The performance of rookie Andre Drummond was one of the few bright spots for a Detroit Pistons team that won just 29 games in 2012-13, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
The 19-year-old was voted to the All-Rookie Second Team after averaging 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. As a very raw prospect out of Connecticut, his early NBA success was mostly unexpected and has given the Pistons plenty to be excited about looking forward.
That being said, he's years away from becoming a polished player. His elite athleticism has translated to rebounding, blocking shots and finishing at the rim, but not much else. There are a handful of improvements he can make this summer to make him a more useful NBA player, and help the Pistons boost their win total.
Improve free throws
For Drummond to get more consistent playing time, especially at the end of games, he will need to drastically improve his touch at the free-throw line.
He was exceptionally bad at the line this season, shooting just 37.1 percent. Ronny Turiaf was the only player who attempted at least 50 free throws to shoot a lower percentage (36.5 percent).
As he continues to play more minutes and develops an offensive game, Drummond will spend more time at the line. And for the Pistons to justify playing him 30-plus minutes per game, he'll have to shoot above 50 percent from the stripe.
Develop basic post moves
Even though he averaged 13.8 points per 36 minutes while shooting 60.8 percent from the field, Drummond has almost no offensive game at this point.
According to Synergy Sports (subscription required), just 4.7 percent of his plays were post-ups. Even in that small sample size he wasn't effective, shooting just 4-of-17, or 23.5 percent.
With Greg Monroe playing next to him, Drummond isn't expected to be a go-to guy in the post. But he still needs to be effective enough that opposing teams have to account for him, especially since he will be guarded by lesser defenders when Monroe is on the court.
With his elite physical tools, Drummond should be able to score down low even with a basic set of post moves. Developing that this summer will make the Pistons a much more formidable offensive team.
As with many young big men, Drummond's focus on conditioning will have a major impact on what kind of player he becomes.
He was not in bad shape as a rookie, but he did miss 22 games because of injury. While a sprained ankle and a fractured vertebra aren't necessarily symptoms of being out of shape, improved flexibility and conditioning will help him to avoid other sorts of injuries. They will also allow him to play longer minutes and improve his durability for an 82-game season.
And while he already is listed at 270 pounds, adding strength will help him battle for position in the post and with positioning for rebounds. He shouldn't be looking to bulk up, which would limit his effectiveness running the court, but rather try to add lean muscle.
Continuing to develop his body will allow Drummond to be a more effective player and stay on the court longer. Even just small improvements from last season will help him tremendously.