Don’t Forget About Andre Drummond

One of the greatest NBA drafts this decade had Andre Drummond as the 9th pick. After only playing one year in college and averaging 10 points and 7.6 rebounds while playing for Connecticut, he declared for the NBA Draft on April 12th 2012. Some of the biggest names of that year’s draft were Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes and Terrence Ross. Those were his peers.

Andre Drummond, in his fourth NBA year, has caught the league by surprise and so have the Detroit Pistons who destroyed the Indiana Pacers last night in a home win, a 22 point slaughter. Drummond had 11 rebounds, a ho-hum showing for him, and 8 points.

He currently averages 17.6 points per game and he leads the league in rebounds with 16.4. That’s 3.0 more rebounds than DeAndre Jordan who is currently in second place. That’s three more rebounds than his last two seasons.

Architect Stan Van Gundy  and the old-school reversion of a big man as the center of the universe is now the Pistons way. It’s a throwback.  In Orlando, Van Gundy established an offense around Dwight Howard along with some of the most lethal three-point shooters including Rashard Lewis, Hedo Türkoglu, Jameer Nelson, Courtney Lee, Mickael Pietrus, J.J. Redick. Under Van Gundy, the Magic led the league in 3-point attempts and 3-point percentage in every season but one. Van Gundy wasn’t just an offensive-minded coach. He believed great defensive fundamentals are the basis of a great team.

And so Stan Van Gundy in his two year Pistons experiment has built the team around Drummond who now has the space to work in the paint individually rather than constantly being pushed to the wings because of Josh Smith and Greg Monroe. Surrounded by shooters such as Steve Blake, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, Ersan Ilyasova, and Reggie Jackson, Drummond’s opportunity is two fold. Be an elite big man and, oh, by the way, be a star.  The Detroit Pistons are once again a legitimate threat to make a deep run in the playoffs for the first time in six years.

On Wednesday, in a game against the Grizzlies, Andre Drummond had 19 rebounds but the Pistons lost at home when Matt Barnes miracle shot left everyone speechless and it ruined Drummond’s double-double night (he had 18 points too). In that game, Drummond grabbed his 3,000th career rebound. Five days earlier, Drummond faced his old teammate, Greg Monroe, and had 23 rebounds in a seven point win against the Bucks. It only made Van Gundy appear genius like for clearing room so Drummond could be a star.

How much of a star?

Will Drummond be voted in by the fans for his first All-Star appearance or will he have to depend on the coaches? There are three forward/center spots fans choose. Pencil in LeBron, Paul George , and who else?

It should be Drummond.

The third game of the season, the Pistons played the Bulls and all Drummond did was 20 points and 20 rebounds. Against Indiana, in early November,  Drummond dropped 25 points along with grabbing a career-high 29 rebounds. Less than a week later, Andre nonchalantly torched the Trailblazers with 29 points and 27 rebounds. He was the third player in NBA history to drop at least 20 points and grab 20 rebounds in three games over the first six games of the season (along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Wilt Chamberlain).

After playing the Lakers in L.A., Drummond had 17 points and 17 rebounds which prompted Kobe Bryant to remark, “he’s a beast. 17 rebounds? That’s ridiculous.”

photo via llananba