Stan Van Gundy intent on supporting embattled coaching staffs around the League
There are three things Stan Van Gundy's Orlando Magic successfully did during his tenure as head coach: they dominated the Eastern conference with their defense and shooting, helped mold Dwight Howard into the player he is today and threw Van Gundy under the bus. In a very public and unbecoming manner that many of us can still remember today, SVG was rather unceremoniously dumped by the Magic after a series of clashes with Howard.
Two years removed from that incident sees Van Gundy coaching and managing his own Pistons team, and even after a couple years, SVG still feels strongly about the Magic, expressing his disapproval of how Jacque Vaughn - his successor in Orlando, was dismissed by his former team. While coach has all the reasons to call out his former team over their staff decisions, Stan didn't stop there, criticizing the league for not giving Patrick Ewing a head-coaching gig despite having paid his dues around the Association, and lambasting the Sacramento Kings about their treatment of interim coach Tyrone Corbin in the wake of George Karl's appointment as the team's new head coach.
Talking about the lack of interest in Ewing's abilities, Van Gundy was at a loss of words to try and explain why the former Knick hasn't received head coach considerations, telling the Detroit News' Vincent Goodwill that Ewing's past work with Dwight Howard in Orlando might have pegged him as nothing more than a big man coach:
"Because he's 7 feet, that works against him? I don't really get that," Van Gundy said. "The only thing I've heard that makes any sense is because he's a really good basketball coach. He's put in a lot of time and hard work and has really become a good coach and is ready to run his own team."
As for SVG's criticism towards Sacramento, who is now fielding its third head coach for the season, it wasn't entirely unwarranted. Per David Mayo at MLive, Van Gundy felt as though Corbin wasn't given a fair shake as the Kings' new coach. He thought Sacramento owed it to him to be less vocal about their search for a new replacement after firing Mike Malone in December, despite Corbin going 7-21 since taking over:
Tyrone Corbin is a class act. He was a class act as a player, he's a class act as a coach, and he's being treated very, very poorly.
With Van Gundy firing off at other teams' treatment of their coaches, the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi took exception.
"Um, Stan, there is no such thing as a longtime Pistons coach, at least in the last quarter-century. There have been 14 coaches in Detroit in the 23 years since Chuck Daly left in 1993. The Magic have had 11 coaches in their entire 27-year history. Memo to Stan: Those who live in glass gymnasiums should not shoot bricks."
Except Stan is the Head of Basketball Operations now.
Despite struggles, Detroit has a bright basketball future
Of the eight players Stan Van Gundy brought in during his tenure as the Pistons' GM, five -- Jodie Meeks, DJ Augustin, Cartier Martin, Anthony Tolliver and John Lucas III -- would be considered career journeymen. Combined, these five players have played for over half of the NBA's organizations.
In a modus operandi that has started to define the Back to Work Era, Van Gundy has brought in players that have coasted under the NBA radar for years, and have become welcome revelations in a gritty, promising Detroit squad. The way this Pistons team has been setup reminds many of a San Antonio replicate, or, if you want to look a bit closer to home, an early 2000s Joe Dumars clone.
While Dumars didn't coach the teams he put together, he and SVG seem to have shared a common interest in unheralded players with hidden talents. Could DJ Augustin and Brandon Jennings turn into a Chauncey Billups and Lindsey Hunter-esque duo? Is Anthony Tolliver our new Antonio McDyess? Meeks the new Rip? Do I see a bit of Rasheed in Monroe? Dare I say that Caldwell-Pope and Drummond are the Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace to this youthful and inexperienced team?
Parallels can be drawn from every which direction, the only thing that can back them up are their play. Although they have struggled this year, it is to be expected of a team that hasn't experienced a winning season in over seven years, their youth compounded by their lack of consistency and at times effort. They have been taking their lumps, losing to teams like Philadelphia and Minnesota, but have shown their promise when victorious over perennial powerhouse San Antonio, the new-look Rockets and the surging Raptors.
To remedy the lack of experience, veterans like Butler, Anthony and Tolliver were brought in to try and steady the team on and off the court, but there is still some work to do before the Pistons become a respected opponent in the league.
Stan Van Gundy knows how to get the best out of his players, evident not only in this current Pistons' team but the Magic squads that saw the likes of Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick and Mickael Pietrus make their names known in the League. Despite its struggles this year, Detroit has a bright basketball future with Van Gundy at the helm, whether or not the Pistons make the playoffs this year, they promise to make some noise.
Trade Watch Bullets
- Both Pistons.com Keith Langlois and MLive's David Mayo believe the Pistons will stand pat at the trade deadline - unless they find an offer too good to pass up. Detroit won't actively be sellers or buyers, but will explore various options available to them.
- Considering the team's inability to find a trade, point guard prospects drying up and John Lucas III's second ten-day contract underway, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume Jeff Bower and Stan Van Gundy have found their third point guard.
- Jonas Jerebko is apparently Detroit's only tradeable asset according to Keith Langlois in his Mailbag, as he points to Tolliver's emergence making the Swede redundant in SVG's offensive structure.
- Former Pistons Tony Mitchell and Kim English have found new homes in Puerto Rico and Venezuela respectively. Mitchell never latched on in the League after being waived by the Suns after the Tolliver trade, while English played for the Bulls during the preseason and Europe since being waived by the Pistons in 2013.
- Add Eddie Scarito from HoopsRumors as another pundit giving the Knicks the biggest chance of landing Greg Monroe during the offseason. Pistons.com Keith Langlois believes that SVG will do all in his power to retain the high-performing forward, but does have a Plan B should the Moose decide to call it quits.
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