From the Orlando Sentinel:
"I can't answer that," Van Gundy responded. "And I certainly can't have an opinion because David Stern, like a lot of leaders we've seen in this world lately, don't really tolerate other people's opinions or free speech or anything. So I'm not really allowed to have an opinion, so it's up to him. He decides. And he likes the system that he has."Coaches like SVG and Phil Jackson have learned how to skirt the issue of criticizing the league without expressly criticizing the league - in this case, Van Gundy perhaps implying that David Stern shared some common traits with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Whether that's enough for Stern to hit Van Gundy in the wallet remains to be seen.
It's not the first time that SVG has stood up for his big man. Earlier in the season, Van Gundy said he believed the officials were picking on Superman. Even Kevin McHale admitted that the refs can sometimes be quick with the whistle when it comes to Howard. The fact remains that eventually Howard has to learn how handle being targeted by opposing team's defenses. Van Gundy argues that what happens to Howard on a nightly basis is akin to the average person running on a treadmill for 45 minutes while someone else comes by and hits them in the head three times at random.
The problem with that argument is that Dwight Howard is not the first big man in league history to take a beating from other teams. Going back to the days of Wilt Chamberlain all the way to Shaquille O'Neal, any dominant big man with free throw line issues found himself getting karate chopped by opponents late in close game situations. The solution has always been the same - either get the player off the floor or get him to up the free throw percentage. Otherwise, teams will continue to scheme the same way.
That being said, any day we can get a good Stan Van Gundy rant is a pretty good one.
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