Jeff Van Gundy Rumors
Ewing, who is in his fourth season as the head coach at his alma mater, has his own unofficial fan club within the NBA coaching ranks. The group includes Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford, Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas, New Orleans Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy and assistant coaches throughout the league who worked alongside Ewing during his 15 years as an NBA assistant coach, honing his craft, hoping for a head-coaching opportunity. “It’s hard to quantify my happiness for him and his team,” said Jeff Van Gundy, who coached him during Ewing’s New York Knicks playing days and later hired him to become a Rockets assistant coach. “For all of his efforts, and all of his coaching ability, to be rewarded with an NCAA Tournament bid, and the way they did it — four games, four days, beating two top-20 teams along the way — I’m ecstatic for him and for what it means.”
“A top-50 player, a top-25 player, a top-20 player then proceeds to become an assistant for 15 years? There’s no other (great) player (who’s done that),” Van Gundy said. “It’s not like John Stockton is doing that or Karl Malone or Bill Walton. Of all these great players from our past, he’s the only one. “To see all of those efforts get rewarded after grinding it out for 15 years — after being such a great, great player — I think it’s a great story for people who are experiencing a transition in their life. When Patrick was done playing, he was done as Patrick Ewing the player. When he went into coaching, he immediately shifted into, ‘I have a lot to learn. I’m going to work hard, just like I did as a player, and I’m going to get better day after day after day.’ ”
Van Gundy spoke informally, going over his resume as the son of a high school coach, 14 years as an NBA head coach, for the Heat, Magic and Pistons, and mentioned his work with the Rights Restoration Coalition. On his way out of the prison, he stopped in the library, where some prisoners were working on their presentations for parole and appeal hearings. A few noticed the famous coach standing in the room and scurried over. Van Gundy loved his visit. The men of Tomoka felt likewise. But it took almost a year of an additional feeling out via texts before Eisen finally expanded his offer.
He gave them a blow-by-blow of the first training camp practice for Pat Riley (with the Knicks), when Mason and McDaniel went at it in a full-blown fight, like five minutes into the first practice. And he told them about Sprewell — the whole choking incident with P.J. Carlesimo – and joked, “I’m sure he wanted to choke me some days as well.”
Curry likely won’t set new counting stats records for himself, due to his team’s rest consciousness. Steve Kerr favors taking Curry out for the first half of the second and fourth quarters, which is why he currently averages only 33.7 minutes a night. Overall, though, Curry’s still cranking out numbers on par or better than any season in his career save for his 2015-16 masterpiece, which is quite possibly the best offensive regular season of all time. Right now, Curry is 0.7 points off that season’s average and he’s doing it at a robust 64.9 true shooting percentage. This is happening with almost no help and opposing defenses trying increasingly novel methods for stopping him and only him. Fans and media are starting to notice, if they haven’t already. On the ABC broadcast, Jeff Van Gundy repeatedly emphasized how the entire defense was geared towards stopping Steph and how incredible it was that none of their methods mattered. As Curry keeps playing in these nationally televised games, he can gain some narrative momentum.
While he’s not willing to reestablish his long-term Knicks fandom as he runs for mayor, Yang’s tone on his podcast, “Yang Speaks,’’ this week seemed to shift on the Garden’s team — impressed with its 8-10 start. Yang said the club has “turned the page” with new coach Tom Thibodeau getting the club to “overachieve.” Yang said he believes in Thibodeau because he’s part of Jeff Van Gundy’s “coaching tree.”