Stan Van Gundy: ‘We hit a home run’ with new Grand Rapids Drive coach Rob Werdann

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - DECEMBER 30: Jordan Crawford
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - DECEMBER 30: Jordan Crawford /

New Grand Rapids Drive head coach Rob Werdann is entering this year’s NBA G League season with one main focus: development. The Drive is the Detroit Pistons affiliate.

Werdann, who was named head coach of the Pistons’ G League affiliate in June, is returning to the sidelines after being a scout for the Detroit Pistons for the past three seasons.

The former NBA player had previously been an assistant coach for the New Orleans Pelicans, Golden State Warriors, then-called Charlotte Bobcats and the now-relocated Idaho Stampede.

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Detroit Pistons head coach and team president Stan Van Gundy told’s Keith Langlois Friday that he felt the organization made the right choice:

"“I think we hit a home run there,” Van Gundy said. “I think he’s going to be great in terms of developing guys.”"

Werdann, 47, was offered the position after previous bench boss Rex Walters was promoted by Van Gundy. Walters will be an assistant coach on this year’s squad to help develop Detroit’s young players.

Van Gundy said he promoted Werdann for three reasons: his imput about projecting the growth and development of young players, his knowledge and passion of the game and the right temperament needed to handle the job:

"“Rob’s got a great demeanor and a real high level of maturity to guide guys through all the ups and downs that go with players trying to make it. Plus in that league, you have to deal with everything, travel and everything else,” said Van Gundy. “Every year it’s a little more integrated into what we’ve done and it will be more so this year. Having a guy like Rob who we’re familiar with and can trust was important to us.”"

Werdann said he is happy to return to coaching. He explained to Langlois that his passion has always been with that aspect of the sport. The 1988 McDonald’s All-American and St. John’s University product felt working as a pro scout helped him have different outlooks.


The new head coach will possibly get the chance to work with and develop young Pistons like Henry Ellenson, Eric Moreland and rookie Luke Kennard in Grand Rapids, according to Van Gundy. The Drive will also likely see Derek Willis and Landry Nnoko the Pistons’ affiliate players in the G League.

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He will also be able to utilize two-way contract players Luis Montero and Dwight Buycks into his system throughout the development league’s season.

Either way, Werdann said that despite the league’s rebranding due to a new sponsorship deal with Gatorade during the offseason, the goal of the Drive remains the same – developing everyone in the Pistons organization:

"“It’s about developing talent,” Werdann said. “Developing players, developing front-office staff, developing coaches. That’s what it’s there for. Gatorade took over the naming rights and now the development aspect isn’t part of the name, but it sure is as far as we’re concerned here. Those are our marching orders. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”"

Next: The Pistons' projected starting lineup's offensive roles

The Drive tip off their season Nov. 3 against the Atlanta Hawks-affiliated Erie BayHawks.