Stan Van Gundy is a smart guy. His team, the Orlando Magic, has the second-best record in the NBA. He took them to the NBA Finals last year and he's widely respected as one of the best coaches in the league. And he rocks a mock turtleneck under a suit better than anyone since my dad in the early 2000s. Simply put, he gets it.
So when SVG talks about the Most Valuable Player award, it's worth listening.
"You know how the vote's going to go. LeBron (James) will win the MVP every year until he retires," Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy was likely playing to the Cleveland media. But there's part of him that feels that the MVP — decided by the media — will be James' award to lose for a long time.
"LeBron has to go into the year and basically lose the MVP. You guys have decided he's the MVP," Van Gundy said.
"I don't even know if Michael Jordan was as hyped as he is, and then [James] goes out and exceeds it."
Of course, he went on to say, "[Defense] doesn't translate into MVP voting. People look at it as it's not as important ... I don't understand that," so we kind of have to take Stan's typically sarcastic comments with a grain of salt. I mean, he clearly wouldn't be a big fan of LeBron winning the next 10 MVPs since he has a young superstar of his own. But still, he might be right.
Consider this — LeBron won his first MVP last year with one of the most statistically accomplished seasons of all time and somehow he's better this year. He's all of 25 years old, and most basketball players peak between 27 and 30. Plus he's a physical marvel, which could mean his peak will last longer and his decline will be less dramatic. Basically, LeBron will be great for the next 10 years. That's scary.
However, even Michael Jordan didn't win every MVP during his prime. Somewhere down the line, voters will tire of voting for LeBron every year. Eventually, people will decide that guys like Kevin Durant(notes) and Dwyane Wade(notes) deserve at least one MVP, even if they're not really the best choice.
It happens that way a lot. Because of that, maybe Stan Van Gundy can rest easy. Well, as easy as he possibly can — even at his freshest, Stan looks like he sleeps about two hours a night.