Next weekend we'll watch a Stan Van Gundy team we've never seen before in a Magic playoff series.
It's a team that has lost its identity.
The old-school coach in Van Gundy will attempt to demonstrate how the game really is a team sport.
The immense challenge to win without Dwight Howard will stoke the maniacal competitor in him.
How can it not, given the bitter backstory between them?
Howard obviously believes the Magic can win without Van Gundy — or we'd never have witnessed such public feuding.
Oh, the subplots continue, dripping with drama. Of course, Stan would much rather have the all-star center at his disposal. He's not crazy. Whether their differences are petty or irreconcilable, nothing is as uncomfortable for the club's two lightning rods as losing.
They do have one thing in common: No other people in the franchise receive as much credit — or blame.
Neither man is under pressure now, the expectations erased after Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. scrubbed up Friday.
No, Dwight Howard is not going to walk through that door and onto the court after back surgery.
So after a tumultuous season in which everything largely has been about Dwight, much to Van Gundy's chagrin, Stan has a chance (maybe his last in Orlando) to display his coaching chops in leading this starless underdog.
The odds are against him without Howard, who doesn't have to prove the point that he's the organization's most valuable piece.
But if Van Gundy can push what's left of Dwight's team to at least a first-round series win — Hedo Turkoglu probably will be missing, too — he can walk out that door (if pushed) with a semblance of satisfaction.
Does he have the team behind him to pull it off?
Players are talking like they are on board. It wouldn't surprise me if all of them, in some part, relish the chance to show they have been more than Dwight's extras. The situation surely appeals to their egos.
But I don't think Van Gundy can win the way he wants. For all the 3-pointers launched by his team, he's a preacher of the gospel of defense.
Without his three-time Defensive Player of the Year, though, the Magic will be exposed. Not surprisingly, they have deteriorated during Howard's recent absence. Not that Van Gundy shouldn't try to conjure and cajole every ounce of defense out of them in the playoffs, but the Magic will have to win games on the offensive end.
Unable to play inside-out for the first time in six consecutive postseason series without Dwight, Stan must find ways to get them shots.