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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Gilbert Arenas shares the one problem about Stan Van Gundy as a coach

Stan Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy is a veteran and respected NBA head coach, but one of his former players identified a weakness in his coaching repertoire.

Van Gundy was recently hired by the New Orleans Pelicans to begin his fourth stint as an NBA head coach. Previously, Van Gundy coached the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, and Detroit Pistons. Though Van Gundy’s time in Detroit did not go well, he has taken one team to the NBA Finals and lost in the conference finals twice.

Gilbert Arenas spent part of the 2010-2011 NBA season with Orlando after being traded by Washington for Rashard Lewis. Arenas played 49 games for Van Gundy’s Magic that season, mostly coming off the bench. He was towards the end of a once-promising career that was derailed by knee surgeries.

Arenas spoke with his high school coach, former Grant High School (Valley Glen, Calif.) basketball coach Howie Levine, for an interview on his “The No Chill Podcast” recently. During the interview, the two talked about coaching styles. Arenas’ message for players is to focus on the message of a coach, not their tone.

The topic led Arenas to discuss Van Gundy as a coach. Arenas talked about his observations about Van Gundy upon joining the Magic. He noted how Van Gundy went from joking with players to being serious as soon as practice started.

“I’m watching how Stan interacts with the guys. Laughing, joking — he’s a nice guy. They had a ticker counting down before practice starts. He’s with the guys, laughing, joking, talking about golf swings. He’s working on his moves. When it hit zero, oh my god, that man turned,” Arenas said.

Arenas then brought up the one weakness for Van Gundy — an inability to talk with people outside of basketball.

“Stan’s only problem as a coach was he wasn’t a people’s person. He was a basketball player that understood basketball people. Outside of the gym, there’s no personality,” Arenas said.

Arenas was waived by the Magic after that season and even had a contractual provision named after him. During his peak as a player, Arenas made three All-Star teams and was one of the most fun players in the league to watch. He has a wealth of basketball knowledge and seems to understand what makes coaches good and bad. He should live up to his vow about coaching for Kobe Bryant.

As for Van Gundy, maybe this is something he can work on more as he begins his tenure with the Pelicans.

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