Do you all remember this little image that appeared what seems to feel like 10 years ago on the official Magic web page? I sure didn't, until I was going over my files on my computer. I was just looking around at all those old files and ran across this one. "Oh yeaaaaaaaah, I remember we signed this guy for like a minute!" I proclaimed.
I never agreed with this signing, I mean we've all seen what most college coaches accomplish in the NBA. At least lately. Not really being a college ball fan, I barely saw a few games from this guy, and sure, they won two titles in a row, best team and thus, best coach in college, maybe. They play right here in Florida, so it apparently made sense to the team.
I guess. I never bought that Otis Smith wanted to sign this guy. I always thought it was more a PR move, to get more fans in the building and some excitement to Orlando. Even if it meant not being competitive for a few years. Man was I glad he changed his mind...and how lucky the team was that Stan Van Gundy really wanted to stay in Florida and had not signed that contract with Sacramento.
Can you imagine this team being as successful without Stan?
Me either. Stan has proven yet again, that he is one of the best coaches in this league. He might not have the experience of Pat Riley(blah), Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson, Don Nelson, and others, but I consider him just as good a coach. I truly believe Stan can be a hall of fame coach by the end of his career, and that what we are seeing is just the start. I can already see him in Orlando for many many many years. There's already talk of an extension. I hope we sign him for 100 years.
The guy can bring the best out of his players. Orlando at one point had lost 3 starters. Still won. We lost Pietrus for weeks. Still won. Lost our all-star point guard for the season. Still won....I mean they did struggle badly, but playing .500 ball while losing a star is not that bad...He is making Courtney Lee play at a high level. Have you seen Lee on the court on defense? he must deflect 20 passes a night. He has even made JJ Redick a decent backup SG. Who would have thought?
Now Otis pulls a brilliant trade, where the team lost...uhmmmm...nothing, and received a starting PG that is meshing extremely well with the team. I for one didn't think this was possible this year. I didn't think we would get a starting PG. Otis did.
But it is Stan who will bring the best out of Rafer Alston, yet again, and keep us playing on a high level and as title contenders.
Doesn't this make you all tingly inside? The feeling we had as Orlando Tragic (typo but I'm keeping it) fans for many many many years is gone. I for one feel we can win every night. Unlike past seasons where the feeling was pretty damn scary.
So here's to you Stan Van Gundy. You might be too short and fat to play basketball. You might look like porn star Ron Jeremy. You might wear turtle necks and suit jackets that are way to short for you. You might not believe in styling your hair. You might have a beautiful pornstache, but goddammit are you a great basketball mind!!!
Thank You Coach.
Keep this train going.