Can Andre Drummond-Greg Monroe Be Froncourt of the Future for Detroit Pistons?

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterSeptember 12, 2012

Mar. 16, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe during game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Pistons 109-101. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

I'm pretty lonely on the Andre Drummond bandwagon—feel free to join me at any juncture. While you consider jumping on, take a gander at this over-dramatic highlight mix from Andre Drummond's not-terrible 2012 Summer League.

It's not that I lack doubts or concerns about the unpolished rookie big man. His UConn year was wholly underwhelming. I just believe that the backlash and "bust" talk became a bit too much.

One-and-done players are infamously hard to gauge.They are more often undervalued than over-considered. Think Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan, Avery Bradley and, yes, even Tyreke Evans.

DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors could easily make the list of one-and-done guys who went too low in a draft, and Philadelphia would almost certainly trade No. 2 selection Evan Turner for either. 

And now we have Andre Drummond, who was supposed to vie for the No. 1 selection with Anthony Davis before the 2011 NCAA season started. A year with the Huskies knocked Andre all the way down to No. 9 in the NBA draft.

Let's take a look at that season, because it wasn't "bad," when divorced from expectations. Drummond blocked 2.7 shots over 28 minutes per game, while only accruing 2.2 fouls per contest. In that time frame, he also scored 10 points on 54 percent shooting, while claiming 7.6 rebounds. His 29.5 percent free-throw shooting was much maligned, but it's a stat that looks less fearsome when you consider the sample size of 88 free throws. He's a bad free-throw shooter, but 29 percent is probably selling him short, considering Drummond's 43 percent high school mark. 

Since the end of last season, Drummond sloughed off 22 pounds (via NBC). My theory on draft picks is that "fat equals untapped potential." If Andre can keep the pounds off, we may be privy to an improvement similar to that of the recently slimmed-down Kevin Love.

Even at 22 fewer pounds, Andre Drummond weighed in at an sturdy 279 at the draft combine, according to Draft Express. Regardless of how you feel about his college game, there simply aren't many 279-pound guys with 7'6.25" wingspans. He is a physical marvel who conjures visions of Amar'e Stoudemire in his best moments.

Drummond will likely never be the offensive player that young Amar'e was, but he should be a defensive force. On Detroit, he walks into a perfect situation. Greg Monroe is a highly skilled scorer and passer. Most of the post touches should be Monroe's, on account of Greg's touch, vision and 22.09 player efficiency rating. In short, the Pistons do not need Drummond to play anything like a young Stoudemire. They're offensively set in the frontcourt.

What Detroit does need is for Andre Drummond to compensate for Greg Monroe's defensive deficiencies. Monroe is large, but slow-footed and slow-reacting. Drummond has quick defensive reflexes and the ability to cover more range than almost any other player in the sport. 

Andre Drummond is far from a polished defensive prospect, but his potential is real, and he's demonstrated an ability to make an impact on that end (the aforementioned 2.7 blocks as a freshman). If he fulfills his potential, Drummond is the ideal frontcourt partner for Greg Monroe. There is no guarantee that it will work out, but Detroit's frontcourt is replete with promise.