He may be short, bald and about as easy on the eyes as Paul Giamatti in his Fred Claus fat suit, but nobody can deny that Jeff Van Gundy has a mind for basketball. A successful coach and adept commentator, Van Gundy has always been a logical-thinking, measured character, never one to blurt out bold predictions.
But in an interview with the Miami Herald, Jeff predicted that the Heat, with their pickup of LeBron James and Chris Bosh, would not only be the league’s best team, but also break the Chicago Bulls’ 1995-96 single-season record of 72 wins and 10 losses en route to a championship.
Van Gundy went on to back up that statement on Monday while speaking on The Waddle & Silvy Show on ESPN 1000, although he did decide to give some credit to the Boston Celtics with their Shaq signing and the current Bulls with their pickup of Boozer and core cast of characters including Rose and Noah.
However, Jeff is certainly gambling with his reputation here. He’s always been the poker-face type, smooth and calculated. But now he’s leaping into videopoker online, taking a pure shot that a team yet to play will somehow be the greatest team of all time.
Even the most depraved top internet casino gambler would scoff at a prediction so bold – and not because the Miami Heat don’t have a talented team, but because the 1995 Bulls had Jordan and Pippen. Hello!?
At the end of the day, it’s clear that Van Gundy sees something in these players. He’s confident that the Heat talent is better than the Magic’s, Bulls’ or Celtics’ talent. But it’s also a little too fan-like to be coming from a usually measured man. His shrewd mindset has been sullied by visions of James’ dunks and D-Wade highlights, and now he’s thinking like a download blackjack game instead of a by-the-numbers b-ball analyst.
No other team assembled since the Chicago Bulls—and there’s been some great ones—has broken the record. Honestly, there’s not one good reason to think that the Miami Heat would even threaten it.
Unless you’re a pure front-runner, the Heat only have 3 of 5 slots filled. And since basketball is a team sport, Miami is still left wanting. Sorry, Van Gundy. But somebody’s in need of a reality check.