Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy answered several questions about Orlando’s four new acquisitions before the Orlando Magic took on the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night.
- Van Gundy said that sending Rashard Lewis to Washington was one of the “hardest things he’s ever had to.” He said that it was “an absolute honor and privilege to coach him.” Van Gundy went to say Lewis was one of the keys to turning the franchise around, citing the fact that Orlando had won just 40 games the year before Lewis arrive and had lost Darko Milicic and Grant Hill to free agency and Tony Battie to an injury. The Magic went to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Lewis’ first year, the NBA Finals in his second and the Eastern Conference Finals in his third. He went to say Lewis was always a team-first kind of guy and didn’t ever gripe about getting less shots or playing Power Forward in Orlando when he played Small Forward in Seattle.
- Van Gundy touched on his other departed players and made a statement concerning all of them – “I like what we have done in the deals, I really do, but it’s still not easy to see those guys go.”
- Van Gundy said they’d miss Marcin Gortat when Dwight Howard is in foul trouble but explained if Howard isn’t playing heavy minutes in the postseason, “we’re in trouble anway.”
- Of the new acquisitions, Van Gundy said “We got a little bit younger, more athletic and we got guys who can put the ball on the floor.”
- Van Gundy is very confident in Gilbert Arenas because of his relationship with Otis Smith. He also noted Jason Richardson was with Smith in Golden State.
- Van Gundy said his initial concern is defense, claiming he can dumb down the offense, but can’t do the same thing on defense.
- Van Gundy said Jameer Nelson will NOT come off the bench and one of Arenas, Richardson or Hedo Turkoglu will fill that role. He went on to say Turkoglu will not start at Power Forward and will only play there against smaller teams.
- He added that both Nelson and Arenas will have to play at least 32 minutes, meaning they will have to play at least 16-18 minutes together.
(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger, co-host of CB Sports Radio from 5-7 pm week days (1420sports.com) and ESPN 1080’s Magic Insider (http://espn1080.com). Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter to follow him daily. You can download the HTD app here).