By Joe Munley
Well thank goodness the circus in Orlando is over! After a full season of prima donna nonsense, and with another almost guaranteed to be on the horizon, the Magic brass finally did the right thing and got rid of the real problem in Orlando… Stan Van Gundy.
Sure, Stan was actually proficient at winning basketball games – in his five years as head coach he racked up a 259-135 record and led his squad to the NBA Finals – but he was just so headstrong. How could this joker possibly think he could just skate by, win a ton of games, keep a fickle market like Orlando relevant, all while refusing to cater to his super(man)star, Dwight Howard?! Who did he think he was?
Surely Stan had to realize that he was guaranteed to bite the dust in his power struggle with Dwight.
I mean, what team wants a strong leader on the sideline when you can have a bonafide alpha male sitting on the end of the bench giggling with his teammate during a “team” timeout?
What team would want a coach that pushed enough right buttons to keep a squad that featured Hedo Turkoglu and J.J. Reddick as its main threats in the playoff hunt this season when you can have a big man in the middle who has, oh, one post move at his disosal?
And… AND… who would want a coach that implored his team to play hard to the very end & coaxed overachieving performances from very average players on a nightly basis when you can have a “franchise” player that has to be pulled from close games in the final minutes because he’s such a liability on the free throw line?
Today, to each of these questions, the Magic brass responded with a resounding, “Not I!!”
In their decision to let go of Stan Van Gundy, the Orlando Magic have officially placed all of their eggs into one basket. Dwight Howard is holding that basket & I’m sure he can’t believe it. It doesn’t make sense to me, but then I’m not an under-performing NBA executive. I’m sure to someone of that ilk entrusting your franchise to a soft 7-footer that has no leadership qualities, no true offensive skill set, no chance at the free throw line, and who is undergoing back surgery makes perfect sense.
I can say this though, I’m happy for Stan Van Gundy. Maybe – just maybe - he’ll land in a place that will value a coach that compiled a ridiculous .657 winning percentage in his five years with the Magic before being shoved aside to accommodate a guy that will jump ship as soon as the curtain falls on the 2013 season anyway. Brilliant move, Alex Martins.