, Howard and Otis Smith, the Magic's President of Basketball Operations, asked Van Gundy to tone down the negativity and instead to accentuate the positive.
Interestingly, Van Gundy earned three percent of the player votes for the coach they'd most like to play for, the eighth-best figure.