Stan Van Gundy is going from trying to squeeze blood from a turnip trying to turn Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson into a lethal pick and roll combo to trying to guide Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday from upstart franchise to deadly playoff competitor.
According to several media reports, Van Gundy has reached an agreement to become the next head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.
There are various reasons that Stan Van Gundy didn’t work in Detroit, and just as many reasons to believe that he’s a perfect fit in New Orleans.
He once again gets to coach a big man who can alter the course of the game in Williamson, and if he develops as some predict might have the best career of any big he’s ever coached. Whereas Dwight Howard was one of the game’s premier defenders, Andre Drummond was the universe’s best rebounded, Williamson has a rare combination of skills that could allow him to become the team’s hub on both offense and defense. A great help defender, one-on-one lockdown big man and a three-level scorer.
And while hitching his fortunes by trading for and then handing out a long-term deal to the perpetually hobbled Reggie Jackson pretty much sealed his fate in Detroit, he enters new Orleans with one of the game’s best two-way guards in Holiday and an intriguing facilitator and really good defender in Ball.
The best part for Van Gundy is he will not be able to screw it up through short-sighted and ill-advised front office moves. SVG will hold the clipboard and coach the team in New Orleans while David Griffin, one of the best GMs in the game, handles all the complicated stuff from the draft to free agency to contract negotiations.
It’s quite a coup for Van Gundy after a few lackluster years and tarnished reputation as he left Detroit.
New Orleans reportedly valued his ability as a teacher as it looks to both be competitive right away but also build up the various young pieces on its roster — from Zion and Lonzo to Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
It’ll be good to have Van Gundy back on the sidelines even though he’ll be greatly missed in the booth doing color commentary during games.
Now the Pistons need to immediately work out a new deal for Langston Galloway, New Orleans native and one-time apple of Van Gundy’s eye, so that he can be flipped at the deadline for a premium.