Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy loves his stretch forwards, meaning it shouldn’t be a shock to find out he might have an interest in bringing Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Pelicans on board this summer.
Call it a potential reunion of sorts because Anderson played for Van Gundy in Orlando and helped open up the paint for Dwight Howard thanks to his ability to knock down shots from deep. Rumor has it the coach who loves to employ this tactic wants to get it going with talented big man Andre Drummond. Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops provided the insight:
Looking ahead, one team that is expected to make a run at Anderson this summer is the Detroit Pistons, league sources tell SheridanHoops.
It’s interesting the Detroit front office might be willing to wait until free agency when Anderson’s name has been one of the most common on the trade block ahead of the February 18 deadline. As Scotto notes, teams such as the Phoenix Suns, among others, have expressed interest.
Anderson’s too valuable to ignore for both rebuilding and contending teams. Not only does he act as an expiring contract, he’s only 27 years old and posting a respectable 16.7/6.2/0.4 slash line on an average of 31.6 minutes while shooting 37 percent from deep, keeping the paint clear for Anthony Davis to go to work underneath the basket.
All the above is why Van Gundy would covet a reunion. As Scotto mentions, the Drummond-Greg Monroe pairing imploded last year because they clogged the lane too much and defenses could just collapse on both. That’s not how Van Gundy prefers to operate and Drummond is quite like Howard in that he needs the paint to himself to really do serious damage. Not that his current averages of 17.8 points, 15.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game aren’t impressive, of course.
It’ll be quite interesting to see if the Pelicans end up dealing Anderson. They sit 13th in the weak Western Conference at 12-26. Davis isn’t taking control of games like he should even with Anderson stretching the floor. He’s posting numbers, but it’s not enough for a team that needed an enforcer down low. It’s only right to expect the Pelicans to rebuild, Anderson trade or not. Coach Alvin Gentry made it pretty clear earlier this week that the organization wasn’t making calls to deal the veteran forward, but much can change between now and the deadline.
By the sounds of it, Van Gundy won’t be one of those people chasing Anderson at the deadline. That runs the risk of Anderson getting dealt and inking a new deal with somebody else, but this is the NBA—odds are he’s headed to the open market to start a bidding war. His agent’s surely already licking the chops at how often his client’s name continues to pop up at the halfway point of the season.
Another point to consider is Detroit’s sitting seventh in the deep Eastern Conference. The front office might not want to rattle the current chemistry of a potential playoff lineup right now, no matter how attractive a hypothetical Anderson add looks. There are 10 teams in the conference with at least 20 wins, meaning the Pistons could fall out in a hurry, sure, but they could also vault up perhaps as high as the third seed, too.
Regardless of the where and how surrounding Anderson over the next month, it seems pretty clear Van Gundy and the Pistons will come knocking this summer.