Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 12/23/11

If the Magic want to be successful during the fast-approaching NBA season, it will take perhaps the best coaching performance of Stan Van Gundy’s career.  Dwight Howard wants out.  It’s looking more and more like the Magic won’t be able to keep Howard after this season and his request to be traded still stands. If he is not traded before the season begins, Van Gundy is going to have to find a way to coexist with a frustrated superstar — one who the coach didn’t exactly get along with in the first place.

Searching for assistance on how to improve his coaching techniques, Van Gundy met with Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck over the summer.

“I’ve got to set the standards, and I’ve got to make sure that they’re adhered to in terms of guys playing hard and playing together and doing what we’re supposed to do,” Van Gundy said according to the Orlando Sentinel. “If our players can take most of the leadership in that regard and police each other in terms of effort and things like that, that’s all the better. I would love that. I think that’s an ideal situation. And then when I see things I don’t like, I’ve got to step in.”

In other words, Van Gundy is going to try to back off a bit.  Players have been frustrated in the past by his tendency to micromanage, but Howard and Jameer Nelson were pleased with the new approach from their coach during a preseason victory over the Heat on Wednesday.

“He just let me and Jameer really lead the team,” Howard said. “He called the plays. Me and Jameer did what we’re supposed to do on the court.”

The Magic have enough talent to make a run this season, which will make Van Gundy’s coaching methods even more critical.  If Orlando wants to win, Van Gundy and Howard will have to get along for one more season.  Perhaps the pointers Van Gundy received from a psychologist will be enough to keep the glue together for a few more months.

H/T to I Am A GM for the Story

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