During Sunday’s nationally televised game between the Lakers and Thunder — one where Kobe Bryant racked up 14 assists in helping his team to a much-needed win — color commentator Jeff Van Gundy had some strong words for Dwight Howard.
Howard has been up and down this season, and is clearly not all the way recovered from the back surgery he underwent last summer. But he’s complained about his touches at times, while badly missing defensive rotations and blaming his teammates in the process.
These are the things Van Gundy took issue with in an extended rant during the second quarter on Sunday.
Here are some of the more pointed remarks, as transcribed by LakersNation.
He’s let everybody know ad nauseum that his back hurts OK, and that he is not 100%.
That’s not what people are upset about.
They’re upset about his waffling constantly on everything. This idea that he has to have less touches now? You’re the one that wanted out of the situation in Orlando where you were the featured guy. So this is what I‘ve ascertained that would make him happy:
Highest paid player, on a championship caliber team, first option offensive threat, in a big market, with no pressure, no responsibility and no one to prod him from a coaching standpoint.
Where do you find that in the NBA?
What he should do is say, ‘I wanted out. I wanted here. I’m going to make it work here.’
You should not have to beg a NBA player for energy, effort and unselfishness. Because you are not getting touches doesn’t give you the right to hold your team hostage by not giving your very very best.
Van Gundy was simply saying what the rest of us were thinking, but the passion with which he delivered those statements was interesting. I mean, it came across as a bit personal — almost as if Dwight had done something to a member of Van Gundy’s family at some point in the past.