Detroit Pistons

Stan Van Gundy Says 'The Sky Is the Limit' for Andre Drummond

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 14:  Andre Drummond of team Hill shoots a foul shot during the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at the Smoothie King Center on February 14, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2014

Detroit Pistons fans have long been enamored with the upside of center Andre Drummond. You can now count new head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy among those fans.

Van Gundy told NBA.com's Keith Langlois that "[Drummond's] gotten better, but what you see more is all the things he can still do to get better. Really, the sky is the limit on Andre Drummond."

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."

AUBURN HILLS, MI - MAY 15: Detroit Pistons head coach and President of Basketball Operations Stan Van Gundy talks during his introductory press conference at the Palace of Auburn Hills on May 15, 2014 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressl
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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.

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