Expectations for Andre Drummond's Second Season with the Detroit Pistons
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp
Drummond will have an increased role in 2013-14. Pistons GM Joe Dumars said in an interview with Grantland that Drummond will move to the starting lineup:
And I don't know how many minutes we’ll have that front line [Drummond, (Josh) Smith, (Greg) Monroe] on the floor together, once you get past the first six minutes for the first quarter.
But even with averages of 13.8 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes as a rookie, he was far from a finished product. He has no offensive game away from the basket and is one of the worst free throw shooters in the league, averaging 37 percent from the line per game. He also needs more discipline defensively.
Patience is the key with Drummond. You must remember that he is still one of the youngest players in the NBA. He seemingly has unlimited potential as a basketball player, but he is just scratching the surface of his talent. There is no doubt he will be one of the Pistons' best players in 2013-14, but his best years are still several years down the road.
In his first season, Drummond showed that he is very raw on the offensive end. While he averaged 7.9 points on 60.8 percent shooting from the field, only eight of the 208 field goals that he made were five feet or further from the basket. His repertoire of post moves was limited and he showed no signs of a mid-range jumper.
He was most effective in setting screens in pick-and-rolls, where his 1.18 points per play ranked 24th in the league, per Synergy Sports (subscription required). His length and athleticism made him especially dangerous in finishing lobs.
Drummond will have to develop chemistry with new pick-and-roll partners this year. Primarily, that will be the newly acquired Brandon Jennings, who looks for his own shot more than the departed Jose Calderon. But there is potential for a very intriguing Smith-Drummond pick-and-roll pairing as well.
Drummond's other strength was on the offensive glass where he averaged 2.8 boards per game and 4.9 per 36 minutes. His 15.4 offensive rebound percentage ranked fifth in the NBA among players who played at least 200 minutes, as his offensive rebounds accounted for 27.5 percent of his offensive plays (Synergy).
He showed very little post-up ability as a rookie, shooting just 4-of-17 (23.5 percent) when posting up. During summer league play in Orlando, he showed the ability to overpower players at times, but he was out of control just as often.
Drummond should have plenty of highlight-reel dunks in his sophomore campaign and should average double-digit points, but don't expect him to be an offensive focal point.
It is on the other end of the court where Drummond will be a difference-maker for the Pistons.
He was nearly as dominant on the defensive glass as he was on the offensive end last season, grabbing 27.2 percent rebounds to rank 10th in the league, averaging 8.3 per 36 minutes.
He also showed tremendous shot-blocking ability as a rookie, averaging 2.8 per 36 minutes, which was also good for 10th in the NBA. Not only is he an elite athlete, but he has also shown excellent timing in helping from the weak side. As he continues to watch film and improve his basketball IQ, he should only improve as a rim protector.
Although Drummond still has plenty of room to develop, he played solid defense as a rookie. He only allowed .78 points per possession when his man got the ball in pick-and-roll situations (37th in the NBA) and .77 points against post-ups (via Synergy). He wasn't a lock-down defender by any means, but the Pistons can count on him as a plus-defender in the post.
Where will the Pistons finish in the Eastern Conference in 2013-14?
When playing alongside Monroe, Drummond will guard the more talented of the two opposing big men, similarly to the way the Chicago Bulls use Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer defensively. But when Drummond is with Smith, there will be much more flexibility for the Pistons with their athleticism and defensive ability.
Given increased minutes, Drummond will be asked to anchor a defense that ranked 23rd in points per possession last season. He and Smith should help Detroit improve to at least an average defensive team.
Individually, 10 boards and two blocks per game for Drummond is attainable , depending on his minutes, although Smith's presence will cut down his rebounding rate a bit. But with a number of quality defensive centers in the league, Drummond is still a year or two from serious consideration for any All-NBA Defensive teams.
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