On Wednesday, the New Orleans Pelicans hire Stan Van Gundy to coach this young team for four years. Van Gundy is not stranger to coaching, he was previously the head coach for the Heat, Magic, and Pistons.
On the Magic he was a game changing coach. Van Gundy lead the Magic to their first division title in 2007; their first title since 1995. Unfortunately, the Magic lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the Detroit Pistons 4-1. The next season in 2008-2009, Van Gundy led the Magic to the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers; however, the Magic lost in five games.
Van Gundy is a coach that has critics scratching their heads. He is a great coach during the regular season, but when it comes to the playoffs, Shaquille ONeal said, he is a, “master of panic”. This refers to the feud between Shaq and Van Gundy relating back to their days in Miami.
For the Pelicans, Van Gundy fits well. He will be coaching a young Pelicans team with Zion Williamson at the forefront. Williamson has similar playstyle to Dwight Howard and Shaquille O’Neal due to their build, so Van Gundy has had similar experience coaching unique and talented bigs. Van Gundy also coached JJ Redick in Orlando, so those two have a connection since Redick’s rookie year in the NBA.
Van Gundy is capable of coaching a young team and molding them into stars. He has knowledge of the game at a high level, and can mold a team that was 13th in the West last year; to a team that makes the playoffs.
The era begins in New Orleans; time to celebrate.
Featured Image via PelicanDebrief.com