Say what you will about jeff van gundy’s sometimes outdated view of basketball when he’s commentating on television, the man can flat-out coach the game. Van Gundy was in the news on Wednesday after he coached the USA men’s national select team – the “JV squad” to Gregg Popovich’s “varsity team” – to two victories over the primary team in two separate scrimmages ahead of the first meaningful exhibition game against Spain on Friday at 10 p.m. EST.
The second scrimmage featured a 19-point blowout, but the first was noted by The Athletic’s Sam Amick:
As if the Team USA drubbing vs. the Select Team wasn’t bad enough, sources tell @TheAthletic that it was their second loss to the Select Team on the day (the first one was by three, with the game going just 10 minutes). Not a great way to go into Friday’s exhibition v. Spain.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) August 14, 2019
As you can see, while the scrimmage was short, Van Gundy bested the primary team twice on Wednesday with a squad of overseas players, unsigned players and players signed to Two-Way contracts such as Justin Anderson, John Jenkins, Yante Maten, Chris Chiozza, Chasson Randle, Travis Wear and undrafted rookie DaQuan Jeffries – who was one of the few players with an actual NBA contract on the roster, with the Magic.
Jonathon Givony of ESPN had the full list of players who waxed the national team:
This team just defeated the USA Basketball squad headed to China 36-17 in a scrimmage. Are we sure we're sending the right team? https://t.co/PhB2KakEpb
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) August 14, 2019
As you can see, Van Gundy has a knack for taking unheralded players and coaching them into terrific situations, as JVG is the coach responsible for the national team qualifying for various major tournaments.
Qualifying teams rarely employ NBA players, so Van Gundy has to coax the best performances he can from players that are not widely believed to be among the best 500 or so in the world. That JVG is able to produce such results on a consistently basis is frankly staggering.