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Why Vandunce will fail with Houston , from STAR LEDGER
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6/15/2003  8:07 PM
At the top of his list of Things To Do, after VANGUNDY hires a staff that will cost conflict:

1. Discipline. He'll make it clear to every player how to conduct themselves as professionals, because they don't know. Some have grown used to Rudy Tomjanovich's laid-back methods and have abused it to an absurd extreme in terms of their practice habits. With Van Gundy, they'll come early and leave late, or they'll be left behind.

2. Defense. It will take them one day of training camp to recognize that there will be a system for the first time, and if they don't adhere to it, they'll be of no use to him. He is a hard man with whom to negotiate a second chance. Guesstimate: More than 80 percent of the first two weeks of camp will be dedicated to putting in his defense.

3. Establish Yao is the Man: As Van Gundy put it, the best thing about Yao Ming is that he wakes up every morning at 7-foot-5. Such a weapon cannot be limited by the amateurish whims of two guards who don't like to post the ball regardless of the physical mismatch staring them in the face. He'll demand 30 touches per game, minimum.

4. Bring in a point guard: It's nothing he has said, but Van Gundy values point guards who pass first and shoot second. It is the primary tenet to his overall coaching philosophy. So, a hunch: He will tell Steve Francis that he sees him as a shooting guard, and try to convince management to make a move for a traditional point, such as Eric Snow -- a doable deal, if Philly wants to bring Eddie Griffin home.

5. Changing the culture: If he fails to enact No. 4, he'll have to find a way to get Cuttino Mobley out of the starting lineup, because he will impress his coach as a player who is far less interested in winning than he is in padding his stats. Mobley would be a good choice for sixth man, but he'll start pouting the moment they change his role.

6. Getting the Franchise on his side: If he fails to enact No. 4 and 5, he'll have someone do it for him. If Van Gundy has a singular talent, it is attaching himself to power. He will build Francis up as the leader of the team, he will have him at the top of his game, and then he will stand by with a safety net on those nights when Stevie starts to break down.

Francis is undoubtedly one of the five most talented hybrids in the league, but he has to be comfortable with his role, and Van Gundy may have a sales job to do here.

[Edited by - playa2 on 06/16/2003 13:40:21]
JAMES DOLAN on Isiah : He's a good friend of mine and of the organization and I will continue to solicit his views. He will always have strong ties to me and the team.
Why Vandunce will fail with Houston , from STAR LEDGER

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