Got on a conference call today with ESPN NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy (who of course is the brother of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy) and Mark Jackson (who of course was a candidate to succeed Woody).
Asked both analysts if it is realistic for L.D. to mold this group into a championship-caliber defensive team. Here are their answers. . .
“Somebody has got to tell me what Mike Woodson did so wrong, No. 1. He took over a team that won  games, and he kept winning more and more and more. Sometimes you just get beat by better teams. Orlando swept them–and you can say the blowouts [were a problem]–but Orlando is a better team. That’s just how it is. If they fired coaches that got beat by better teams, a lot of guys would be fired.
“I watched the exhibition game last night with Orlando, and it looks like they are trying to install some Princeton-type of movement offense. Defense is really coach-based. It is influenced by personnel, but it’s more [about] what you believe in. Offense is a matter of going to your best strengths. To me, it remains to be seen if they can play well on the move. A lot of people said they isolated too much and it put pressure on Joe Johnson. It will be interesting to see when Teague gets back what he can give them offensively and if Jamal Crawford can repeat what he did.
“There will be limits to their team defense. They are a small, small, team. They are small at the point, small at center and small at power forward. I think they have overachieved dramatically.”
“They should be a playoffs basketball team, anything short of that disappointing when you look at what they’ve done the past few years. . . . As for getting better on defense, you certainly can do that if you have the mindset and across the board there is accountability and you are preaching and teaching it all the time. It certainly can be better. The schemes take away what the other team does effectively and you have the principles you go by as a team and you execute those principles. It will be interesting to see if they have the mindset and are willing to do that.”