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Transcript: Stan Van Gundy Introductory Press Conference

Stan Van Gundy Introductory Press Conference Transcript – 10.27.20

Mrs. Benson Opening Remarks:
“Welcome, everyone. I’d like to welcome everyone again today. Even though we’re doing this remotely, it is still a very exciting day for our New Orleans Pelicans organization. Thank you again all for joining us. Our entire organization is so pleased to welcome Stan and his wife Kim and their four children to the Pelicans family. Stan has had a tremendous record of success as a head coach in the NBA. He is regarded as one of the most innovative and respected coaches, and I am personally excited as well as our entire organization to get ready for the start of the next NBA season, which could be very soon. We know that Stan brings a very strong basketball mind to the game. He demands accountability and will provide great leadership for our young team. Finally, I want to acknowledge the hard work that David, Trajan, Swin (Cash), and our Pelicans front office put into the interview process. We were purposeful and deliberate, and we got the coach that we wanted. I am so excited for the upcoming season and cannot wait to get back to playing basketball in the very near future. Now I welcome our Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, David Griffin. Thank you.”

David Griffin Opening Remarks:
“Thank you, Mrs. Benson. As Mrs. Benson mentioned, we feel like we absolutely got the right guy and the right person for this job, for the right fit at the right time for our team. I’d be remised if I didn’t start this by thanking Alvin Gentry. Alvin, in the time that he was with us, represented our team and this community at the highest level. We’re very appreciative of that, and more importantly, we’re appreciative of the fact that Alvin shared very positive thoughts with this organization in terms of our ability to move forward and build a winner with all of our different coaching candidates, and I think in large measure that helped us land the pool that we were getting to look at of candidates. Trajan and I have talked about that. We were benefited by having an incredible pool of candidates that wanted this job, and no small measure, he (Alvin Gentry) was a part of that, so we thank him for that. Relative to Stan Van Gundy, this is a process where Trajan, Swin, Bryson Graham, and myself and many others of our front office team interviewed nine total people in one fashion or another. We set up a very clear criteria that we cared about for what we were seeking in the next head coach, and we took a great deal of time to do that. We’ve talked to many of you offline from a media perspective explaining why we were not in a hurry and as fate would have it, maybe the season is going to be on us sooner than we thought, but the reasons for that were multifold. One of them was, we wanted to take enough time to really analyze our team, get a feel for who we felt like we really were and do that without this thing of what had just happened in the ‘bubble’ sort of resonating daily with us. We wanted to give ourselves a real opportunity to know who we were and what we needed. I think what we very quickly discovered in our interview process was that Coach Van Gundy gave us the best possible optionality. Coach Van Gundy, in his 22-year coaching career as an assistant and as a head coach—12 years as a head coach—has proven he’s a coach who’s going to win an awful lot of regular season games. Winning almost 66 percent of his games in Orlando, better than 60 percent of his games in Miami, and for his career has a winning percentage above five hundred in the playoffs, which is really, really rare, so, this is a proven winner. This is a coach who can win right now, but more importantly to us, it’s a coach that’s a teacher and a very sincere, authentic human being who’s going to build long-lasting relationships with our team, and because we look at this team as just now scratching the service of what we hope is a very long, sustainable run, coach Van Gundy was obviously the selection for us because, in addition to giving us the best chance to win in the short-term, we feel he gives us the best chance to build a sustainable winner in the long-term. For that reason, I know Trajan and I are honored to introduce you to our next head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, Mr. Stan Van Gundy.”

Stan Van Gundy Opening Remarks:
“Thanks to Mrs. Benson, and to Dennis Lauscha, to David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, Swin Cash, Bryson Graham, and the entire front office for giving me this great opportunity. I was really enjoying being a TV analyst, I wanted to coach again, but only if we could find an absolutely great opportunity, and New Orleans had it all. First of all, a governors and executive group that has proven that they know how to win at the professional level, as the footballs over Greg Bensel’s head and behind Mrs. Benson as they spoke indicate. On top of that, a group that is totally committed to the New Orleans community, which is important to Kim and I as we were looking for people to work for. Then, David Griffin’s proven ability to build championship level teams, but also we were very impressed with the front office team that he has put together in New Orleans and the family atmosphere that he is trying to build within the organization and within our basketball team. Then, of course, it’s a very exciting roster—a mix of very talented, young players and some productive, high-character veterans. Finally, a great city that Kim and I are excited about and can’t wait to live in. Then, probably when we knew for sure that we had made the right decision was last night when the communications team told me instead of jacket and tie, I could wear a polo for the introductory press conference. Okay, so I knew right then I was on it. While Griff, Trajan, and their staff are in preparation for the draft and free agency, we’re also all already at work getting ready for the season. Hiring staff, working together to hire staff. I’m trying to get to know our players. I’ve spoken to all of them, starting to meet with them in person and spending time studying film. I can’t wait to get back on the court and to try to build a tough, disciplined team that truly won’t bow down. Finally, to the people of New Orleans, my wife and I can’t wait for the opportunity to represent the city and to immerse ourselves in the community. We’re more than excited to be a part of the New Orleans Pelicans organization and to get started to try to build a winner here.”

On a final piece that solidified Coach Van Gundy coming to New Orleans:
Stan Van Gundy:
“That’s hard, because it really was all of those things (the city of New Orleans, Mrs. Benson, David Griffin and the front office, the roster). There were so many great things, and there was truly not even one red flag anywhere that would make you hesitate. If I had to pick one thing, I would say that I met with Griff and Trajan, and the entire front office, and then with Griff again, and I would say it was mine and my wife’s connection to Griff to where I really came to believe in him, and not only his vision for the team, that was important, but just the type of person he is and how he wants to operate.”

On coaching a young roster:
Stan Van Gundy: “I don’t think it’s all that much different (coaching a young team as opposed to a team of veterans). I think the one thing is, and I’ve already talked to our players, and I don’t want them, or us, to ever use youth as an excuse. I think sometimes you can start with ‘oh, well we were young, and that’s why we turned the ball over three times in the last two minutes of a tied game’. Listen, they’re all great players, and they came into this league young because of their talent, but it’s time to play and compete, and I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but, as far as the coaching, what makes it different is there’s a lot of teaching to do and to bring these guys along. The NBA game is different than the college game in some ways, and learning all of those things. There has to be more teaching, there has to be a real emphasis placed on their development. They are far from finished products at this point in their career, no matter how good they are and we have to keep that in mind every day.”

On developing and holding accountable Zion Williamson:
David Griffin: “I would take exception to the notion that we have to hold him the most accountable. Part of what we’re trying to build here is no one here is more important than anybody else. This is a ‘we’ thing, and one of the things we’re most excited about as it relates to Zion, is he feels the same way. He
doesn’t want to be put on a pedestal, he doesn’t want to be singled out in any way, shape or form, and accountability starts with ‘you’re just one of us’ and I think Coach Van Gundy would agree with that, and its’ certainly been how he’s built his teams up to this point.”
Stan Van Gundy: “I absolutely agree with that, and here’s the other part of that is when we’re talking about accountability, we start to think of the coach, or the GM, or the Vice President, or whoever it is coming down on people, and that’s not it. A lot of it is in talking to Zion, and I’ve talked to him on the phone, and I can’t wait to sit down with him in person, but as Griff said, it’s with everybody on our team and getting a feel for what our goals are and where they want to go in their career and what they want to see this team do, and then trying to help them get to that point and hold them accountable to those things they know they need to do to get there. A lot of times that’s what accountability is all about is ‘Hey, you told me you want to be the best player in the NBA. You told me you want to be part of a championship team, and you also told me these are the things it takes,’ I’m going to hold you accountable to that every day. It’s not us coming down on Zion or anyone else on the roster, it’s us trying to help them, and accountability is a big part of that.”

On the time away from the game and Coach Van Gundy’s perspective of the game now:
Stan Van Gundy: “I didn’t have expectations one way or another as far as how long I would be away, but I do think the time away, and I’ve been through it before, I think it helps you get out of that tunnel vision mode of your own team and you see what’s going on with everybody, what works, what doesn’t work, things you like, things you don’t like, it allows you to really zero in on that and grow a great deal and open up to different perspectives. I kept notes for two-and-a-half years on games that I watched, on things I heard in clinics, on coaches that I talked to, and all of those things will allow me to be even better this time around.”

On the strengths of the current roster and expected changes going into this season:
Stan Van Gundy: “The thing that’s most exciting to me I think when Griff and Trajan and their team started putting together this roster last year. There’s a great mix; there’s a lot of exciting young talent with the potential to grow into something great, but alongside of them, you’ve got some very productive, high-character veterans with great experience. To me, that’s the most exciting thing. As we get more specific, it’s a team that has proven they can play with great pace, there’s incredible depth on the team, we have a lot of people that can shoot the ball, and then you’ve got two of the most unique young guys in the entire league, Brandon Ingram, who’s the most improved player in the league. He’s one of those really tall, long guys who plays like a point guard, who can get to anywhere on the floor and score the ball, then, I don’t even know the comparison for Zion Williamson. He’s unique in the way he plays, but this is a guy coming off an injury for most of the year that was able to be extremely productive and efficient, there’s just not people like that. There’s a lot to build around there. As far as changes, it’s not a change – and I love when Griff started this off by giving so much credit to Alvin (Gentry), because Alvin is a guy I’ve always had the utmost respect for, both as a coach and as a person, so it’s never a comparison of ‘Alvin did it this way, I’m going to do it this way.’ A lot of it is where we are as a development of this team and I think it’s clear just by the numbers that where this team needs to get better is at the defensive end of the floor, and we’re going to have to make a real commitment at that end. From a coaching staff point of view, that commitment is to do a great deal of teaching down to where we really understand what we’re doing at that end of the floor, and from a player’s point of view, the players are going to have to make a commitment that if we want to win at a high level, in a very, very talented Western Conference, then we are going to have to be a very good defensive team and they’re going to have to put in the time and effort. It’s all of us that have to make the commitment to get better at that end.”

On missing coaching:
Stan Van Gundy: “You always miss it. At first, it’s like anything, you’re in the grind, you’re grinding, and then you get away from it, and for a few months it’s nice to not have it on your mind, but then the season starts up again, and you’re watching games, and taking notes like I always do, and your mind starts working and you want to get back to that. The longer it goes, the more you want to get back to it, and frankly, for me, broadcasting the games in the bubble and sort of being immersed in basketball for three months there, you’re itching to get back to it. You’re seeing things on a daily basis that you like and don’t like, what you could implement with a team. I missed it a great deal, and I’m excited to be back at it, but again, I would have only done it in a great situation, and I was not in a situation where I would have taken any job. There was only one job I even tried to get involved with, that was this job, and it was all the things we talked about before, and I’m really excited to coach this group.”

On the perspective of holding a head coach and top basketball executive role:
“One of the things I’m really excited about is just getting back into a coaching role and letting Griff and Trajan and Swin and Bryson (Graham) worry about that other stuff. Griff mentioned the other day me watching a draft candidate and I started shaking – I’m not sure if that’s what I want to do. I’m really excited about being able to zero back in on our roster, developing the players that we have and getting our team to play the best basketball that we possibly can. That is one of the really exciting things for me coming back after this short layoff.”

On Coach Van Gundy’s relationship with JJ Redick:
Stan Van Gundy: “My relationship with JJ is one that I treasure. JJ and I were together for five years in Orlando. I saw him work every single day – one of the most focused, committed people I have seen in 25 years in this league. He’s someone that’s very thoughtful, not just about the game, but about everything in life, so he’s somebody that I’ve stayed in touch with over these last eight years when we haven’t been together. I have a great deal of respect for him, and one of the things that he said to me, and probably the most important thing, is that, ‘We have great people on this team, these are all great people, there’s not one bad guy. You’re going to love coaching this team, Stan,’ and so that was meaningful to me because I know when JJ talks about someone being a great person, a great teammate, I know what his standards are, and they’re very high, so that was very meaningful to me.”

On the coaching staff:
Stan Van Gundy: “That’s something Griff and his group in the front office and I are working on together. Right now, we don’t have anything that we’re ready to announce, but we’re moving along on that front and I think we’ve got some outstanding candidates and some very good ideas, and that should come together relatively soon. The way the NBA is going we may be starting training camp next Monday, so I guess we should get a staff together sometime over the weekend I guess.”

On how the league has changed since Coach Van Gundy has been removed from coaching and how will he need to adjust:
Stan Van Gundy: “The game continues to evolve and change but some of it starts to come back full circle. We continue to see the three-point shooting rising, the number of attempts. Because of that, the amount of switching in the league, defensively, has gone up and changes the way you need to play offensively. I think we’ve seen more zone defense and that changes you offensively. Certainly position-less basketball is becoming more and more of a reality. A lot of people want to refer to things as ‘small-ball’ and what I think we’re really seeing is the value of big skilled players. It’s perimeter ball, not small-ball, and that allows you to do things at both ends of the floor, but as the game changes you always have to adjust as a coach. Every night you have to adjust based on who you’re playing. It’s not like the game is dramatically different than it was in 2018 the last time I was coaching, where I’m coaching a whole different sport. There’s just things that you have to do a little bit differently, and there’s some different actions that people favor that you probably need to spend a little bit more time working on than you did a couple years ago.”

On Zion’s role:
Stan Van Gundy: “I think you have a vision for what he is, which is a multi-talented guy. He is an unbelievable playmaker for a guy at his size. He’s a guy that can take the ball of the glass and lead the break and make plays. He can make passes off of the dribble, he can finish over bigger people inside, he’s a multi-talented guy. I don’t look at him in any way if he’s a four (power forward) or a five (center), I’m not sure those labels matter when it comes to him. I think when we study him and try to get more definitive and talk to Zion about what he likes, I think it’s more [about] what positions do we want to put him in, and who’s best around him, and things like that, it’s not limiting him to a position. I think we’ll get to a starting point of that at the start of the season, and my guess is, as time goes on, I’m going to find out that he can do even more than I think he can do, and things will evolve from there.”

On addressing interior defensive issues:
Stan Van Gundy: “When you’re talking interior defense, people tend to focus on just the big guys themselves. I would say, the first thing on interior defense is, let’s try to keep the ball out of the interior. If the ball is getting into the heart of the defense on a regular basis we’re going to have problems. Our defense is going to get broken down, we’re going to get into foul trouble, and those poor big guys are going to constantly be in compromising situations, so I don’t think we can leave it to just those guys on the inside, but once there’s a breakdown, and inevitably it will against good teams, there’s a lot of ways to play interior defense. There are guys who are shot blockers like Jaxson Hayes is going to be, there are guys who are great position defenders and really understand the principal of verticality, there are guys who are really physical, there are guys who will take charges, and we need all of that. It’s not just our big guys playing interior defense. Everybody has to be willing to put themselves between the ball and the basket and prevent the ball getting to the rim. I think interior defense is huge, but I think sometimes we tend to place the burden on that just on a couple guys. Like everything else with defense, and offense for that matter, it’s a team thing, keeping the ball away from the rim, and we’re going to have to do a lot of work in that regard.”

On using Lonzo Ball in a more position-less role:
Stan Van Gundy: “My initial thoughts on Lonzo Ball were this, on the offensive end of the floor; I don’t think there’s anyone better in the NBA of advancing the ball up the floor for your team quickly before the other team’s defense is set. So many times in watching the Pelicans, both to do broadcasting, and now starting to study our team, there’s so many time’s he’ll catch an outlet or an in-bounds pass and advance the ball up the floor with a pass without ever taking a dribble, and that is very unique in the NBA, and I think puts guys like Jrue Holiday, like JJ Redick for shots, like Brandon Ingram on the attack, like Zion Williamson, that puts them in positions where the defense isn’t set and it’s tough to get into help. The biggest step that Lonzo took last year was his three-point shooting. He improved that greatly, and not only does that help him as a player, but the spacing it creates on the floor for your other creators, for guys like Jrue Holiday and Brandon Ingram, is really good for your basketball team. The third thing I would say, and this is not something that I can say I know for sure, I’m just saying this from what I’m watching on film, Lonzo Ball seems like a very smart basketball player to me, and smart basketball players eventually figure it out. I went through that with JJ Redick. He came in and it took him a little time to build his career, but smart, hard-working guys figure it out as time goes on and continue to improve. I think as good as Lonzo is now, and he’s very good, I think that we can expect a good arc of improvement from him over the next few years.

On what impressed Coach Van Gundy most about last season’s Pelicans:
Stan Van Gundy: “I love the pace that they played with, and in my mind watching them, I thought they were an unselfish team. I didn’t think there was anybody on their team that was a ball-stopper that was trying to force the issue. I thought the ball moved pretty freely, and I think that gives you a chance to play really good offense on a consistent basis.”

On what result would make Coach Van Gundy satisfied next season:
Stan Van Gundy: “That’s interesting because that’s something that Griff and Trajan and I talked about when we were interviewing, and I’m not a big believer in setting those kind of goals. It’s not that I’m afraid that I’ll set the goals too high; I’m afraid you’ll set the goals too low. Let’s say that you set the goal of making the playoffs or being over .500, and then with three weeks to go in a season you’re in the sixth spot and you’re ten games over .500…what, we can just shut it down now? Look, I know it’s cliché, I understand that it is, but it’s true also. I think our goal – and I think Griff and Trajan and Swin and Bryson (Graham), I think their goal as well is – with our team literally is (that) we want to get better every single day. We want to make improvement every single day, and if we’re doing that and if we’re committed to the work that has to go into doing those things, then the results will take care of themselves.”

On if Stan Van Gundy has any similarities to European coaches he has worked with:
Trajan Langdon: “I think the one thing that really stood out with Stan was just his passion about the game of basketball…his open-mindedness, his curiosity about the game. I think he’s alluded to it already during this press conference, in his time out he was still looking at ways to get better as a coach. He was listening to a lot of Zooms, he was taking a lot of notes. He talked to us about a clinic that he was a part of over in Iceland with a lot of great names, coaches from Europe. So I think that curiosity and that open-mindedness has a lot of similarities with some of the great coaches that I’ve interacted with and played for over in Europe. We’re really excited to have Stan with us and to be able to learn from him in these years going forward.”

On the relationship between coaching and analytics, and what Coach Van Gundy’s personal relationship with analytics is:
Stan Van Gundy: “I think analytics is very, very helpful, and I think one of the probably underappreciated offseason moves that Griff and his front office staff had made was bringing Michael Hartman in to head up analytics here with the Pelicans. He and I were actually texting on some things last night. I started by asking one question, and then I had another idea I wanted an answer with, and then I had another idea of something we could do. So I think he’s in the process of moving and I hope I’m not making (it) so he doesn’t want to come back because I’m throwing so much at him, but I can’t wait to spend time with him and ask him questions because there’s a lot of things that I’m curious about that I think I might want to do differently in terms of coaching philosophy, but I want to know what the analytics say about those things. So I look forward to having a great relationship with Michael and trying to wear him out, actually.”

On what Coach Van Gundy has learned from his previous coaching stops that led to desired environments and how he thinks this group of Pelicans can develop culture:
Stan Van Gundy: “I think this is one of the areas that Griff and I and the entire front office sort of connected on. Culture, what it really is, it’s a body of shared values of how you want to work and how you want to do things. I think that we’re very aligned on that. The two real beliefs I have on culture are: it has very little to do with what you say, and it has everything to do with what you do on an everyday basis. I’ve said to people in the past, I started my NBA career working under Pat Riley in Miami and now they talk about ‘Heat Culture’ all the time. But when I was there – and I was there for over ten years – I never remember Pat even using that word ‘culture’. I never remember him talking about culture, and yet every guy on our roster could’ve told you exactly what the culture was of the Miami Heat. So you build your culture day by day, interaction by interaction, practice by practice, step by step. Over time, people will see what our organization is all about, what our leaders are all about in the organization, and then down to the players, and then the players that are around us for a while pass it on to the other players. That’s how you build a culture…there’s no overnight to that. You can only accelerate that process so much. It takes time. It takes day after day stuff. The second thing that I believe about culture is – as much as Griff and Trajan and Swin and Bryson, and even above us to Mrs. Benson and to Dennis Lauscha, to myself and the coaching staff – as much as any of us try to set the example on a culture for our basketball team, what our culture actually ends up becoming will be what our best players decide that it’s going to be. So those are the guys that have to take the responsibility for creating the kind of culture that we all want here with the Pelicans.”

On how Coach Van Gundy will get this team to commit to sustained effort on the defensive end:
Stan Van Gundy: “I think the money is irrelevant on that point. That’s part of the business that these guys go through negotiating contracts. My experience in the NBA is, when guys step on the court none of that matters. They want to play basketball, they want to compete. They wouldn’t be where they are in this game if they weren’t competitors, and they want to win. Guys want to win, and you’re not going to do that if you don’t get the job done at the defensive end. Ultimately, none of the players are going to get the respect that they want in this game unless they’re part of a consistent winner in the NBA. Again, this goes back to what we were talking about earlier with accountability. It’s not me standing there with a hammer and hitting them over the head; it’s being clear on what their goals are individually and as a team, and trying to help them understand what will get them there. What gets them there is being part of a great team, and a big part of being part of a great team is what you do at the defensive end. When guys understand that, they will put in the effort and the focus that it takes to be a good defensive team.”

On how Coach Van Gundy’s relationship with JJ Redick can help other players buy into him as the new head coach:
Stan Van Gundy: “I think absolutely. Anybody that knows you and can sort of let people know what to expect – and by the way, it’s not going to all be good because JJ’s an honest guy. I think most of it will be good, but some of it won’t be to guys. So you have to take it with a grain of salt. But yes, I do think it is helpful any time people can firsthand tell guys, ‘This helps me,’ and ‘Yeah it’s tough at times, but it will pay off in the end.’ I certainly think that’s helpful.”

On the Smoothie King Center being an early voting location and if being outspoken about voting and social/political issues in America is something Coach Van Gundy plans on continuing to do even after the election:
Stan Van Gundy: “There’s no question. First of all, with the arena being used as an early voting site, I think that is tremendous by the Pelicans organization, by Mrs. Benson, to get that done because obviously in this pandemic we need places where we can vote and yet socially distance and stay safe, so the arenas make a lot of sense. I think NBA governors like Mrs. Benson stepping forward has been very, very helpful. One of the things that I really liked – you go through an interview process and as much as Griff and Trajan are doing research on me, I’m doing research on them and the organization. One of the
most impressive things to me was Mrs. Benson being on the board of the NBA foundation (of) eight people, with the money the owners are throwing in: thirty million dollars per year, specifically to empower Black communities economically. So clearly, there’s a commitment on her part to do things and that’s somebody that you can be proud to work for. We represent…at least in my situation, we’re out there every day working with people who are predominantly Black people. You hear their stories over a long period of time, and when you hear those stories and you know what the issues are and you have a chance to speak out and help them, you want to help them. Dennis Lauscha made a great comment to me when I came in to interview, that you want to do that and you want to do it as constructively as possible so that you’re bringing more people in instead of turning people off. I thought it was a great comment, and I’ve tried to keep that in mind in these last two weeks since I left because I hadn’t always done a great job of that before, and I think that really is important.”

On if there was a ‘lightbulb moment’ where David Griffin knew Stan Van Gundy was the guy for the job:
David Griffin: “I think Trajan’s lightbulb moment may have been different than mine. I think Trajan was really committed to it very early on in the process. I think the lightbulb moment for me was getting to spend time with Stan and his wife Kim together and really understanding – and he talked about this in terms of culture being about a body of shared values – I very much see my wife Meredith and I in their relationship, and I think Stan has walked the walk in his life on and off the court, and that really mattered to me. It mattered mightily to all of us, but in my particular situation having also taken a couple of years off and having the time to sort of understand exactly what I had been doing wrong, as a family they were committed to doing this right and they wanted to do it with us. When I felt that moment where we were all together on the same page, for me that was definitely that moment of clarity that made everything mean something to me in a different way.”

On the potential of a December start date to next season and how crazy that makes your life for the next eight weeks:
Trajan Langdon: “That’s a great question and I think we’re all trying to wrap our minds around that right now. We’re talking about it internally every day. I think, logistically, it’s time management. You talk about it when you’re in high school; you only have so many hours in a day to do your homework and to play sports and to do whatever you do with your friends. Well, right now we only have so much time to really prepare for this draft, we’ve got to put together a coach staff, we’ve got to prepare for free agency. There’s a lot of stuff we have to do to get our practice facility ready in terms of a hygiene standpoint. We’re going to have a lot of things that the league is going to ask us to do in terms of preparing the practice facility, not only to get our draft picks in but to get our free agents in and to get ready for camp. So I think there’s a lot of things that are going to be asked of us to do that we don’t even know yet. So just trying to prepare and control the things that we can right now and not get ahead of ourselves. But that will be a challenge right now with only so many days out from the start of the season and even less until camp starts.”
David Griffin: “I would echo that and I would also say that the idea of starting free agency at about the same time camp starts is really daunting. To think about bringing people into training camp sort of on the fly as you add to your roster, I can’t even really conceive of what that looks like…and frankly from a coaching perspective, I can only imagine somebody that’s the kind of prepared that Coach Van Gundy is – I can’t imagine what it would do to their staff to not know on a day-to-day basis how many bodies you would have and who those bodies would be. So it sets up to be a very daunting start of the season for everyone.”
Stan Van Gundy: “When I read the other day that we might even go a month earlier than expected, I was like, ‘Wow!’ Of course coming into a new situation you’d like to have more time, but I think back – I’ve worked for some great coaches in my time coming up and a guy I had great respect for, I worked for a guy named Nick Macarchuk at Canisius and at Fordham. He would say to our players all the time – and I’ve thought about this statement every day since I’ve taken this job, so for six straight days, and this is what I think it comes down to – ‘We’re going to be ready to compete anytime, anywhere, under any conditions.’ I think in some ways this is a great way to get this message across to your players. When do you have to be ready to start camp? Well, whenever they tell us…so that means get ready now. And it carries over into the season. We’ve got a back-to-back, second night, no excuse. Anytime, anywhere, under any conditions, we’re going to be ready to compete. That may be a little bit quicker than I’m comfortable with, but that’s the way it is and we will be ready.”

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