Now that the Orlando Magic have been eliminated from the 2012 NBA playoffs, it's time to start looking ahead to next season. With doubt surrounding head coach Stan Van Gundy's future with the team, could Mike D'Antoni and Steve Nash be the answer to Orlando's problems?
D'Antoni, fired by the Knicks during the season, certainly will be looking to land another head coaching job somewhere. Known for his fast-paced, run-and-gun style of offense, the Magic are an ideal landing spot for D'Antoni. Guys like J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson, and Jason Richardson are all capable three-point shooters and would fit into his system quite nicely. The best thing about the situation is that Orlando wouldn't need to worry about bringing in a big man as was the concern for Phoenix and New York during some of D'Antoni's years with those teams. Already having the best big man in the game in Dwight Howard is a plus.
Then there's Steve Nash.
First, let's be clear here. This wouldn't be a long-term solution for the Magic. The 38-year-old point guard certainly isn't getting any younger. With that being said, his numbers haven't taken a huge hit either. Nash averaged 12.5 points per game and 10.7 assists per game this season for a Phoenix team that had no business winning as many games as they did. I attribute the majority of their success to the future Hall of Famer.
Would he even want to go to Orlando, though?
It's a good question. If the Magic do end up parting ways with Van Gundy and end up snagging D'Antoni, I'd say the odds increase tremendously. Nash voiced his support for D'Antoni this past season when things got rough with the Knicks and in the past, it appeared as if he really enjoyed playing in his system. If Orlando were to get D'Antoni, Nash might follow him there and be willing to sign for less than what he could get elsewhere.
Long questioned has been the defensive mind of Mike D'Antoni. While he's probably not the best defensive coach in the NBA, he's never had Dwight Howard on his roster. Howard changes the defensive presence of a team in a big way. With Howard around, D'Antoni doesn't have to be great.
Is it a long shot? Maybe. But if Stan Van Gundy is in fact fired, this is a scenario the Magic should carefully look at.