Jeff and Stan Van Gundy both dealt with plenty of drama while coaching in the NBA. On Wednesday night, they get to call a matchup between the two teams that have the most drama in the league.
The game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers will also be the first time the Van Gundy brothers have been on the same broadcast. Jeff Van Gundy has been with ESPN since the 2007 NBA Finals while this is Stan’s first year with the network after a recent stint as coach and president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons.
“The network mentioned in early January that they were going to schedule it,” Jeff Van Gundy said. “I think it will be fun.”
He said play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch “will keep us in line and use his trademark saying `now back to the game’ if things get out of hand.”
Both brothers agree Pasch should have an easier time with them than Bill Walton, whom Pasch teams with on Pac-12 basketball games. Jeff Van Gundy said neither brother will eat a burning candle off a cupcake like Walton did during a Washington-Arizona State game earlier this month.
Stan Van Gundy has had a variety of assignments with ESPN. While he has mainly done studio work and college basketball games, this will be his first NBA game assignment. It is also a game that is not devoid of story lines.
“I don’t know if you could have two teams right now having more drama and finding their way,” Stan Van Gundy said. “New Orleans is trying to play a guy who doesn’t want to be there (Anthony Davis), and Los Angeles was also influenced by Davis because of a bunch of young guys who became well known because they were on the trading block.”
The Lakers and LeBron James will be receiving plenty of time on ESPN the next couple weeks as they try to make a run at a postseason berth. Three of their next six games are on the network and the March 9 game against Boston is on ABC.