May 13, 2014, 11:58 AM EDT
UPDATE: This deal fell apart pretty much as Mannix talked about it. Now it looks like Stan Van Gundy is headed to Detroit.
We said it, a lot of people said it when Golden State’s owners fired Mark Jackson as coach, a guy the players loved and who just won 51 games:
You just put all the pressure on yourself to hit a home run with the next hire.
Stan Van Gundy would be pretty close to a home run.
That marriage seems to be moving on the fast track, with another report confirming it, this one from Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
Talks intensifying between Warriors and Stan Van Gundy, per sources. Van Gundy now Golden State's clear top choice. Moving towards a deal.—
Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 13, 2014
This is the best move by Golden State — he is the best coach available for this roster.
One of the knocks on Jackson was he was not an Xs and Os guy, he was the motivator who leaned on assistants for a lot of that. Van Gundy is a strong defensive coach with a great grasp of strategy and systems. He is going to not only put Stephen Curry in good spots to succeed, he will do it for Klay Thompson and others. Look at what he did in Orlando, where he spaced the floor brilliantly with Dwight Howard inside and three point shooters around him — a version of that can work in Golden State with their shooters.
What’s more, Van Gundy is one of the best defensive minds in the game. The Warriors were a good defensive team likely to even get a little better.
It’s likely going to take some roster tweaks to get Golden State competing in the West with the top three (San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the L.A. Clippers) but Van Gundy is the coach who can help that that roster to the next level.
Bottom line: Hire him and the Warriors get better. That’s all you can ask.
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