Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 at 11:00 am  |  73 responses

Howard, Like Everyone, Critical of Van Gundy

by Marcel Mutoni

During the Orlando Magic’s incredible collapse in the fourth quarter last night, Stan Van Gundy made some horrifically bad decisions that had just about everyone scratching their heads. And “everyone” evidently included his franchise player, Dwight Howard.

Following the game, Howard let the press in on his frustrations with the man pacing up and down the Magic sideline.

The Orlando Sentinel grabbed the quotes:

“I would just say it’s tough to win all season when you play inside-out with people who got you off to a good season. I think I’m capable of scoring in the post,” Howard said after the Magic blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead and lost 92-88. “I don’t’ want to say it’s all about offense. But when you have a dominant player, let him be dominant.”

Howard didn’t get a shot in the last six minutes. “I have to do it defensively where I have to be more aggressive and offensively I have to get the ball. I don’t think you are going to win a lot of games when your post player only gets 10 shots, he said. “It’s tough to get yourself going and get a lot of shots without a lot of touches. We have to do a better job with that.”

“The coaches have to recognize what’s working on the floor. Stick to it. Even if it’s half your starters on the floor. Not just the guys you have put the most trust in. You have to have trust in everybody,” Howard said. “We moved the ball, we ran, got easy shots, and our coach has to recognize when he was a certain group out there and they are getting the job done and we have to leave those guys on the floor. We are going to make mistakes, but I think you have to go with what works.”

Y’know, it’s probably not a good sign when a player – the team’s biggest star, no less – is calling out his coach this deep into the postseason.

Somewhere, Shaq is quietly chuckling to himself.

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  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great


  • vmcb

    Howard’s offensive shortcomings are rediculous. Whenever Howard gets the ball in the post, and hes not in a position to dunk it, he throws up some ugly hook that usually misses pretty badly. I’d be more upset with the reffing than the coaching, personally.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    i agree. the magic takes too many 3′s. they need to feed the ball to da-white. he gets 20 point games mainly on offencive rebounds.
    Stans a goner.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    @ vcmb that was one game. the game glen davis made the game winner.
    he usually comes threw in crunch time.

  • https://twitter.com/Neuronautuk mat smith

    Stan is an animated, over-reacting moron, I hate watching that guy, he is so frustrated, and it bleeds through into his team.

  • https://twitter.com/Neuronautuk mat smith

    “we wanted to push the ball, but we didnt, we walked it up” so your team ignore you then.

  • http://theghostofroyhobbs.blogspot.com Mo Charlo

    The time stamp on this post is when the Orlando Magic were declared dead.

  • Gachan

    It’s amazing just how correct the big Nostradamus was.

  • vmcb

    @ nate the great – Don’t get me wrong, Dwight is a great player, one of the best in the league. I’m just saying he should develope a more reliable go-to move if he’s going to demand the ball in crunch time. The ball is usually in Hedo’s hands for a reason.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    yeah, Stans presence is just.. UGH! you hate being any where near him, or even watching him on tv.

  • mj23

    it’s funny how the media tries to compare Dwight to Shaq. Shaq had much better footwork, and was much more polished offensively. He’s FT % stinked due to his large hands, but so did Wilt.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    @ vmcb, he does have an alright move. i mean shaq criticized his go to move, and shaq still coudlnt stop him.
    plus glen, and perk were pushing on him, he threw up the ball expecting fouls, but didnt get anything.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Old School Baller

    It’s no secret that “apparently” Orlando shoots too many 3′s and need to go to Dwight Howard in the post late in games. This has been chronicled by ESPN, TNT, etc. all year long. Somehow Orlando never got the memo though. The point never aggressively looks for Howard. The coach doesn’t emphasize it. The perimeter players don’t force it inside because they’re agenda is to shoot 3′s. However, I don’t see Howard demanding the ball inside either. I’ve never once seen him grab the point guard by the collar or give the ultimatum of “get me the ball or else!” Moses Malone whould have choked somebody out by now. It’s also no secret that Howard needs to develop a mid-range jump shot to be more effective in the low post.

    Basketball is not subjective. For Orlando’s late game problems to be ironed out maybe need to be sent home or somebody needs to be fired. When they tire of watching teams advance who “they are so-called more talented than” then they will make the changes necessary to close teams out. Yet another paper champion bites the dust.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/christopher_sells-authorHV106.html chiqo

    rafer alston took at least six threes last night. that’s why they lost.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    and all hedo does for game winners is jack up 3′s.
    even if they are down by 1 point.
    thats not talent.
    thats lack of confidents in other players.
    its kinda sad.
    but in late late late games, thats all you got is hedo.
    im just saying feed the big man early, and mid in quarters.
    but he didnt touch the ball for.. what did he say? 6 mins?

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

    If only Billy Donovan never backed out of his deal…..

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    OH!!! TAD i forgot all about that!
    great point, i wished he woulda stayed. that totaly blew past me.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Old School Baller

    There is no magic pill for the Magic. There isn’t a coach, a player, etc. who can change this team’s forturnes. They just do not have any basketball IQ whatsoever. At some point the players have to take responsibility for what happened. Down the stretch they took so many low percentage shots it was ridiculous. They did not even attempt to run any semblance of an offense. They looked like a bunch of streetball players out there. That’s why teams like Boston win championships and teams like the Magic win a lot of regular season games and get sent home early in the play-offs. I would bet money that the Magic’s players couldn’t even explain why they imploded down the stretch last night.

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    Dwight Howard is also a master of panic.

  • Kas

    comparing shaq to howard offensively is too farfetched. Shaq is one of the greatest scorers ever, dwight couldn’t make a 5-foot hook to save his life. he is terrible offensively

  • http://www.clutchfans.net nick

    *Cue obnoxious Jeff Foxworthy voice* “If yoooouuur late game offense consists of dueling Hedo Turkoglu and Rafer Alston pick and rolls, yooooooou might be a Master of Panic.”

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Yao and Dwight need to learn to SCREAM for the ball more.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    @ mj23: But Wilt was better than Shaq.

  • madamerica

    It’s ironic that Rashard Lewis effectively called the team dumb when he was the guy doing the dumbest things on the floor in the 4th quarter.

  • cdef28

    Since Stan Van called out Dwight in a press conference, Howard gets his revenge.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    collapse is right. i watched the 2nd half of the game up to the Starbury takeover (really happy that he still had that in him), then had to leave and thought celtics were dead in the water (they were so sluggish the whole night). from the look of things, magic choked the game away rather than celtics grabbing the win.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Can’t believe this failure of a team was about to send 3 all stars.
    lol @ nick.

  • Brian

    Howard puts up some of the meekest 20/20 games I have ever seen.

  • riggs

    they miss jameer

  • mj23

    A year or two of college would’ve helped Dwight’s game.

  • Cizzo

    As a team the Majic need to recognize what they need to do to be sucessful. Down the screcth as a TEAM they did’nt have clue on how they were going to scroe. Hoisting up plenty of 3′s even when here was need to to take those shots, they know bwhat there doing.

  • http://slamonline.com Yknot

    “A year or two of college would’ve helped Dwight’s game.” That’s why they needed Billy Donovan. If he helped Horford and Noah what could he have done for Dwight?

  • Warren

    @riggs: NO DOUBT. Nelson was putting daggers in teams on the regular. They just don’t have that player right now.

  • ClydeSays

    Sort of a bad timimg to turn on each other, eh Dwight? Wait until the season’s over & THEN push Stan under the bus.

  • http://slamonline.com DONONE


  • Tommy Patron

    I really hope they kill the Howard for MVP talk next year. What a joke. He is a BIG notch below the other three candidates.

  • http://slamonline.com DONONE


  • http://jakeandamir.com tealish

    I stopped reading at “I think I am capable of scoring in the post”.
    Dwight, I’ve watched you in the post. And sorry, that is an utterly incorrect statement by all means.

  • http://allanzuss@yahoo.com Mendel

    Really really WEAK. I now lost all respect I had for Howard. Throwing your coach under the bus in the playoffs and being the leader/superstar is a recie for losing the next game and does not provide leadership or any kind of team unity. As a matter of fact you are now nothing more then a gorilla.

  • AZ


  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Old School Baller

    MJ23, your comment about a year or two of college would have helped Dwight’s game is dead on. Not only physically, but it would have helped his basketball IQ. Orlando has a few other players who did not attend college as well. When I posted such comments about the value of HS ball players attending college last week a few guys tried had some weak arguments about how it doesn’t matter. They mentioned Dwight Howard as a perfect example of why you shouldn’t go to college. It’s curious how none of those guys have anything to say about last night’s game. The Magic looked like 5 “individuals” out there last night running around without a purpose. That “deep water” eventually exposes everybody.

  • Tommy Patron

    Howard needs to watch film of early Lakers Shaq setting up for good position in the paint.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    …and what the hell was Rafer thinking at the end of the game? That lazy one-armed heave was supposed to be an oop I guess?

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Also, Dwight is being a little b1tch. Perk pwned him.

    And what the hell does this mean?:

    “I don’t’ want to say it’s all about offense. But when you have a dominant player, let him be dominant.”

    “Dominant” players don’t need ANYONE to “let them” be dominant.

  • Seven Duece

    Of all the elite big men in the league does anyone have an utterly incompetent guards and perimeter oriented forwards collection as Dwight? It’s bad enough the guy has to rebound for the entire team, but then he has to go stretches at a time without so much as touch! Who else has to deal with that? Even Tissue Soft Gasol gets more touches, pitiful. He’s not Hakeem, but neither is Eddie Curry and at least dumbass Isaiah Thomas had the good sense to make him a scoring priority in New York.

    Van Gundy (pick one really) uses every – AND I MEAN EVERY – press conference/opportunity to berate the team he’s supposed to coach, teach and lead. So now he’s above the same criticism just because he’s the coach? Hell no, and hopefully he’ll be fired soon. Rudy T, where are you?!!

  • http://www.mybleedingfingertips.blogspot.com/ Myles Brown

    Dwight Howard actually made me agree with John Hollinger. This is unacceptable. Get a post game and youll get more touches.

  • Clark Kent

    Dwight has no post moves and he kind of reminds me of David Robinson in that respect. While David was awesome, his back to the basket game left much to be desired. Dwight is going to have to put in some real work to truly dominate. Right now his offense is not dominant against a team with legit post defenders.

  • http://www.nba.com JE

    Shaq must have the biggest smile on his face right now.

  • Mark

    Meh. Losing on the big stage brings out the bad. Dwight’s wrong to do this in the press. Stan needs to vary his offense & come up with options off every play. Having Jameer out definitely hurts them. Rafer is just as likely to hit a big shot as he is to chuck up a wild one.

  • http://sjsu.edu davidR

    yea, it’s not about offense. how about 0 blocks and steals, dwight? if you’re a superstar/presence in the post, put your stamp on the game. will your team to victory, no complaints.

  • youngmuggsy

    So everybody hating on Dwights offensive game would honestly prefer Rafer Alston jacking up 3s to Dwight Howard getting touches in the post?

  • Tommy Patron

    Howard has not accomplished enough for him to ever coast like he has in the playoffs. Sure, he gets some rebounds, but, really, I believe he has not learned enough yet to know how to exert himself when a playoff team is trying to stop him.

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Old School Baller

    Through all of the hype from magazines, bloggers, commentators, etc. what gets masked is that a lot of these kids in the league just aren’t highly skilled. It takes years, maturity, game experience and dedication to develop the basketball IQ and post moves of a Tim Duncan, Abdul Jabar, Moses Malone, etc. Quit anointing these kids as the “next this” or the “next that” and let them earn it on the court. That “deep water” called the playoffs, exposes everybody. Even Shaq got exposed in his first NBA Finals again Hakeem. Who cares who won the slam dunk competition now?

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Wow, co-sign Old School Baller. Very good points. The best skilled center in the NBA is clearly Yao Ming, but Dwight Howard isn’t as bad as you guys think. He does play great defense and his post game IS still developing.
    “Give them some effin’ credit already, for real”.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    However, I also disagree about Dwight going to college. You seriously believe the NCAA would have prepared Dwight Howard for the NBA better than the ACTUAL NBA? He’s arguably the best center right now (I personally prefer Yao), but I do agree his offense needs work. So, how better develop his post game than playing against ACTUAL NBA competitors, rather than some easy, NCAA kids? The two levels of play aren’t even comparable.
    You know, its no coincidence Greg Oden dominated in the NCAA (as Dwight Howard surely would have), but isn’t much of a factor at all right now in the NBA. For guys who are good enough to play in the NBA straight from high school (ie. Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard), the NCAA is TOO EASY.

  • http://nicekicks.com MeloMan13

    Dwight still hasn’t developed any ‘skills’, so Chewing is important because….?

  • http://www.newyorkshockexchange.com Old School Baller

    Agreed Teddy-the-Bear; however, Howard has not (or maybe he refuses to) developed an 8-15 foot jump shot. All of his points come off of power moves to the basket. Those power moves will get him 20 points per game but during crunch time in the play-offs, opponents will take away those power moves. On several occasions he could have caught have asked for the ball from 12-15 away but did not because he was comfortable that far out. When he starts to score consistently in the mid-range area, teams will have to guard him from there which will open up power moves to the basket. Like Calvin Murphy who carved up the court 15-18 feet and out as his “sweet spot”, Howard’s sweet spot needs to be “15 feet and in”. Right now he wants to operate 8 feet and in and playoff caliber teams will take that away during crunch time. Until he does that he will only be known as the slam dunk champ.

  • Clark Kent

    @youngmuggsy, so acknowledging flaws in someone’s game is hating on him? I think Dwight is a good player, but he’s game needs some serious refinement if he is ever going to lead his teams to championships.

  • youngmuggsy

    I think referring to him as just a slam dunk champion is hating. Serious improvement? he led his team to 59 wins this season and you’re talking like he’s Jason Collins.

  • http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_mod/upload/album_2_1046639711.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_page.php%3Fpic_id%3D292%26mode%3Dnex Dacre

    Dwight just ran Stan Van out of town…

  • youngmuggsy

    I think the big thing for dwight to improve on is his passing, the guy gets doubled all the time and orlando have perimeter shooters at the other 4 positions. Shaq’s ability to find the open man pretty much made the Lakers unstoppable during their championship years.

  • http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_mod/upload/album_2_1046639711.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_page.php%3Fpic_id%3D292%26mode%3Dnex Dacre

    riggs Posted: May.13 at 1:15 pm
    they miss jameer
    they miss shots.

  • wilford brimley

    Dwight Howard probably shoots less than 20% on non-dunks. The guy has NO post moves, NO touch around the bucket. He needs to develop a baseline jumpshot, a hookshot, head fakes, shoulder fakes, a dropstep. If you deny him position under the basket, he is worthless. And it isn’t that difficult because although he is strong as a bull, he isn’t a massive body. He’s useless on the pick and roll, because he can’t pop since he can’t shoot, and his roll is useless since he can’t roll close enough to the basket to dunk.

    He needs some coaching and time in the gym to develop his offensive game. People don’t seem to be evaluating his skills correctly right now. I think he can definitely acquire these skills, but he clearly does not have them right now. In a few years, he should be averaging 25+ ppg while still shooting above 50% from the floor.

    Oh yeah, learn to shoot free throws so that the opponent won’t be able to foul him late game, resulting essentially in a turnover for the Magic. He’s almost rendered useless in the fourth quarter because he can just be fouled and he will at best get 1 point.

  • http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_mod/upload/album_2_1046639711.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cinepatas.com/forum/album_page.php%3Fpic_id%3D292%26mode%3Dnex Dacre

    What I don’t see is, if the Celtics go on a 14 point run and Howards complaining about getting touches, I’m turning that around and saying, “you want to touch the ball? How about you block it to stop these 14 point runs??” I’m sure Stan Van will get the brunt of this “fault finding” (most coaches do in the end…) BUT this has AS MUCH to do with the players on the floor as it ever does with the coach on the sideline.

  • erik

    The magic played like booty the last 5 minutes of the game. But i think they can get it together an still take it in 7 , even with Dwights limited offensive talent

  • Seven Duece

    People are acting like Dwight is 12ppg scorer. Dude is averaging 20+ in the regular season AND playoffs. And for all his supposed shortcomings on offense, he’s STILL leading the L in FG percentage for the playoffs as well. We won’t even go into how many times he scores with his LEFT hand. It’s as much about about the timing of the pass to him as it is his footwork. He’s taking around 14 shot attempts a game – that’s a damn joke! And that’s actually MORE than he did in the regular season, UNBELIEVABLE! Of the top 50 scorers in the ’09 season, he averaged less attempts of all but 1. Are you serious? Whether he screams for the ball or not, you’d have to be real dunce on the court not to recognize his capability.

    Van Gundy loves to get on a mic and start blasting everyone (players, refs, media) after a loss. Well, why can’t he take some of that heat from any one of the people he’s been dumping on? If the Magic can get Eddie Jordan this off season, they’ll be punching a ticket for the Finals within 2 years.

  • chintao

    wilford brimley is a wise old-head.

  • chintao

    Had Howard gotten the ball on every possession, the comeback would have been facilitated. Boston would have fouled him, thus stopping the clock. Howard would have bricked at least half his freebies, and Boston would have won by an even larger margin.

  • Lz – Cphfinest 3

    In my opinion Dwight is much closer to being a bigger stronger version of Ben Wallace (in his heyday) than being the new Shaq. Dude is a beast on D, but really can’t do anything besides dunk on offense. Sad that he’s been in the L for 5 years without being able to learn any postmoves, in any normal profession if one had a learning curve that steep they would have been out the door a long time ago. Dwight is a tremendous basketball-athlete, but he’s not much of a basketballplayer. What has the world come to when the only real talented center around is Chinese?

  • http://sjsu.edu davidR

    college would not help dwight at all. dudes are way smaller in college, why would he ever have to learn post moves? you see how easily greg oden was punking guys when he was at ohio state? i mean, if dwight is punking guys for easy points in the nba, he’d probably average 30+ points a game in college just off dunks

  • http://effyou@heythere.com Allenp

    Hmmm… I believe I said this was a problem with the Magic’s current core….
    Dwight is limited on offense, but he’s improving. His little running jump hook is much better. His main problem is establishing hte sort of deep position that Shaq regularly got. Howard is strong in his upper body, but light in the legs, which makes it hard for him to get position. Then again, Yao has the same problem and he has tree trunks for legs.
    Maybe Shaq, and, gasp, Eddy Curry, know something about establishing deep post position that these other cats don’t understand. Or maybe they’re both just pretty fat…

  • http://effyou@heythere.com Allenp

    What does the fact that Yao is Chinese have anything to do with anything?

  • Seven Duece

    I still don’t get everyone’s assumption that Dwight is so limited on offense that he can only dunk. You don’t average 20 plus with that much of a limited repertoire. As far as the Ben Wallace comparison, you really should watch NBA games a little more. And which center in the last 25 years got the deep position that Shaq got? He came into the league 300lbs, over powering Hall of Famers. Since then every big guy minus Marcus Camby has beefed up.