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Volume 21 No. 35
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Quick hits from Jeff and Stan Van Gundy

“A fan should know that ... the players they market, the players we buy tickets to see,
they’re playing if they are healthy.”

On draft lottery reform:

Jeff Van Gundy: It’s a good first step. I don’t think there should ever be an incentive for losing. Everybody who doesn’t have home-court advantage in the first round should be part of the lottery. I don’t think it should be cut with non-playoff teams and playoff teams. I don’t think anybody should ever be left with the decision organizationally of “should we try to win or should we try to lose.” There should be zero incentive to lose. The league made a stride and needs to continue to move forward in that way.

Stan Van Gundy: Not every city is created equal. Not everybody has got as much wherewithal to exceed the cap. For some teams, the draft is the equalizer and you don’t want to see that taken away. But the tanking is an issue I don’t like. We should all be putting the best team on the floor every night.

On player rest guidelines:

JVG: We should come up with a number of games that we could reasonably expect the NBA player to play in every game — and just play that many games. That would be a sacrifice of money by everybody. But the bait and switch tactics of selling your star players to fans, fans buying tickets to see them, and then they are not showing up? That should have to stop. No one is saying that injured players should play. But it is my belief that the 65 games that our players could reasonably be asked to play in that amount of time — the length of a regular season — then that is what we should play. A fan should know that if healthy, the players they market, the players we buy tickets to see, they’re playing if they are healthy. Even though we say we don’t, we take our fans for granted. It will hurt us at some point. Hopefully, this is step one in a multi-step process to correct something that impacts our fans directly.

SVG: I try to stay away from it. Here it is pretty simple: If we have a game and someone is healthy, they are going to play. Maybe I’m not smart enough. That could be. But I will say this. It is an interesting time not only in our sport, but in others. There has been this boom in sports science. We got all these things. We know how to take care of players better. The travel is easier and better. We got sleep doctors and all these things going on and guys can’t play an 82-game season, at least that is what we are saying. I don’t begrudge anybody. If you think it’s best for your team then you have to do it. The fact that somebody thinks they should play their guys every night there is a game doesn’t make them idiots and it doesn’t make them guys who are behind the times. We are going to make our greatest effort to win every game. The guys who take the floor are always trying to win. As an organization, we are putting the best guys on the floor every night.

On jersey patch advertising:

JVG: Originally, I was against them. But then I’m like, who cares? It’s a way to make money. Our players are really philanthropic. Organizations have become more and more philanthropic. I would have liked to have seen a large chunk of that be donated to some charity or cause. When I heard about it, I said, “Oh man. Another way to generate money.” But then I thought it is a way to try and generate money. Good for them. I don’t look at it as greed. But pretty soon, the team name may be the 3-by-5-inch patch and the patches may be as big as the team name is now. I’m surprised that more mainstream companies haven’t seemed to buy patches. The idea has grown on me.

SVG: I like them. I think the NBA gives people great exposure and, in our case, we have a partner in Flagstar Bank with great values who really has bought into Detroit and the resurrection of the city and wants to be part of it. It’s not just take the biggest dollar. In our case, it has been done right.

— John Lombardo and John Ourand