Why Stan Van Gundy Is the Perfect Choice for Next Milwaukee Bucks Coach
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Already faced with a flurry of important questions that need careful answering in the offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks now need to begin searching for a new head coach.
They shouldn't have to go too far down their list though to find the right choice, because Stan Van Gundy fits the bill.
After Jim Boylan was relieved of his coaching duties last week, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports quickly tweeted the following:
Y! Sources: Stan Van Gundy is a top target for Milwaukee Bucks coaching search. tinyurl.com/cbsqz4s— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 1, 2013
And whether or not Van Gundy will show mutual interest, he's the perfect choice for the franchise moving forward.
After a year off, the former Orlando Magic head coach might have the itch to get back into the game.
During his five-year stint with the Magic, Van Gundy went 259-135 and led them to the 2009 NBA Finals and Eastern Conference Finals in 2010.
More impressive than his record, though, was the success he had with the rosters he was given. Even with Dwight Howard, the Magic teams he coached were far from great.
Not only that, but Howard seemingly thrived in Van Gundy's system.
In three seasons prior to his arrival, Howard averaged 15.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Those numbers elevated to 20.6, 13.9 and 2.4 in five seasons playing under Van Gundy.
That's not to say that he's responsible for Howard's growth as a player, but he was without question a large part of it.
Some might want to compare the coaching styles and personalities of Van Gundy and former Bucks coach Scott Skiles, but that stems from their visible demeanor more than anything.
Van Gundy is a much better coach in terms of Xs and Os.
In Orlando, he never had a great deal of talent outside of Howard.
In fact, Howard's partners in crime for the majority of his time with the Magic were Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu.
While both were good, they're far from great—and the success those teams had shows that Van Gundy's coaching style is designed for success despite not always having multiple, elite talents on the roster.
And that's precisely why he would be a good fit in Milwaukee.
Van Gundy commands the attention of his players and expects them to be disciplined.
Do you think Stan Van Gundy is Milwaukee's best option for a new head coach?
A players' poll from the April 23, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated will always be used in arguments as to why he's not the right guy for the job, but it's really something that should be taken with a grain of salt.
Is Van Gundy vocal and boisterous? Absolutely.
Does he command a high level of discipline? Absolutely.
But at the same time, he's level-headed and has a deep understanding—and almost a certain genius—about the game of basketball.
The Bucks could go the route of hiring an assistant like Kelvin Sampson, but that would be more of a gamble. With Van Gundy, you know what you're going to get.
If he's hired, though, there comes another question: Can he rein in someone like Brandon Jennings—if he remains in Milwaukee that is?
Maybe, maybe not.
That's something that will be determined if and when the two ever are paired up. One thing that is certain, though, is that Van Gundy is an excellent coach.
His time in Orlando was marred by poor front-office decisions and the increasingly overblown ego of Howard.
In another article written by Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski shortly after J.J. Redick had been traded to the Bucks, the former Magic shooting guard lauded Van Gundy's influence on him:
In Redick's mind, the best thing that ever happened was getting drafted into Orlando with a coach who refused to insert him into the rotation. For two years, Van Gundy challenged him to become a more complete player and Redick thinks "a lot about what kind of career trajectory I would've had without Stan, and I'm grateful for what he did for me."
"Those years in Orlando humbled me," Redick said, "and gave me perspective on basketball and life."
Those comments are in spite of the fact that the two didn't always hit it off with one another when Van Gundy first arrived in Orlando.
Redick is a well-respected player who understands the concept of hard work.
And perhaps it's those kind of players who best fit into Van Gundy's system.
At the end of the day, only time will tell as to whether or not he becomes the next head coach in Milwaukee.
But the franchise should do everything in its power to make sure that he is.
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