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Stan Van Gundy high on Kevin Durant

BY MIKE BALDWIN Modified: December 5, 2008 at 5:34 am •  Published: December 5, 2008
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What will Kevin Durant be like when he grows into his body?

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy predicts Durant, who faces Van Gundy and the Magic tonight at Amway Arena, will be a nightmare.

"The key to being great in this league is you have a defined game of what you do well and continue to do it better and better,” Van Gundy said. "Will he become a better post-up player? Yeah. But if he’s spending all his time trying to become a low-post guy, honestly, I think he’s spending his time the wrong way.”

Van Gundy agrees Durant must improve weaknesses to reach All-Star status. But Van Gundy’s witnessed a similar transformation with his center, Dwight Howard, a beast inside who critics said needed to expand his shooting range.

Now in his fifth year in the NBA, Howard’s steady improvement earned him a spot on Team USA. He is an MVP candidate. But Howard’s forte is, and always will be, a dominant inside presence. Get Howard 15-feet away from the goal too often, and Van Gundy says you’re not playing to his strengths.

Same goes for Durant, who needs to improve his inside game, defense and rebounding. But Van Gundy is such a huge Durant fan that he’s puzzled why critics are quick to pick apart the 20-year-old small forward.

"He’s unique,” Van Gundy said. "I don’t think we’ve ever had anybody in the league that size playing the perimeter. He’s as big as most people’s 4’s (power forwards) and 5’s (centers) but plays on the perimeter. And he is so talented with the ball.