Stan Van Gundy Backs Dwight Howard After SI Article, Magic Then Blow Lead
Between his spats with Shaq and his don’t take crap from anyone attitude, I’m starting to like Stan Van Gundy. Now if we were to take Sunday’s game against the Sixers where Orlando blew an 18-point lead in the third quarter losing 100-98, then we’d say the guy can’t coach a lick. But his team was quite successful during the regular season, thanks in large part to Dwight Howard who was featured on the most recent cover of SI. I read the article and couldn’t figure out why the writer chose to argue that Dwight’s playful attitude would limit the team’s success on the court. Neither could Van Gundy:
“Some of the things were ridiculous: How serious [Dwight Howard] is in a Sports Illustrated photo-shoot has an extremely minimal affect on our basketball team. Let’s say none. How could that possibly affect our team or Dwight’s chances (to win a title)? What’s important is how he’s playing, how he prepares for practice, how focused he is in games and how well he plays in games…. that’s all that matters. The fact he’s goofing around in a photo-shoot? I looked at that and said what the hell does that have to do with anything?
I’m sure glad Van Gundy hit on darn near everything I was going to because it makes my job a lot easier. You read articles like that where the writer uses horrible deductive reasoning and it’s no wonder athletes dislike the media. You think you’re going to be on the cover of SI and then you find out the featured article is just ripping you because you smile too much and you’re too playful? There are other excellent quotes from Van Gundy that I’ll share but I want to first touch on another part of the article. The article says scouts prefer Yao Ming to Howard since you can run an offense through Yao because he’s such a good passer. That was about the damn dumbest thing I’ve read. I’d like to meet the person who prefers Yao to Dwight Howard. Idiots. More goodness from Van Gundy follows:
Some of the the other things…well, he’s not as intense as — I think some of the names were… Kevin Garnett …The point was made that Dwight has only got us out of the first round one time in four years. I wanted to ask the guy, ‘How many times did Kevin Garnett get his team out of the first round in his early years?’ It took eight years. Eight years of not getting out of the first round.
“But what, because Kevin Garnett yells and scowls and screams, he cares and Dwight doesn’t? It doesn’t add up. Alonzo Mourning was another guy. I mean, he won a championship as a back-up center. Where did he get his teams as a starter? I love Alonzo….and he’s a hard worker and he flexes….
“But nobody questions whether he cares. So what it’s coming down to is not production on the court when a guy writes that; it’s the look on somebody’s face. So I guess that makes Ben Wallace better than Dwight. …I find it ridiculous.
It’s too bad that I’m posting this after the Magic blew their huge lead down the stretch to Philly because it takes away a lot of fuel to the fire. Still, Howard was beastly with 31 and 16. Maybe a lot of this goes on Van Gundy for allowing his team to blow the big lead; perhaps better game management on his part would have made the difference.