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Is Andre Drummond the NBA’s Next Best Center?

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  • Dean Lake Lvl 7

    Blog post by Matt Silverston

    The Pistons' Andre Drummond is on quite the upward trajectory his sophomore season. One of the best rebounders in the league, he is a motor with ball-hawk instincts and creates havoc for opposing teams on both sides of the floor.

    Will Drummond be considered elite by next season, along with Demarcus Cousins, and surpass Dwight Howard as the best center in the NBA?

  • Jason Cooper Lvl 5

    I've been on the Drummond band wagon since last season when I was a frustrated fantasy owner just waiting on the day when the Pistons would give him significant minutes. He's finally getting his minutes as well as his chance to show what I believe is the future best center in the NBA. That role for him happening as soon as next season might be a little far fetched because his offensive game needs some developing, but I do believe that day will come within the next 2-3 seasons. I'm actually shocked that he's not getting more blocks this season. Those will come as well.

  • M.E. Silverston Lvl 4

    If Drummond played for any other team in any other market, he might actually be getting the credit and attention he deserves. As far as being the next best center within a season, I disagree with you @Jason Cooper just based on how much his numbers have jumped between this season and last. Plus, I surmise that his numbers will only get better as this season progresses. I'd take a 15 and 12 Andre Drummond next season instead of a 21 and 10 Dwight Howard who is on his last legs (and back).

  • Tim Chae Lvl 2

    Drummond is an absolute beast. This guy's got the absolute beast package of physicality and motor. He's having a hell of a sophomore year and doing exactly what is asked of him: Rebound, Hustle, and score down low. His rebound percentages are off the charts btw: 14.9% OREB% and 28.1% DREB%. To put that into perspective, if his career averages mirrored his current sophomore year output, he'd be 2nd ALL TIME in REB% only behind Dennis Rodman (and ahead of Dwight Howard by a full point).

    Circling back to the question at hand, is Drummond NBA's next best center alongside Cousins and surpass Dwight? Right now, the answer is no. Because he still doesn't have a go to post move nor has he demonstrated he can dominate down low. So while he has a ridiculously high FG% @ 65.9%, he's only averaging 8.8 FGA per game right now (with 119/123 shots taken this year has come right at the rim). Meaning there isn't really more opportunities available for him with his current skill set to take his numbers and play to something that would be considered elite. Kid takes good shots. That's why his FG% is so high. 10 FGA is probably his offensive "ceiling" right now with his skill set (without sacrificing his offensive efficiency). But for a center that's on the brink of eliteness, you have to have the ability to 1) dominate down low; 2) finish through contact (or have a high FT%); 3) command double teams or be able to dish it out to open teammates.

    So with that said, if Drummond can develop an arsenal of post moves (something DeMarcus Cousins has added this year to his game), and maybe? even develop a respectable midrange jumper at which point he can get 12+ FGA per game, he can become an elite NBA center. Right now, he's an elite rebounder which he'll always be during the course of his career with an elite level offensive efficiency.

    If we see Drummond start to show hints of improved skill set in those areas later this year or over the course of the following off-season, then yes, one could definitely make a case to Drummond becoming an elite level Center.

    That is scary to think because Drummond could be a Shaq and Dennis Rodman all in one.

  • M.E. Silverston Lvl 4

    Drummond's success is going to directly correlate to his work ethic in practice. How much time is he going to spend on post moves? Will he maintain his conditioning? Will he continue to learn and keep trying to expand his game? These are things that he can and will learn from hungry players like Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Greg Monroe who are still working on becoming better players on both sides of the ball themselves.

    Shaq might be a stretch @Tim Chae, but Dennis Rodman-status is easily achievable for Andre.

  • Neil Chan Lvl 3

    I think @Tim Chae nailed it: Drummond is an elite rebounder, probably the best in the NBA the way he's playing right now. What is scary is the amount of upside that he has given how young he is an his incredible athleticism. Check out this play: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHQxAeJeIME. That is just ridiculous for someone who is 7 ft tall, that you can design a play like and rely on his athleticism to take you home. He probably won't be the best Center in the NBA next season, but yes, given the way Dwight is playing right now he will definitely surpass Dwight.

  • M.E. Silverston Lvl 4

    @Neil Chan you just hit the nail right on the head. The beauty of Drummond's current "game" is that it's all based on his naturally basketball ability. I'm just amazed at how well he runs the floor. He might be the best "run-the-floor" big man in the NBA.

  • Jason Cooper Lvl 5

    @ M.E. Silverston I don't believe that Howard is anywhere near his last leg at 27 years old. It's amazing how many people have written him off after that Laker season, a season where he came off of back surgery and played hurt all year and still averaged 17 ppg, 12 boards and 2.5 blocks per game. He recently had an 18 point 24 rebound 5 block game, with another 6 blocks in the next game. Those are elite numbers in my opinion. I'm far from a Howard fan and I'm a huge Drummond fan, but Drummond is not putting up those numbers at this point and I'm not sure he will next season as well. As big a beast as he is today, he's still developing, which is scary, but he can't drop 30 points on you on any given night at this point, and that's where he falls short of Howard now and what I feel will be for the near future.

  • Jason Cooper Lvl 5

    Also the presence of Greg Monroe will make it hard for Drummond to put up the type of numbers to surpass the players he would need to surpass to earn the best center in the game recognition.

  • M.E. Silverston Lvl 4

    @Jason Cooper If Drummond was incorporated into Detroit's offense as first option, Drummond would easily put up 20 points. If you take a look at their per 36 minutes stats, they're almost the same. 18 ppg and 14 boards for Howard compared to almost 13 points and 13 boards for Drummond. So without getting half the touches that Howard gets, Drummond is practically as efficient this season as Howard is. However, I agree that Drummond is a long ways away from a 30-point game.

  • M.E. Silverston Lvl 4

    @Jason Cooper you could argue that Monroe's presence gives Drummond the opportunity to work against less efficient defenders since most defenses are going to focus on Monroe and Smith. So Monroe might actually make it easier for Andre to put up big numbers. Drummond will have the freedom to take advantage of mismatches while expanding the Pistons' offensive arsenal all at the same time. Coach Mo Cheeks just needs to develop a game plan that incorporates Drummond into the mix better.

  • Jason Cooper Lvl 5

    @ M.E. Silverston I definitely agree with that. The points I'm making are less of a knock on Drummond's talent and more a knock on his situation. With Monroe down low and the number of shoot first mentality guys on the roster, he's not gonna get those scoring chances this season and maybe not next season as well. They have no reason to make him a go to guy on offense and they seem to be more than content with him just grabbing boards and getting put backs and dunks all game. I think all of that will stunt his offensive growth clock which will prevent him from reaching that next level for longer than it should. I love him as a player and would love to see him shine. Hopefully the Pistons give him a chance to.

  • M.E. Silverston Lvl 4

    @Jason Cooper I'd love to see Drummond get some more work with the 2nd unit so he gets a few more touches and a few more offensive opportunities. However, the Pistons have a good thing going if they can keep Smith, Monroe and Drummond healthy, happy and productive. In order for the Pistons to take the next step they'll need to expand on this concept and get away from that "shoot first mentality" you brought up.

  • Jason Cooper Lvl 5

    @ M.E. Silverston I totally agree with all of that, especially the getting him some more work with the 2nd unit part. It makes total sense.

  • Aditya Trivedi Lvl 6

    The man is a monster and I think he's more athletic than Dwight. He's an elite rebounder and defender but people are right in that he needs a go to post move. TARGET THAT EARLY DETROIT because we saw how Dwight never got a post move and now it's too late

    If Andre can extend to the mid range, there's no question he'll be the best center in the league.

  • M.E. Silverston Lvl 4

    @Aditya Trivedi First thing is first. He needs to address his free-throw issues. Then if he can develop a mid-range bank shot similar to Blake Griffin's mid-range developments between this season and last season he'll be deadly. Remember, a lot of people hated on Griffin and said that he was overrated because he didn't have a polished post game or consistent jumper. Those same haters are a lot quieter now.

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