Stan Van Gundy repeatedly rips the Boston Celtics on national broadcast

4 weeks ago
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National broadcasters tend to stay impartial as live analysts of the game. On Monday night, TNT color commentator Stan Van Gundy was anything but neutral when discussing the Boston Celtics.

The veteran head coach spent over two decades on NBA sidelines, coaching greats from Dwayne Wade to Dwight Howard. He was known for his comedic temper and hard-nosed coaching, which led to immediate success but tapered off as his career prolonged. His last stop with the New Orleans Pelicans was disastrous, failing to connect with his young stars, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. After his departure, he turned to the mic, calling games for Turner across the collegiate and pro ranks.

He often adopts a coach-first approach, harping on fundamentals and defense while questioning players for complaining to officials. His style is typical, but he does a sufficient job in his role. That was until he let personal bias destroy the ears of those listening at home.

It started innocently enough, complaining about the Celtics’ lack of intensity. Even with a lopsided score, Van Gundy highlighted late rotations and sloppy closeouts against an inferior Heat squad as concerning for a team with championship aspirations. His point was that the score was largely irrelevant because of the talent discrepancy, and the poor habits could linger deeper into the postseason when Boston will face stiffer competition.

But as the game progressed, these issues began to irk Van Gundy far more than they should’ve. His critique was overly competitive and felt forced, particularly as the Celtics firmly controlled the contest. Every substandard screen navigation led to a five-minute monologue about unacceptable effort.

It culminated when Bam Adebayo contested a shot from Jayson Tatum after a whistle late in the fourth quarter. Adebayo slid his foot under Tatum’s, causing the Celtics franchise cornerstone to land awkwardly and grimace in pain, grasping his left ankle. Players often try to chuck a shot when play is dead to gain a rhythm, which tends to be contested by annoyed defenders. Adebayo was overly aggressive and had a dangerous closeout, which was a fairly easy assessment of a bizarre situation. Van Gundy went off in one of the most embarrassing announcer rants in recent memory.

“Tatum’s going to shoot the ball after the whistle, and you’re not going to just let the guy get a warmup shot and get ready for the next one,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think there’s anything there. To me, Jayson Tatum doesn’t need to be shooting that. You don’t want this? Then don’t shoot the ball. I’m sorry to see that he’s in pain, but I’m going to leave the blame on Jayson Tatum. I am a bit biased here because I have not liked the Celtics’ approach this entire game.”

Van Gundy coached the Heat in the early 2000s before Pat Riley came from his managerial position to take over the team in the middle of the season in 2006. The franchise promptly went on to win their first title. His brother, Jeff, also works as a senior advisor for the Celtics. He’s far from a Miami shill.

He was evidently letting an irking observation cloud his judgment, but the tirade ruined the broadcast. It was unprofessional, and his partner, Brian Anderson, and the network looked complacent and unprofessional. A producer could’ve gotten in his ear during a break and told him to tone it down, but that never happened. To blame Jayson Tatum for sustaining an injury is inexplicable.

The Celtics should extract the audio from the foul incident and much of Van Gundy’s second-half word vomit and play it for the team.

It’s easy bulletin board material for a team that isn’t short of skeptics.…Read more by Xaiver Aguiar

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