8 Reasons We Want Jeff Van Gundy Back on the Sidelines Coaching
Jeff Van Gundy has been contacted by the Brooklyn Nets as a part of their head coaching search, which has driven rumors of Van Gundy's triumphant return to the NBA into overdrive. It seems like something that would help us all in the long run.
Van Gundy has spent at least part of 11 seasons as an NBA head coach—seven with the New York Knicks and four with the Houston Rockets.
In that time, he's had the pleasure of coaching guys like Patrick Ewing, Yao Ming, Larry Johnson, Tracy McGrady and much more legendary players, like Brian Cardinal and Scott Padgett.
He was a more defensive-minded coach than anything, always stressing a strong, team-oriented attack on defense with a unique ability to recognize the specific positives in each player's game.
Van Gundy was a student of Pat Riley, who was New York's head coach between 1991 and 1995.
There's no reason to think that he wouldn't be successful with any coaching job he accepted, and it's pretty reasonable to think that multiple teams would be vying for his leadership.
I'd say it's more than just specific teams who should want Van Gundy to return; we should all want his excitement and energy back in the NBA as well.
8. Time to One-Up His Brother
When Jeff Van Gundy started his first head coaching gig with the New York Knicks in 1996, his brother Stan had just gotten his first NBA gig as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat.
It wasn't until 2003 when Stan got a job as the team's head coach, and by that time, Jeff had already proved to be a solid head coach, taking the Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1999.
By the time he retired in 2007, Jeff had won nearly 450 games and missed the playoffs just once in 11 seasons (the 2002 Knicks missed the playoffs, but he stepped down halfway through the season).
However, at this point, his older brother has picked up more than 370 wins and made it to the NBA Finals once himself.
Perhaps big brother has been gloating a bit at Thanksgiving recently, or at least realizing that he might be on the same level as his little bro.
It's time for these two to settle things once and for all. One brother gets the Nets, the other gets the Clippers, and let's battle it out from there.
7. A Magnificent Storyline
Jeff Van Gundy has been a thorn in the side of the NBA since the day he became a commentator for ESPN.
His days have been full of complaining about referees, the way the league is run and, most specifically, how flopping and selling calls has been terrible for the league.
The minute he becomes a head coach in the NBA again is the same time he becomes public enemy No. 1 in the league, or at least that's the way the story will be run.
As he's constantly complained about the dirty underbelly of the league throughout his tenure on the microphone, it seems that a few men in charge might have a few complaints about him.
All season long we would be watching to see which of his players flopped, and whether or not he would be upset with them.
It would definitely be a ton of fun to keep an eye on.
6. Constant Contact with Referees
The sticking point of nearly every Van Gundy rant over the past five years as a commentator for ESPN has generally been some sort of a beef with referees.
Whether it be flopping, instant replays, bad calls, egregious no-calls or just the way the flow of a game is interrupted near the end of a close contest, he's always got something to harp on that is referee-related.
Putting him back in a head coaching gig after spending five years as a broadcaster might make him forget which side of the table he's on.
Early on, a few cheap technical fouls might come along, and he could end up becoming the bane of many referees' existence.
Who knows, a few of them might even hold a grudge against him for something he's said on television in the past few years.
5. Closer Contact to David Stern
Of course, the biggest opponent of Van Gundy's over the past few years has been David Stern, as the opinionated broadcaster has stated multiple problems with the way he's run the league.
Whether it be taking so long to implement any type of penalty for flopping, to other smaller things here and there.
In the past, Van Gundy has picked up one of the largest fines in league history (at least up until 2006 when Mark Cuban bagged a $250,000 fine) when he was dinged $100,000 for accusing officials of specifically targeting Yao Ming for fouls back in 2005.
Van Gundy has even stated that he thinks Stern is to blame for Stan Van Gundy not getting a job with ESPN.
It may only be for a few months (Stern is retiring in February of 2014), but seeing the two of them be forced to work in close proximity to each other would be a ton of fun.
4. Postgame Press Conferences
Van Gundy has been amazing on the microphone for the past five years. It was impressive how quickly he went from being an opinionated head coach to being an opinionated broadcaster.
One thing that has become even more prevalent among coaches in the past five years or so, mostly in the playoffs, has been putting them up on the podium for postgame press conferences after each game.
Get Van Gundy a team that will make the playoffs, sit him up on that podium after every game and get some popcorn popped, because he's definitely going to speak his mind.
If you're tired of just talking about what players are wearing at postgame press conferences, Van Gundy would give us a chance to actually talk about what somebody said.
3. He May Be Running out of Rants
I think we all get it at this point—Van Gundy hates floppers, he hates how long instant replay takes and he hates the frequency of both in the NBA today.
If he sticks around to commentate any longer, Van Gundy might actually have to start picking things out that he actually likes about the league.
He's fun to listen to when there's a big game going on, but I can't be the only one to get a bit fed up when he goes off about flopping multiple times throughout the course of the week.
The man is definitely pointing out faults that the league needs to fix, but his constant harping on the same issues might be getting a bit tired.
He needs to go off, coach for a few more years and figure out what else bothers him about the league and come back with some fresh material in five years or so.
2. He's a Good Coach
In his 11 seasons in the NBA, Van Gundy won 430 of his 748 games (a .575 winning percentage), he remains the third-winningest coach in New York Knicks history and put together a 44-44 record in the playoffs.
There's something to be desired in terms of playoff success, but he was also never coaching one of the most elite teams in the league.
He did coach a 50-win team three times throughout his career, but he was never in a situation where his team won its own division.
That being said, his defense-forward coaching style, along with his willingness to let each player exhibit what makes him a professional basketball player could be very useful in today's NBA.
Stopping short of making a one-to-one comparison, he's got a style very much like Gregg Popovich in that he knows how to fit players together in order to get the most of the team at his disposal.
He's never won an NBA Championship, but few head coaches ever have.
1. The Slight Chance That This Happens Again
Even though Van Gundy's coaching style doesn't always create the most exciting teams in the NBA, he himself is an extremely animated man to watch roam the sidelines.
There are many coaches throughout the league who are interesting to watch. Whether it be Mike D'Antoni's sarcastic smiles, Mike Brown's look of befuddlement or Mike Woodson's stares of disbelief, there are plenty of great screen-caps out there to be had.
Van Gundy is GIF material.
When he was a coach, he was constantly pacing, talking to referees, hopping up and down, running around and making a spectacle of himself.
Not only that, but he's obviously not afraid to get in the middle of a bit of a brouhaha, as evidenced by his ride on Alonzo Mourning's leg.
We need him to bring back the expressive, emotional coaching style, almost as much as we need him to stay on the mic.
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