Stan Van Gundy Joins Brother Jeff In Overpraising New-Look Miami Heat


August 19, 2010

Those Van Gundy brothers really are fascinated by the Miami Heat, aren't they?

Just a couple of weeks after brother Jeff praised the new-look Heat saying they would break the NBA record for wins in a season, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy opened up about the subject in agreement with his brother.

Stan Van Gundy went on the Dan LeBatard Show this week and had some pretty kind — almost too kind — words to say about his division rivals.

"If I look at what the Bulls did winning 72 games [in 1995-96] and I look at the Heat roster, I am going to tell you that the Heat roster is better than any roster that Michael Jordan played with with the Bulls," he said. "I don?t think that people predicting them breaking the win total and being in the 70s and the whole thing, I don?t think those are expectations that are out of line based on their roster. Whether they come true or not, we?re going to find out in a few months, but I don?t think those are crazy predictions for the roster they have."

Van Gundy, never one to shy away from the microphone wasn't done there.

"Dwyane Wade is certainly, in my opinion anyway, as good as he was, is better than Scottie Pippen. Chris Bosh is better than Toni Kukoc. Mike Miller is every bit as good a shooter as [John] Paxson or [Steve] Kerr or anybody they put there. Plus, he?s 6?8?. If you start going down the list, I don?t think there is any question that the roster the Heat have is as talented a roster if not more so as any roster there has ever been in the NBA."

The coach also rather casually dismissed Michael Jordan as LeBron James' superior, but that is obviously the key point when it comes to comparing the two teams.

The Bulls had Jordan, the Heat have James, and really, it's that simple.

No matter how hard he tries, no matter what he does, LeBron James will never be Michael Jordan and that is something that both Van Gundy's are forgetting along with anyone else who are already calling the Heat the best team to ever play the game, even if they haven't stepped on the court yet.

Jordan did things in his day that LeBron could only dream of doing. And it's not just that, either. Sure, Dwyane Wade may be a better basketball talent than Scottie Pippen was. But, with that being said, does Wade compliment James better than Pippen did Jordan?

It's too early to tell on that, but it could also be argued that perhaps it's going to be James complimenting Wade. There is no, by any stretch of the imagination, any sort of hierarchy on the Heat roster.

You can sit there and say that Chris Bosh is better than Toni Kukoc — which he is — all day long, but Kucoc knew his place, and it's tough to know whether or not Bosh will do the same.

Oh, and by the way, who is the Heat's version of Dennis Rodman? The 34-year-old Rodman led the league in offensive rebounds in that historic 1995-96 season despite only playing in 64 games. I'm sorry, but I don't see anyone on that roster doing anything remotely close to doing that.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra (who was only three years out of college when the Bulls won 72 games) will be charged with the task of making sure things run smoothly for the Heat. And that fact alone, hints at the biggest discrepancy between this Heat team and Jordan's Bulls.

Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Kukoc, all of them, were great players. But Phil Jackson corralled all of their talent, and all of their egos, and led them to multiple titles, highlighted by that 72-win season.

Erik Spoelstra is no Phil Jackson. LeBron James is no Michael Jordan. And these Heat are not the Bulls.

Stan Van Gundy probably knows this. He may even be building the Heat up to just knock them down. Regardless of his reasoning, he should probably keep both eyes in Orlando instead of worrying about what's happening on South Beach.

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