It's late May, we're still talking basketball in Boston, and that, by definition, means life is good.
A few playoff thoughts:
I began revising my opinion more thoroughly by spending my entire allotted hour sitting at his table while he was being interviewed in his capacity as coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars in 2000. He was very likable in that setting. I once ran into him on the street at a Final Four in New Orleans when he was in-between jobs, and we had a very nice conversation. My wife still talks about it to this day.
Anyway, how great is he on TV?
I love him. It's like sitting next to an extremely knowledgeable insider with a wicked sense of humor. He gets the entire TV commentary shtick completely. He doesn't overburden us with arcane coachspeak. He knows just how technical to get, and he loves the game the way so many of we laymen love the game, so he makes great references.
I just wish all you basketball junkies, especially those of you for whom the terms PSAL and CHSAA have meaning, could have been with me at the Detroit airport Tuesday morning as I took part in a three-way hoop conversation with Van Gundy and his on-air partner Mark Jackson. They were going back and forth about great New York City high school players, among other things, and every time Van Gundy wanted to make a point he would direct the index and middle fingers of his right hand at his face and say, "I saw it with these eyes." In other words, "This isn't hearsay."
He wants to coach again, which shouldn't surprise anyone. At 46, he's way too young to abandon a profession he truly enjoys. But I hope his return to the coaching biz can be postponed indefinitely. Don't worry; he ain't starving. In the meantime, he is supremely entertaining.
Number one. They're too long. The nonsense in Detroit in endless. The players almost need to go out and get warmed up again.
Number two. No flames and no smoke. None.
But I'll tell you what I do like about Detroit, and if it could be done in moderation I'd have no objections. I like the drummers. I forget what those drums are called, but I'm talking about the "Drumline" style drums they have for their intros. They're pretty cool. For a while.
Stern told me 12 years ago he was determined there would be a balance between the old and the new with regard to so-called "Game Presentation." He lost that balance a long time ago. The league has given itself over to the marketers and in-house "Entertainment" geeks. You saw what happened in New Orleans earlier in the playoffs when their stupid flaming rings thing wound up causing a 20-minute delay when some overzealous maintenance people put the fire out with standard fire extinguishers. That was Stern's excuse to crack down on all the idiocy I speak of.
Of course, the greatest fantasy of all is to find anthem singers who just sing the anthem without turning it into a torch song. If you can't sing it in a minute and a half, don't bother.
That's it; I'm done preaching.
Yet. No one has ever said this kid isn't willing to work.
You mix that in with his great ambidextrous drives; his assortment of Tony Parker-like floaters, flyers and what-not; his superb defense and his creative passing, and you might have an All-Star point guard, not merely an adequate one.
And his rebounding! He's the greatest 6-foot-1 rebounder this league has seen since Fat Lever was cranking out those triple-doubles for Doug Moe.
All in all, he's pretty good for 22 years old; I'd say.