- Jon Greenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- A local reporter unfamiliar with Stan Van Gundy, the perpetually grousing coach of the Orlando Magic, asked what made him happy with his team.
After all, the Magic came into the game 25-15, the third-best record in the Eastern Conference, despite the lingering questions about Dwight Howard’s future with the franchise. But here's the spoiler alert: Van Gundy is definitely not in love with his team. It sounds like he barely likes it.
“I haven’t been real happy, I’ll be honest,” Van Gundy said before the game. “ ’ll say what’s pleased me the most is we’re a pretty resilient group. We’ll have bad nights, we’ll have bad periods in games and we will bounce back. We just have not established that we will play real hard and play together on a consistent basis.
“We’re real up and down in the way we’ve played,” he continued. “I think we’re a group that’s satisfied with where we are and not making the big push to really get better. While the record is fine and there’s been some good things, but it’s hard for me to be real happy with where we are right now.”
On the other hand, Van Gundy had glowing words for the Chicago Bulls, who came into the game on an eight-game winning streak and with the best record in the NBA. It sounded like he was envious of their situation.
“[Tom Thibodeau's] team plays hard every single night,” he said. “And they play very well together every single night. I think everybody over there deserves a lot of credit, but I think Tom obviously and the coaching job he’s done over two years, there’s been nobody in the league that’s done a better job. There just hasn’t.”
While there has been questions about Howard’s willingness to want to play with Rose, Van Gundy sounds like he’d love to make a straight trade of adidas pitchmen. After all, what coach wouldn't want Rose, an MVP who barely talks and never complains.
“And I think the other thing is they’ve got a great player in Derrick Rose, with a great attitude,” Van Gundy said. “He’s a guy who’s just all about winning and making his teammates better. It’s not about him, it’s not about gaining publicity and attention, it’s not about his numbers. It’s just about winning games.”