After this season the Detroit Pistons now know who they will be building their franchise around, and that man is Andre Drummond. The second-year pro out of Connecticut had a breakout season showing fans and critics alike that he will be the man in the middle for Detroit for a long time to come.
At only 20 years old, Drummond has already cemented his spot as one of the ascending stars in the NBA. He was a consistent, dominant force for the Pistons all season long. Drummond quickly became the garbage man down low for the Pistons, and ruled over the lane. Anything near the basket got dunked. If he got his hands on the ball most times it was getting dunked. Drummond was an all-around beast, and the scary part is at just 20, he still has time to grow. He may get even bigger, and provide even more headaches for opponents.
Drummond showed he was among the elite players at the Rising Stars Challenge during the All-Star weekend. All Drummond did there was go for 30 points and 25 boards, which led his team to victory, and earned him MVP honors. Not too shabby for a game including big names such as Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and of course former number one overall pick Anthony Davis. Drummond outplayed them all.
It is one thing to describe Drummond’s physical play in the paint, but the numbers also back it up. Drummond pulled down 13.2 rebounds per night, good for second in the league behind Deandre Jordan. It’s also kind of crazy to think he got that many rebounds playing with essentially two power forwards on the floor at the same time. Josh Smith and Greg Monroe are no slouches on the boards, and as a trio Detroit did a good job beating teams up on the glass. With the rebounding came more points for Drummond. He saw his average go from 7.9 all the way up to 13.5 as well as a bump in field goal percentage to .623%. The eyeball test checks out, and the numbers prove it, Drummond had a breakout second season for the Pistons.
Drummond’s Achilles heel is clearly his free throw shooting. His percentage increased, but was still at an embarrassing 42%. He will need to improve from the line to truly take his game to the next level. If he can become just a solid free throw shooter it will punish teams for just hacking him, and not even letting him get the ball to the hoop. It will also help to be on the floor, and close out games. Free throws are a crucial part of the game, and with work Drummond should only improve from the line.
Stan Van Gundy was a really exciting hire, but even more so for the long term stock of Andre Drummond. He fits perfectly into SVG’s system, and will step right into the Dwight Howard role. The two players show a lot of similarities in their early careers, and seeing what Van Gundy did with Howard should only excite Pistons fans. If SVG spaces the floor and gives Drummond plenty of room to operate in the middle, he could easily become the next Howard in the league.
Drummond is quickly becoming a star in the league, and this past season was proof of that. Hopefully with some hard off-season work, and the tutelage of new head man Stan Van Gundy, Drummond will continue to grow into his role, and dunk, a lot.
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