Orlando Magic Media Day: Stan Van Gundy


Stan Van Gundy appeared a little more relaxed than usual and seemed ready to get the season underway. I figured Van Gundy would be a little on edge when he was inevitably berated with questions about the Miami Heat, but he was not.

Van Gundy said he didn’t do much talking during Orlando’s lengthy preseason meeting Monday morning but was pleased with the meeting and pleased with how hard the team has worked this offseason.

After the jump, you can read more from Van Gundy.

  • Van Gundy thinks it helps that Orlando has so many players back in place and was happy to say the new players were “smart” and “learning quickly.”
  • Van Gundy thinks guys who are going into their second year with the Magic – Ryan Anderson, Brandon Bass and Vince Carter – should make a nice jump this season.
  • Van Gundy said getting a younger point guard behind Jameer Nelson, specifically Chris Duhon, has been a priority for a few years. He called Duhon a “younger, long term solution.”
  • Van Gundy was also pleased with the signings of Quentin Richardson and Malik Allen.
  • Van Gundy praised Richardson’s toughness, shooting and ability to post up while calling Allen, who he coached in Miami, “a great veteran presence.”
  • He also called the additions “smart serious, professional veterans.”
  • Van Gundy made the entire crowd laughed when someone fell behind the crowd, saying “We’ve got our first injury of camp. There’s really no timetable for his return. Day-to-day and we’ll see what happens.”
  • Of the Heat, Van Gundy said, “Nobody can win a championship without going on the court and doing it. This isn’t a fantasy league.”
  • He went on to say he didn’t doubt the talent of teams like Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Washington. I’m not sure I agree with the last two but you get the point.
  • Van Gundy also said he was “surprised there was enough media to even get here today” when asked more about the Heat.
  • Van Gundy said he would “rather have the pressure of being expected to win than having a team that isn’t good enough to win.”
  • Van Gundy laughed when he was asked if he asked his brother Jeff to make his prediction about the Heat potentially breaking several records.
  • “First of all, my brother will say whatever he wants to say whenever he wants to say it,” Van Gundy chuckled. “Well, first of all, if I had asked him to do something, he probably wouldn’t do it.”
  • Van Gundy said he didn’t think it was completely outlandish to make that prediction. His thinking is their top 3 are potentially better than the top 3 the Bulls had when they won 72 games in a season.
  • Van Gundy thinks the east in general has improved a lot. He again cited Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia. He also said the intimidation factor is “overrated” and they enjoy those kinds of challenges. He never worries about his team getting up for games against the likes of the Heat, Celtics and Lakers.
  • He said the #1 goal of camp is to learn and just get into better shape.
  • Van Gundy criticized college football because it’s the only sport where being the favorite early in the season actually matters. Van Gundy’s right and shows why preseason polls are stupid but that’s a whole different sport and a different argument.
  • Van Gundy discussed the team’s flexibility at the 3 and the 4 spot, saying that Rashard Lewis could play either spot while having both Brandon Bass and Ryan Anderson at the four as well as both Mickael Pietrus and Quentin Richardson at the 3. He also said the team could play Vince Carter more at the 3 to give J.J. Redick more time.
  • “A lot of it is, where we’re betting playing Rashard more and how we’re going to start and rotate guys,” Van Gundy said. “We’re certainly not going to play all five of those guys at those two positions, at least not on a nightly basis. We have to figure out what works best.”
  • I asked Van Gundy if that flexibility included playing Marcin Gortat more at the four.
  • “He can play more at the four,” Van Gundy responded. “That just creates a problem because we’ve got two good centers, well one great and one good one. If they both start the game and both get in early foul trouble, now you’re screwed. I think Marsh can play the four in more situations but it would have to be as the game go on.”
  • Van Gundy ran a few wind sprints with the team – twice to be exact – and he said you shouldn’t classify what he did as running.
  • Van Gundy said his guys were “generally pained” by how they went out last season. He said when they lost to the Lakers; they felt like they gave their best effort and were just beat.
  • “We didn’t feel like that last year,” Van Gundy said. “Not taking anything away from Boston – they were tougher and more disciplined – but our guys, me included, left feeling like we didn’t bring our best. And what’s happened is our guys have been very very motivated during the offseason. All of our guys came in better shape than they did a year ago. It shows your commitment and effort and everything else. I think when a team goes through that together and has great pride; you’re going to get something out of that. I think the continuity was a great way for us to go this year. I’m glad we did it the way we did it. I think the new guys will help us out a great deal and we’re just excited to get started.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, a contributor on the Fansided Front Page, and co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).