Stan Van Gundy Rumors

Bradley, given the minutes he assumes in taking Caldwell-Pope’s place in the backcourt and the stature he brings as an All-Defense front-runner and scorer, is best positioned to shape the mindset of the 2017-18 Pistons. “I thought he came in here and made a great first impression,” Van Gundy said. “And forget the impression he made on our fans or anybody else. I think all of our players follow news like that and I think he made a very good impression on all of them and certainly on our staff.”
It speaks loudly to Kennard’s alpha scoring tendencies that in two end-game situations where the Pistons needed three points to tie with less than five seconds to play, in both cases Kennard delivered. The first time, he drew a foul and made all three free throws – a situation that tests the mettle of even the best foul shooters – and the second he drained the tying triple as the opposing bench loudly alerted its defenders to prevent him from getting off a shot. “We’ve seen that a lot. He’s got great mental toughness,” Van Gundy said. “The thing I have great confidence in is that as he runs into challenges in the league – and everybody does and he’ll be no exception – I just think he’s a smart guy who’s adaptable. I think he’ll figure out a way to combat it. I’ve got great confidence in his ability to do that.”
So Van Gundy was heartened to see Kennard’s ability to rise to the moment translate from Duke to a higher level against longer, quicker athletes. And he was encouraged to see Kennard’s offensive flair went beyond scoring. But maybe the biggest takeaway for him was the way Kennard held his own at the defensive end. “The thing I didn’t know that he showed me is he has the ability to move his feet defensively. Now, he’s still got a long way to go in terms of handling some of the other things, rotations and things like that. But he certainly showed that he can get down in a stance and move his feet. I did not have a good feel for that going into the draft, so that was a positive.”
Just as Van Gundy had the word of Pistons owner Tom Gores that it was OK to wade into luxury tax territory to retain Caldwell-Pope, he expects the same marching orders next summer to keep Bradley. “In the right situation for the right people, Tom’s more than willing to pay the tax,” Van Gundy said. “I think about half the league’s going to be paying the tax this year. Tom’s not opposed to that.”
Storyline: Avery Bradley Free Agency
It’s also not a fait accompli that the Pistons will need to cross that threshold to retain Bradley. Van Gundy, general manager Jeff Bower and associate GM Pat Garrity, the organization’s point man on cap issues, have game planned for multiple scenarios with regard to the cap and roster for next summer. “We’ve got other strategies,” Van Gundy said. “The finances will not inhibit our ability to re-sign Avery at whatever it takes. If we’re in a situation where we want Avery back and Avery wants to be here, we’ll be able to bring him back.”
For Andre Drummond to make his 2016 All-Star game berth routine, he needs to do more of less. That’s Stan Van Gundy’s wish for Drummond this season after a year where Drummond failed to make the All-Star team and the Pistons came up short of repeating their 2016 run to the playoffs. “That’s going to be a big part of it with him this year,” Van Gundy said. “To really get him to focus on the things that he does at not even a high level – at an elite level, and doing those well. So many times guys think the way to becoming great is to be able to do more and more things. In a lot of cases, it’s more doing the things that you already do at a higher level.”