After getting bounced from the playoffs by the Cavaliers in four games, Detroit’s star center, Andre Drummond, is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. This means that he will be getting a max contract from someone, it just boils down to who.
The Pistons have already stated that they plan on doing all they can to retain Drummond for the long-term, but others will be just as interested in bringing him on. If he were to sign a long-term deal, it would be north of $100M over five or six years.
So, what are you getting for that amount of cash?
To start, Drummond is one of the best centers in the league, and it’s arguable that only DeMarcus Cousins is better than he is. At just 22 years of age, he’s coming off a season where he averaged 16.2 points, 14.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. Those numbers place him as the league’s best rebounder, and one of the top defenders regarding all-around ability. As a first-time all-star, Drummond became the first Piston since Grant Hill in 1995 to make the all-star team at 22 y/o or younger.
The first thing you notice about Drummond is how massive he is. At 6’11, 280, he’s one of the biggest guys in the league and is freakishly athletic for his size. While he doesn’t have a lot of moves in the post, he can overpower his defenders and elevate over the top of them. Whoever signs him needs to make sure that they don’t have congestion problems like Detroit did when Greg Monroe was with them, and I’m sure having floor spacers won’t be an issue with the way the style of play is trending.
Watch how he goes up-and-under through two Trail Blazers and finishes the possession with a thunderous slam:
An even more encouraging sign to prospective buyers is that Drummond is slowly making improvements to his offensive game. His points per game and field goals attempted per game have gone up steadily since his rookie season, showing a rise in aggression and improvement in skill. Beyond that, however, shows more confidence in taking his game further from the basket. Through his four seasons, Drummond has made his living crashing the glass and cleaning up misses, which he’s done a lot.
However, according to Basketball-Reference, almost 36% of Drummond’s shot attempts this year came from between 3-10 feet, up from 29% last season; from 0-3 feet, the percentage was 59% compared to 68% last year, and 81% the year before that. What makes those numbers even better is that his FG% from those distances has improved, too: 40.9% from 3-10 feet; 61% from 0-3 feet.
Watch his sweet jump hook from just inside the foul line:
Remember how I brought up his athleticism earlier? This block on Dwyane Wade validates my claim:
There is one mammoth caveat that hinders Drummond more than anything else. It’s unfortunate, but Andre Drummond the worst free-throw shooter of all-time. This past season, Drummond attempted 586 foul shots and shot them at 35.5%. There have been 204 players throughout history who have shot more than 500 foul shots in a season, and Andre has the worst percentage.
He’s a liability in close games because of the “Hack-a-Shaq” strategy that teams employ. However, the NBA is looking into eliminating that from the game, and if they do, it’ll be much to the benefit of Drummond.
Andre Drummond is, no doubt, going to get at least $90 million from someone this summer and I’m sure there are going to be a lot of organizations asking for his services. It’s worth noting that DeAndre Jordan signed a four-year, $88 million deal last summer and Drummond’s a better rebounder, defender, and is way more efficient on offense. He’s still very young, doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his body, and has the potential to develop an outstanding post game.