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Robbins: Stan Van Gundy Addresses Florida Basketball Coaches, Emphasizes Defense

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Yesterday, Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy discussed his basketball philosophy with the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel was there, and filed this fantastic report, filled with insights into Van Gundy's view of the game. Some highlights:

On a dry-erase board, he had summed up some of the Magic's key defensive objectives by writing "GET BACK," "SHRINK THE FLOOR & PROTECT THE PAINT" and "CLOSE HARD & CONTEST" in capital letters.

He explained that NBA players make free-throws about 75 percent of the time and make shots within 3 feet of the basket 61 percent of the time. Almost every other shot, from 3-pointers to mid-range jumpers, goes in about 37 to 38 percent of the time.

Therefore, he tells his guards that they must sprint back on defense whenever a teammate attempts a shot; that way, the opponent won't get many uncontested layups. It's also critical for the defense to keep the ball out of the paint, because that's where layups and most of the fouls occur.

The first point in the final paragraph, about guards conceding defensive rebounds in order to prevent fast breaks, is particularly salient. Despite having Dwight Howard, the league's leading overall rebounder, the Magic have ranked 27th and 28th in offensive rebound percentage in Van Gundy's two seasons with Orlando. Whatever they lose on the offensive glass, they gain on the defensive end, having placed 6th and 1st in defensive efficiency during those seasons. Rarely do opponents exploit Orlando on the fast-break, which justifies--to an extent--its poor statistical showing with regard to offensive rebounding.

Robbins also reports that some players have worked out at the team's practice facility this week--something about which J.J. Redick blogged on Friday--and that Van Gundy assessed Jameer Nelson's play in these workouts as "great." He also hinted that he'll usually call on new acquisition Vince Carter to score in late-game situations, but didn't take a definitive stance, prefacing his comment with saying, "my guess is..."

Training camp starts September 29th.

UPDATE: Robbins has more on Van Gundy in this online notebook. Robbins says Van Gundy's concerned about replacing Hedo Turkoglu's skills as a late-game inbound passer, but has tentatively settled on a replacement:

It looks like the role will go to free-agent acquisition Matt Barnes. Van Gundy regards Barnes as an excellent passer [...]

He also reports on Van Gundy's approach to replacing Turkoglu's offensive production, specifically with Vince Carter:

Van Gundy indicated that he'll run pick-and-rolls with Carter, like he did with Turkoglu. But Van Gundy also said he'll run more isolations and post-ups because that plays to Carter's strengths.