Stan Van Gundy spoke to Stanley Johnson about LeBron James remarks
Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy may or may not have had a little chat about maturity this week with rookie forward Stanley Johnson.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers blew out Detroit in Game 2, Johnson said he is not afraid of LeBron James and that he even thinks he is in the four-time NBA MVP’s head. Knowing that LeBron doesn’t need any added motivation in the series, Van Gundy said he spoke to Johnson.
“I had a talk with Stan today, and so I’ll leave it at that,” the coach said Thursday, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “I told him what I thought about his comments and everything. That’s a discussion that we had today.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, LeBron was 6-for-6 from the field with Johnson as his primary defender in Game 2. Despite that, Johnson had no problem ripping LeBron and the Cavs after the game. You can read all of his remarks here.
Van Gundy admitted that he cringed when he first heard what Johnson had said, but he also said he understands the former Arizona star still has some growing up to do.
“Well, look, you do [cringe] a little bit,” he said. “But you also, you have to realize he’s a 19-year-old kid going through this for the first time. You get him right after a game like that, and he’s frustrated and all of that. We met. We talked. He knows how I feel, what my concerns are, but it wasn’t a — at least I hope he didn’t take — it wasn’t an anger session. It wasn’t a ‘You’re an a–hole’ type of thing. It wasn’t. It’s just another learning experience for a 19-year-old kid.”
LeBron scored 22 points in Game 1 and 27 in Game 2. He could be even more motivated heading into Game 3 Friday night after Johnson ran his mouth, but Van Gundy said the prospect of winning a championship should be enough to fuel LeBron.
It should be noted that Van Gundy himself may have given LeBron some extra juice when he had this to say about the officiating in Game 1. If the Pistons think they can get him off his game by talking, they’re soon going to realize how wrong they are.