The former Orlando Magic coach drew some parallels to his experience working with big man Dwight Howard, but Van Gundy cautioned, "I don’t think there’s one model we have to get to. I think people are assuming that, but in Miami my teams did not shoot nearly as many threes. That wasn’t our personality. There’s a lot of ways to win and it gives us a lot of flexibility in building the roster."
In other words, there's no guarantee the organization will rearrange its roster in the old Magic image. There are plenty of possibilities when dealing with talent of this level.
Van Gundy raved about Drummond, describing him as someone "to build your roster around" and saying that "this is a young man with a tremendous attitude who I truly believe wants to be great, wants to be coached, really wants to win and is willing to make sacrifices."
The 20-year-old had a breakout sophomore campaign this season, averaging 13.5 points and ranking second league-wide with 13.2 rebounds per game. Drummond has also established himself as a premier defensive presence, averaging 1.6 blocks in each of his first two seasons.
Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal argued that Van Gundy could do a world of good for Drummond, but notes that with or without the new coach:
Drummond already seemed like a candidate to break out in a big way during the 2014-15 campaign. After all, he's going to turn 21 this summer and was already on the verge of making an All-Star team, showcasing plenty of improvement on both sides of the court throughout his sophomore season.
Drummond's development may depend in part on how Van Gundy shapes (or reshapes) the roster. At the moment, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith have a tendency to clog the paint rather than space the floor. Even if Van Gundy isn't advocating a return to the Orlando days, another three-point shooter or two couldn't hurt.
The more shooters that surround Drummond, the more difficult it is for defenders to hang around that painted area. They're forced instead to commit to the perimeter and keeps hands in the faces of marksmen.
The other variable is how well Drummond diversifies his offense—namely whether he develops a consistent mid-range shot. Should he expand his range and repertoire, Van Gundy is indeed correct about the sky being the limit. We could very well be looking at the league's next dominant big man.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!