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What type of team is Stan Van Gundy building?

A team of pterodactyls, that's what.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Wingspan, wingspan and more wingspan.  Any more wingspan and Jay Bilas might have a heart attack.  There's no question that Van Gundy is building for the future, and the acquisition of Reggie Jackson points toward that, and, if Jackson is re-signed, which appears likely given Van Gundy's comments, there will be a young core of Jackson, Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Greg Monroe (if he re-signs) which can grow together.

But the profile of player which Van Gundy is acquiring is interesting.  Long, athletic players appear to be the order of the day.  Van Gundy has revived his inner palaeontologist and gone about building a collection of pterodactyls.  Long-winged athletes with potential to fly teams into the ground.  Let's examine the anthropology of pterodactyls.

Pterodactyls are also known as pterosaurs, which translates to winged lizard.  Having been extinct since the Cretaceous period, the period in which most dinosaurs were wiped off the earth roughly 65 million years ago.  Pterodactyls were generally small, wiry creatures in terms of body size, but some of the larger species had wingspans measuring in excess of 30 feet.  Now that we have a biology lesson out of the way, let's profile the Pistons' resident pterodactyls.


Height: 6-9

Wingspan: 7-4

Anthony is a noted shot blocker, and his exceptionally long arms are a big part of that.  While there's no official measurements of his wingspan, many reports state it as being around the 7-4 range.


Height: 6-7

Wingspan: 7-0

Caron Butler is nearing the end of his career and his athleticism has mostly deserted him, leaving his long arms as his only help on the defensive end to make up for lost quickness.


Height: 6-5

Wingspan: 6-8

Funny enough, one of the better defenders on the team has one of the smaller wingspans on the team.  KCP relies on his quickness and athleticism more than his length.  KCP is part of the young, hyper athletic core of the future which Van Gundy envisions, and his athleticism will serve him well for several seasons.  However, for the twilight of his career, it's harder to rely on athleticism than length, as length never leaves you, but that's ages away.


Height: 6-6

Wingspan: 6-8

Dinwiddie was not noted as an athlete coming out of college, and was someone regarded more for his skill and IQ than off the charts athleticism.


Height: 6-11

Wingspan: 7-6

Branded a raw, athletic project, Andre Drummond has proven the haterz wrong.  Using his length and athleticism to intimidate drivers and defensive rebounders, he still has a long way to go, which is scary.  Drummond is still a terrible positional defender, relying on his hops too much to make up for missed rotations and crafty offensive players, a la Al Jefferson.


Height: 6-3

Wingspan: 7-0 (reported, no actual data on draft-express)

Jackson has some freakishly long arms, if they are indeed as long as suggested.  While he doesn't have a reputation as a great defender, he certainly has potential with his large wingspan.  Also, Jackson has good size at 208 pounds, which can help him hold his own defensively, and will be a welcome change from the weight of wet towels provided by Jennings and Augustin.


Height: 6-1

Wingspan: ? (didn't attend combine due to being in Italy)

There are no measurements anywhere regarding Jennings' wingspan, as his alternate path to the NBA meant that he didn't get measured at the combine.  If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say somewhere between 6-5 and 6-6, based on how he gets up for his two-handed dunks.


Height: 5-11

Wingspan: 6-0

Lucas is just so small that nothing really matters here.


Height: 6-6

Wingspan: 6-10

Cartier Martin is known as a defensive specialist, which is why he's stuck in the league so long.  He isn't the greatest athlete, but he has an excellent wingspan allowing him to stay in front of many wings.


Height: 6-4

Wingspan: 6-5

Jodie Meeks always came across as a bit of a stumpy player, and his short arms confirm this.  It's actually listed officially as 6-4.5 but I rounded it up for him to be nice.  He is not a noted athlete or defender, but luckily for him, he appears to not have trouble getting shots off despite his short arms and low release.


Height: 6-10

Wingspan: 7-1

I'm actually surprised here, because there's a popular belief that he is a long, rangy athlete.  He appears to be a smooth operator, but I was under the impression that his span was closer to the 7-4 range.  I'm underwhelmed.


Height: 6-11

Wingspan: 7-2

Monroe has a wingspan longer than I expected.  Then again, the way the haterzzz go on, you'd think his span was about 6-4.


Height: 6-9

Wingspan: 7-4

Prince is one of the most notable players in franchise history for one moment.  His block on Reggie Miller in the playoffs is forever etched in Pistons folklore.  It wouldn't have been possible without the long levers he possesses for arms.  His greatest trait was and is his defense, and his wingspan helps.


Height: 6-8

Wingspan: 7-2

This one is the biggest surprise.  I didn't think Tolliver had the greatest physical tools, but a 7-2 wingspan is quite impressive.  He isn't a noted defender, but he has rarely been burned in his Detroit tenure, and his long arms must be a part of the reason.


Height: 6-0

Wingspan: 6-2

What, you haven't heard of him?  A young wing player who the Pistons have signed on a 10-day contract from Australia.  He's very good at the three and is a good off-ball defender and willing passer.  I know the Pistons read this site, so if you're interested, Stan, my number is 04********.

In conclusion, the Pistons under Stan Van Gundy have several physical specimens who can contribute defensively.  They appear to be gravitating towards a team who can push the tempo and run, and the results will be interesting for the next 27 games.

What style of player do you think Stan Van Gundy is targeting?  Have your say below.