Friday, December 11th, 2009 at 9:00 am  |  58 responses

Why Did Rashard Lewis Refuse to Re-Enter the Game?

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Generally, unless they feel that they’re being disrespected (which sometimes happens during garbage time), NBA players love nothing more than hearing the coach instruct them to get in the game. Last night in Utah, Rashard Lewis flipped the script.

According to Lewis, he refused to re-enter the fray in the second quarter against Utah because he had two fouls and teammate Ryan Anderson was rolling. Head coach Stan Van Gundy must’ve missed that memo, as he was totally confused by Lewis’s decision.

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Coach Stan Van Gundy was upset and said he had never had a player overrule him. “(Lewis) didn’t want to go back in. I wanted to put him back in with six minutes to go in the second quarter and he didn’t want to go back in,” Van Gundy said after the Magic (17-5) had their six-game winning streak broken. “He said it was because he had two fouls, and so if you have a guy who doesn’t want to play, I’m not going to get in an argument and put him back in if he doesn’t want to play at that time.

He said, `I’m going to back in and be out in three or four minutes and Ryan (Andersonn) is playing good.’ “I didn’t have time to get into it. It’s rare and I’ve never had that in the first half of a game. I was a little baffled by it.”

Lewis claims he wasn’t being defiant, but did let on that SVG laid some of the blame for the Jazz making their run in the second quarted on his star forward.

Rashard’s numbers are down slightly from last year, and Ryan Anderson (who took advantage of Lewis’s 10-game suspension to start the season) has been a pleasant surprise for the Magic. If Anderson keeps playing at such a high level, Rashard might start hearing less and less from his demanding coach.

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  • German Reignman

    Shard = Player-Coach

  • http://www.twitter.com/mansonovic Mansonovic

    Imagine the furore on here if LeBron did this.

  • solito

    How messed up is that? SVG should have taken a time out to rip him a new one. I don’t think we will EVER hear that story with the names Phil Jackson, Greg Popovich or Jerry Sloan in it.

  • roman

    Too early in the season for this drama-

  • solito

    … not to mention Larry Brown (he would have beat Lewis to death on the spot with his Medical Walker).

  • LeoneL

    To be fair, he’s got a point. But he totally let down my fantasy squad. lol

  • Randy Brown

    Roid rage got the better of him

  • http://www.runninglikwidworks.com Mr. RLW

    SVG is so d@mn confusing. I swear he’s a clueless coach in a good coaches body. Although, I feel a player should never “undress” his coach like that so to speak, by refusing to go back into a game. Why should Lewis have to instruct SVG of the fact that he has 2 fouls, it’s the 2nd quarter… AND that Ryan Anderson was rolling at the time, while Lewis was on the bench?

    C’mon son!

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    To be fair, Ryan Anderson was… ballin’.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Why were the Magic fouling for the last 2 minutes? They were down by 11 most of the time, and (in some cases) coaches will do that to practice set inbounds plays etc, but the Magic only ran 2 after fouling like 5 times.
    Can someone explain that to me?

  • http://slamonline.com/ niQ

    I bet Nate Robinson is confused as well.

  • http://iannyb9@hotmail.com Iannyb

    Stan Van Gundy is too pannicky he needs to go.magic will underacheived with him.They need more a coach like Avery Johnson,who knows what he’s doing and can command the game.SVG sucks

  • ilovekemp

    Hey Kemp would have gone back in and Kemp would have dunked.

  • Exile

    Anderson was on fire, but I can’t imagine Shard ” hearing less and less from his demanding coach.” Team dynamics encourage/discourage this type of behaviour… He obviously didn’t think it was a huge deal.

  • Fat Lever

    Didn’t he want and sign a max money contract? And now he’s saying that SVG is laying some of the blame for the loss on him? You don’t say! When will some of these guys that want to be paid like leaders actually take ownership and act like one?

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Shard is clearly in the wrong here. I’m surprised that the story went public, though.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling/index276.html chiqo

    the way anderson was shooting, i’d have left him in.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Of course the story went public, Z. What doesn’t go public with Stan Van Grumpy? He’s constantly in the news about rubbing this guy wrong or calling this guy out.

  • UnRel

    stan should prove a point to his player and not start him anymore..

  • Boogie

    @FatLever surely he is acting like a leader by recognising what his team needs and opting to act on that instead of letting stan van gundy make a silly, panicky decision…. Just because he disagrees with the coach doesn’t mean hes wrong. And standing up for your team mates when it makes sense also helps to build a strong team. Van gundy needs his bench to develop if he wants to realistically get a chip and right now it looks like shard is better at cultivating this than SVG. Shard is clearly not the reason they lost because its unlikely his production of the bench would have been as high as anderson on a roll.

  • Clark

    Regardless of how Anderson is playing, Lewis should do whatever the coach says, solely because he is paid so freaking much. SVG says shine his shoes, do it. Your getting paid like 20 mil, which is about 12 more than you deserve. C’mon buddy.

  • http://dsfjkl.com Jukai

    The better way to go through this is by saying, “hey coach, I wanna play, but Anderson is going crazy out there and I got two fouls. You think it would be better to just start me in the third?”
    You know, the rahhhhh was cause of all the steroids he takes. Sorry guys, I’m not feeling the funny today.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    It’s not like they are paying him $119 mil. You guys need to calm down.

  • RV

    ohh so that’s why they paid him so much, he’s a palyer/coach..makes sense now..

  • RV

    And Lewis is who i see Ariza being like in the future…all for about 6 mill a year….first they overpay Lewis, then they overpay Gortat ANd under play him..

  • Angelea

    Why do all the disagreements on the Magic become so public? SVG should take the initiative in saying that sort of stuff is not anybody else’s business. Rashard was right in suggesting Ryan stay in the game because he did have a really hot hand, but perhaps wrong in disagreeing with the coach. Having said that, I can’t imagine Rashard saying it in a defiant way at all. He’s just always been a class act. This story is overblown.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    maybe rashard had gas

  • BostonBaller

    He should have just gone in. NO player says no to playing time b/c they have TWO fouls in the 2nd qtr (you get 6). Players want to stay in when they have 5 fouls in the 1st qtr. lol. How is SVG getting ripped here on this one? He’s not my fav coach by a long shot but come on guys. What top player wants to sit while his understudy plays well and could possible eat into your future minutes? What’s the real story. YES, if this was Lebron or Kobe ppl would be all over this then again they would deserve to get more heat b/c they get more praise.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    @ Mansovic: If LeBron did that, Mike Brown would all: “uhhh…whew, what a strong man. golly what a great player. yes sir, 23, you tell me to shut up! now call me a dumbass coach! cmon Bron! slap me!”

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling/index276.html chiqo

    if shard had lebron’s player iq, no one would care. /sarcasm

  • http://gmail Dirty Frank

    Stan Jeremy should bench him for a week. If the guy doesn’t want to play when called on then don’t let him play.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling/index276.html chiqo

    maybe a bit extreme. one game, tops.

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    I don’t like how when SVG has an issue he can’t seem to solve on his own, he takes it to the media. A good coach would have enough respect to command the obedience of his troops. In the long run, you don’t win any points with your players by making your disputes public.

  • ab_40

    kinda dumb for a player to question his coach and the coach doing nothing about it. I don’t care about the two fouls even if he had 5 he still had to go back in because his coach tells him to. that’s not good leadership by SVG. and I never wanna see ryan anderson and the word ballin in the same sentence agains… he’s like troy murphy light. solid but not very good.

  • Jay

    Wow are you guys serious? The media is blowing this out of proportion like usual. I work for the team and I just saw them at the shoot around in Phoenix. Both of them were laughing and having a good time, joking about what happend last night. Chill everyone!!!

  • LeoneL

    @BostonBaller, well, if you are after personal achievements, then you would beg to go out there. Rashard on the other hand said that Ryan has the hot hand and asked/told SVG to let the guy play some more. Is that unselfishness or what?

  • LeoneL

    @ab_40, he might not be a “baller” but when you got a “hot” player, you leave him in the game. Remember that dude Linas Kleiza and his 41-point game?

  • Tim

    Magic are self destructing

  • http://june7thdonald@netzero.net donlaker

    rashrd rashard rashard roids and not doing, when coach van gundy beckons you from the bench ,rashard you have sunk a long way since the finals…. just dont go delonte on us
    and get caught with gats in your bowling bag
    but props for repping ryan anderson,because soon enough he will be starting for you……

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Ryan Anderson for M.O.P.

  • http://larbo929@yahoo.com Rashard Lewis

    Hey, lighten up. It’s not like Shard ran over a fire hydrant or hit a tree or something serious.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    anderson actually looks better than shard on dribble drives and post ups. he’s crafty. i still remember the sissy/awkward finger rolls shard was throwing against LA in the finals.

  • http://june7thdonald@netzero.net donlaker

    @ rashard lewis : what did tiger woods tell his wife? ive got to play 18 holes

  • tavoris

    @angelea-most of the Magic’s business is public because SVG set that precedent. If he didn’t call out his players in the media, then the players wouldn’t call out his questionable judgement in the media, either.

    Shard was wrong to refuse to come out, but SVG was wrong to even think about subbing out a player who’s on fire (and not tired)

  • http://slamonline.com NUPE

    Two fouls here – first a player should not refuse to play. Second the coach should not being talking bout this with the media. To me, the bigger foul is on Lewis, I would not call this this a SVG issue. Scottie Pippen did this in Chicago and was much ‘bigger’ news than this, so I don’t think the media is overdoing anything/or making it a bigger issue, they are just reporting on it – as they should.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    It’s a players JOB to play and it’s a coaches job to COACH. If coach wants you in. You go in. If he wants you to get to practice you get to practice. Lewis was so wrong here. Does this mean he gets to decide WHEN he goes in our when he goes to the bench when it suits himself?? I would suspend him 2 games if I was Van Gundy – wait till Shaq hears about this.

  • OE

    Wow.. the fact that you would even think that ryan anderson might take shard’s place on a team is beyond me, let alone write it down

  • Yesse

    Master of panic.

  • http://Www.lollercoasters.com Dr. West

    Shaq was right all along. Now Pat Riley is a motherfking genius for firing Ron Jeremy back in the 06 Heat championship run. Stick back to
    p*rn flicks (no pun)

  • marco

    It’s a players JOB to play and it’s a coaches job to COACH. <— what if the COACH doesn’t know HOW to COACH properly? if the guy is hot, keep him in.

  • Ryhar

    Are we going to get an update on this article?

    “Van Gundy said he knows Lewis’ act was not in defiance but in what he thought was best for the team, that he had two fouls and his replacement was playing well.

    “He had thoughts and thought that was what was best for the team,” the coach said. “One thing I have confidence in with him all the time — even if I disagree with him as I did at the time — he is thinking about the team. He isn’t thinking about himself.”

    Van Gundy said he has never had a disagreement like that in the “couple of hundred” games he’s coached Lewis. He said he wished he got along with everyone in his life as well as he does with Lewis.

    “I’m not going to blow that out of proportion,” Van Gundy said. “If I got along with everyone else in my life as well as Rashard, then I would be in good shape.”

  • Shem

    If your in the NBA, you play when the coach tells you but Orlando needs a new coach because I was watching that game and Ryan Anderson was playing great. When bench players contribute like that you don’t take them out because your starters get a rest. What I’m trying to say is it was a stupid decision by Lewis and Stan Van Gundy is just plain stupid

  • http://www.sixers.com 360vue

    Unprofessional ultimately, even though Shard was making right call, he should do his job and not lecture coach… still, it didn’t seem a problem at the time and neither made an issue of it afterwards, even SVG relatively speaking… this kind of whack could set bad precedents though

  • Yassi

    SVG should have simply shut up and not give it to the media. Then nobody would have known he was making the wrong call in the first place. Its embarrasing for him and he doesnt realise AND he gives it to the media. Rash dint undress him, he did. Jezzz….

  • BostonBaller

    @LeoneL: I fully understand you but come on now, what player doesn’t want to play regardless of who is hot? I’m not saying he is a stat hound I’m just saying that there is no way he did not go back in b/c someone else was hot. Apparently SVG was right to want him back in b/c the Magic did lose…every decision has a ripple effect…don’t drown……ps, you don’t TELL the coach anything you just go in and earn that HUGE contract.

  • riggs

    if it was any other coach they wouldnt have asked rashard to come in at that point, thats the difference between SVG and better coaches.

  • rikson

    Thats just unacceptable… players becoming divas! @Yassi: How can you say that this was the wrong call? Do you know what his plan was for the game? I mean he is head coach of a very successful franchise and you are…? All you can say is, that you THINK it was the wrong call… just sayin!

  • tavoris

    @rikson-SVG didn’t make the Magic a better franchise, Dwight Howard’s dominance on the boards did.