New Orleans Pelicans fans hear this: Lonzo Ball will thrive under Stan Van Gundy.
Lonzo has some of the most passionate fans in the NBA, I know this personally because every time I write anything even remotely negative about their guy, I hear about it.
The Lonzo Stans are already out in full force after the Van Gundy hire, claiming he is the wrong choice (with no evidence) and that he is going to “ruin” Lonzo Ball and run him out of town.
The idea that a coach would want to make a player worse or push talent out the door is absolutely absurd, let’s start there.
But here is a little sampling of what I’m talking about. These are all comments taken from an article announcing SVG’s hire.
Most of the backlash comes from a Lowe Post podcast where SVG talked about Lonzo and potentially playing him more off the ball.
This was something he was talking about as an analyst and he also mentioned how he thought Lonzo was a generational passer and a very smart player. No one focused on that part though.
Then you have the ones that didn’t have any reason and just said things like:
Astute analysis for sure. How about this gem?
He must be fun at parties.
Not only is SVG not going to “ruin” Lonzo Ball, there is ample evidence that just the opposite will happen.
New Orleans Pelicans: Lonzo Ball will flourish under Stan Van Gundy
Stan Van Gundy has won everywhere he’s been and done it with teams that were not stacked with elite talent, especially at guard.
The best guard Van Gundy ever coached was a guy called Dywane Wade, who had a pretty good career if you recall and was not “ruined” by Van Gundy. In fact, he made the All-Star team in his second season and credits Van Gundy with helping him get there.
In Orlando, Van Gundy took Jameer Nelson, a 6-foot point guard who was taken 20th in the draft, and helped him become an All-Star while leading his team to the Finals.
He also helped guards Jason Richardson, who had a productive 14-year career, undrafted Ish Smith, who overcame a lack of size to become an impact bench player who is still playing and J.J. Redick, Van Gundy’s biggest advocate, who he credits with teaching him how to play defense and extending his career.
Van Gundy didn’t have as much success in Detroit, mostly because his roster was a mess and he never had a lot of talent. Even so, he got the most out of Tobias Harris, Reggie Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Langston Galloway.
He helped develop Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who just won a ring in Los Angeles and Spencer Dinwiddie, who went on to be an All-Star for Brooklyn.
My point is that SVG has not only won with marginal talent, but he has squeezed the most out of it.
The New Orleans Pelicans will be the most talented team he’s ever coached. SVG has never had a point guard like Lonzo Ball, a tall, wing-sized player who can be very versatile.
Van Gundy has a knack of figuring out how to best use players and I am sure the same will be true of Lonzo Ball, whether he leads the league in assists or not.
Fear not, Lonzo Ball fans, Stan Van Gundy is not here to ruin your guy. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lonzo makes an All-Star team in the next few seasons, partially because of the influence of SVG.