Not much was expected from the Detroit Pistons going into the 2014-15 season. But that’s what makes their fast start so extraordinary. And while the year is still young, the upstart team from the Motor City looks rejuvenated and seems to be buying into coach Stan Van Gundy’s style of play.
What’s remarkable is that the Pistons have been winning despite not having a fully healthy roster, as starting guard, Brandon Jennings, is still nursing an injury. In his absence two of the team’s other young centerpieces have stepped up and carried a heavy load.
Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond, have turned the fortunes of the once-proud Pistons franchise. And while Jackson has had a stellar year with a 21.9 point, 4.3 rebound, 5.3 assist average through eight games, it’s Drummond who holds the keys to the Detroit engine.
The fourth-year center from the University of Connecticut has been one of the NBA’s biggest stories thus far. It’s a best case scenario for the Pistons front office, who let franchise power forward, Greg Monroe, walk during the offseason. As a result of his departure, Drummond no longer has to cede scoring or rebounding opportunities to Monroe.
The results speak for themselves.
Through eight games Drummond averages just under 19 rebounds per game, including two which saw him grab over 20.
Averages like these aren’t the norm in the NBA.The league hasn’t seen a per game rebounding average above 18 since Dennis Rodman accomplished the feat more than 20 years ago, making Drummond’s attempt to accomplish the task that much more daunting.
It’s certainly plausible that Drummond could finish with a 16 or 17 rebound average, but matching Rodman’s numbers might be a stretch. Since the 2000-01 season only two players have eclipsed the 15 rebounds per game mark, Ben Wallace and Kevin Love.
Regardless of how Drummond performs the rest of the year, it has already been an record breaking start to his NBA season. He became the first player since LeBron James (2012) to win the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the seasons first two weeks.
In addition, Drummond is now the first player in 40 years to record 150 points and 150 rebounds through his first eight games.
This type of production might not last all season, but when your a 22-year-old in the NBA with this much potential, the sky is truly the limit.