Joe Lacob wants to find “his guy.” It’s become clear that while he values the opinions of his players, finding “his guy” is far more important than finding “their guy.”
In his first two seasons as head coach Mark Jackson seemed to play both roles, seemingly getting along with Lacob while fostering countless relationships with his players. But in year three of the Jackson experience, tensions formed between Jackson and Lacob.
So with Jackson out of the Bay Area, the search for the Warriors guy is upon us. Earlier this week before the Jackson firing was official, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein wrote about the possibility of Stan Van Gundy taking over the Warriors head coaching gig.
But does Van Gundy make sense?
Stan Van Gundy hasn’t coached since 2011-12 when Dwight Howard ran him out of town in the Orlando Magic’s Howard trade circus. Van Gundy’s track record is good though. He has a 0.641 career winning percentage in the regular season and took a team with Dwight Howard as the centerpiece to the NBA Finals in 2008-2009. Van Gundy began his head coaching career in Miami where he helped groom Dwyane Wade into the player that he is and upon leaving Miami to coach Orlando, Van Gundy took a 40-42 team and turned them into a 52-win team the very next season.
Van Gundy is an experienced coach that can maintain the Warriors’ defense and still improve their offensive system. Van Gundy though never coached a superstar point guard in his prime, unless you count Jameer Nelson as a superstar point guard. So it would be interesting to see what affect he could have on Stephen Curry’s game.
Personality wise it became clear that Lacob didn’t like Mark Jackson’s controlling attitude, but Van Gundy’s personality may not necessarily be better. Van Gundy is known for his aggressive coaching style and for being a far more negative cynic than a positive preacher like Jackson. Van Gundy would be put in an incredibly tough spot if he did join the Warriors replacing a guy like Jackson who was loved so dearly by all of his players.