Andre Drummond off to Fast Start in NBA Summer League 2013

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Andre Drummond off to Fast Start in NBA Summer League 2013
USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond showed glimpses of the player he could become in the NBA.

This summer in the Orlando Summer League, he continues to show why the Pistons selected him at No. 9 overall in the 2012 NBA draft.

Through three games so far in Orlando, Drummond is averaging 15.7 points, 15.0 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 2.7 steals. On Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets, the 19-year-old posted 12 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks and five steals. On Thursday against the Miami Heat, he racked up 23 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

The Pistons know Drummond is a work in progress. They knew that when they drafted him last year. He was not only inconsistent in his freshman season at UConn, but he also appeared to take plays off at times.

New Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks and Pistons Summer League coach Maz Trakh have been pushing the youngster to work on his low-post moves and conditioning this summer, per Michael Wallace of ESPN.com.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

But, as the Pistons also knew when they drafted him, Drummond's upside is off the charts. He was compared to a young Dwight Howard in terms of his explosiveness coming out of college. Working on his conditioning will only make him more dangerous on the open floor. And, more importantly, he appears willing to take it to the next level and give 100 percent effort.

Rasheed Wallace, who was hired by the Pistons this summer to work exclusively with Drummond and center Greg Monroe, said of Drummond, per Wallace's report:

"He's still young, he's still raw, and he's still depending on his athleticism a lot, which, to tell you the truth, a lot of 19-year-olds do. But the thing I think will get 'Dre over is he's not one of those 'I know' guys. Like, everything you tell him, he's [not] like 'I know, I know.' Everything you tell him, he sucks it up. He might not like it, but he doesn't complain about it. He still does it."

Last season, Drummond averaged 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 1.0 steals in 21 minutes per game while shooting 61 percent from the floor. In his last 10 games of the season, he really turned it on, averaging 11.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 26 minutes per game while shooting 67 percent from the field. In his fourth-to-last game of the season, he posted 29 points and 11 rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers while going 10-of-11 from the floor.

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Among all players who averaged at least 20 minutes per game, he ranked 17th in PER (21.51), via Hoopdata.com—right ahead of one Stephen Curry. He ranked seventh in the category among big men.

Plenty of players have had brilliant performances at the Summer League among young players and prospects and have gone on to disappoint when the NBA season comes around. In that sense, you have to take Drummond's numbers in Orlando so far with a grain of salt.

More important than his numbers will be the strides he makes as far as his conditioning and his low-post game. He can already explode over defenders. If he truly works on his post game, the sky is the limit for the 7'0", 279-pound big man.

One thing's for sure: Drummond's Summer League performance so far is yet another glimpse of a player who could become an All-Star in the NBA. 

 

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