Jeff Van Gundy has been known not to mince words. As a matter fact, the infamously former New York Knicks head coach has been known to give anyone who is willing to listen a good tongue lashing about whatever it is that he believes true at the time, which usually makes for great fluff and quite enjoyable banter-watching. But this time, the former coach turned sports commentator’s rant about the current NBA playoff format versus the proposed one seems just a little bit out of touch, maybe even out-dated.
Despite there being some notable changes from generation to generation, even the latest era that has seen the likes of Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant vanish from the professional hardwood floor, the NBA has continued to improve. A new cast of players now stands in the limelight and along with those players are nuances that the governing bodies of the NBA have deemed to be in the best interest of the league, its players, and the fans. Some of those changes have been on court rules, branding regulations, clothing legality, and even the structure of the playoffs, which always seems to be a big deal to some, and sore point for others — for years there’s been some disgruntled mentions about abandoning the best-of-five first-round format to a full best out of seven straight through each round.
Now, the issue may be about a 1-16 tournament style playoff format that would require teams to possibly travel longer distances more often. And Jeff Van Gundy had a lot to say about this when NBA players began to grumble.
Van Gundy, always outspoken, responded, “Oh oh, poor guys! The Shrimp Cocktails may not be quite as chilled by landing time, how devastating.”
Needless to say, the former coaches’ words were met with some consternation. While Van Gundy has always been apt to lend a sarcastic voice to the perspective of matters, his reaction and own personal view of NBA players my call for attention. What is noticeable is that this isn’t the same league that he coached in, nor is it the same league that he served as a commentator for over the course of a decade or more. Like many things in life, change has happened, and with change comes a responsibility to adhere to governing and the feelings and position of the players: some player may not want to travel as suggested – during a playoff stretch. And they have that right without being regarded as the characterized brats of Jeff Van Gundy’s sardonic quip.