The Detroit Pistons drafted Andre Drummond with the ninth overall pick in the 2012 draft, and it was an iffy pick at best. Fast forward four years, and Drummond is now a max contract player who has ascended to become one of the top centers in the NBA.
Last year, Andre Drummond was a huge part of the Pistons’ success. He was the NBA’s leading rebounder at 14.8 per game, beating out the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan by one board per night. He’s always been an outstanding rebounder thanks to his combination of size, 6’11 and roughly 280 pounds, and athleticism. What took him to his first All-Star game, however, was his drastically improved offensive game.
Drummond is still raw offensively, but he’s made strides since his rookie year. He’s gradually stepping further away from the basket, but the majority of his points still come from one of three ways: alley-oops, dunks, or layups. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, since he’s slowly developing a more reliable post game.
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According to Drummond, and Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, he’s primed to have a more explosive fifth season, and his goals are lofty.
Langlois noted that Drummond has lost a nice chunk of weight and has “shed 20 pounds” this summer working at the P3 training facility in Santa Barbara. Drummond then took center stage, and told Langlois of all the things he wants to accomplish next season:
I’m going to win the rebounding crown again. I’m going for it – no doubt about it. Try to get back to the All-Star game again and try to bring another guy with me, Reggie or (Caldwell-Pope) or Marcus (Morris) or Tobias. Be able to stay in games longer, knowing I can be fouled and shoot the shot. Really just pushing my teammates to be great. I’m really excited for everybody. This is a huge year for (Caldwell-Pope), a huge year for Reggie to come back and be a better player. Tobias, another year for him to come back and show the league why he belongs on this team, and Marcus, he continues to prove everybody wrong – that he is a hell of a player.
If Drummond has dropped as much weight as he says, he’ll be almost a no-brainer as an All-Star, and he’ll also likely repeat as rebounding champion. With a lighter frame, Drummond would become more mobile on defense while still being a rebounding machine and a menace when protecting the basket; even though he’s carried a lot of weight through his first four seasons, his career average for blocks per game is 1.6, so it hasn’t affected him that much.
Although Drummond made points on his individual success, him wanting to bring a teammate along to the All-Star game shows that he’s a team player; he wants to see his guys succeed as much as him.
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If anyone were to follow him to New Orleans, though, Reggie Jackson is the guy. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tobias Harris aren’t bad ball players, but Jackson is more developed and put up staggering numbers last season: 18.8 points and 6.2 assists in just 30.7 minutes a night.
The Pistons are convincing enough to warrant expectations greater than last year. At 44-38, they snuck into the playoffs before getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. The series was closer than it sounds, however, and just one game was a blowout; ten points or less decided the other three.
Fans in the Motor City should be very optimistic about their team’s future, especially after hearing these comments from the franchise center.
Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference