Orlando Magic superstar Dwight Howard told the Sentinel on Thursday that he asked Stan Van Gundy in a private meeting to quell what he perceived as the coach's recurring negativity.
The fiery, demanding Van Gundy confirmed that he met with Howard, who was speaking on behalf of the team.
"I think, as a team, there was a lot of negativity and it's not like Stan's a negative guy," Howard said before the Magic left for Boston to face the Celtics on Friday night. "But it's like there's always some clashes and focusing so much on our mistakes. Instead of bringing each other down, we have to pull each other up.
"That's the only thing I wanted from coach."
Van Gundy told the Sentinel that his negativity was "draining the enthusiasm" from his team. He vowed to change his tactics --- from practices to press conferences to the bench on game nights --- after listening to Howard's concerns.
Lots more in the link...
I'm glad they handled it like men, got it all sorted out now. It could have become a meltdown if they let it fester and explode in the middle of the season. I think it shows some good leadership by Dwight. Hopefully they'll start getting everything together now.
I loved SVG's biting criticism, but I am not a pro NBA player listening to it about me personally night in and night out. It will be interesting to see if he is perceived as a better or worse coach as this plays out.
Edit: This part is particularly funny, especially "little mary sunshine"
"Absolutely, on the bench. I would say that's the biggest area…on the bench," he said. "I know it can be done with the same level of intensity. You can make your point. I just got to make them better. And with less negativity. But the intensity level won't drop, not on my part.
"It is my basic nature to sort of slide into that…I'm never going to be Little Mary Sunshine, but I got to find a better balance. I've certainly gone too far the other way."
Re: SVG has private meeting with Dwight Howard, pledges to be less negative...
This is my take on it...
I'm cool with it. I love SVG *****ing people out, but I'm not a pro basketball player playing for him. It's not like they're completely incompetent and idiots running around the court, they have a good general idea of what they're doing. I know that some positive reinforcement can go along way instead of drilling on the negative continuously.
Phil Jackson has always been pretty encouraging to his teams, it's worked out for him.
I think that SVG is a great coach and he'll be able to find a way to get his team to listen to him and respect him without berating them all the time.