The Detroit Pistons took a risk in 2012 when they drafted the talented, yet very raw big man, Andre Drummond out of UConn. Drummond was selected to sit and learn, but no one expected, when given a shot he would possibly be mentioned with the elite, or better yet, as the elite.
In 2013, the transformation began as he put up per’s of 14 points and 13 rebounds in 32 minutes of action. But, the bulk of his points came off offensive rebounds as his FGA per game sat at 10. In 2014, he did more of the same but he started to inch his way more into the offensive flow. His FGA increased by two as he still managed 14 points per, but he was making his presence felt not just for the team but for opponents as well.
Drummond does not belong in this NBA era. His style of play reminds me of more Shaquille O’Neal and less DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins may be the best Center in the league at the moment but, Drummond is hot on his trail. When watching Drummond play, I often think back to Shaq with the way Drummond can dominate in the post.[embedit snippet=”2″]
Drummond has the physical tools, as he stands 6-11, 279 lbs, but it’s more to him than those attributes. Off the court, he’s fun-loving and easy-going, but once the ball is tossed in the air, all he cares about is doing whatever it takes to win and protecting his teammates. While many will look to Cousins and point out the difference in their scoring, they must also take note of their responsibilities.
Cousins was drafted to be who we see now. He was drafted to lead the Kings in most categories. He takes 21 shots per game and averages 27 points and 12 rebounds. Cousins is more Patrick Ewing. Drummond commands a different level of respect. He only takes 13 shots per game but has a FG% of 52, compared to Cousins, 45%.
Today’s NBA is so watered down with wanna be stretch players that post play has become almost obsolete. A player like Drummond, much like Shaq before him will get called for ticky-tack fouls because of their physical nature. Drummond loves the post, he barely ventures out the paint, this is foreign to most post players in today’s era. Could you imagine Shaq, Moses Malone, or Rich Mahorn shooting three-ponters? Those are the players that we loved to hate, but secretly wanted on our team.
When describing Drummond I get nervous due to what his future holds. Imagine what happens if Drummond actually lets himself be great? Sounds strange but here me out. Last season he averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds, but only did it on 13 FGA. What could he do if the offense was ran through him in the post? Let’s say he decided this season he wanted to prove to the NBA that he actually wanted to be better than Cousins. What if those 13 FGA suddenly turned into the same 21 that Cousins was taking?
The NBA was so afraid of Shaq they were forced to change the rules, and the same could happen if Drummond decided he wanted to prove his place in the rankings. But he won’t do that, he’s too much of a team guy, willing to take a step back, put his numbers at risk so he can achieve team success. He has time, Drummond, let’s not forget is only 22 years old and still learning what he can do on the court.
That’s the scary part.