Biggest Improvements Andre Drummond Must Make to Exceed Star Hype in 2013-14
In only 20.7 minutes per game, Drummond managed to pull in 7.6 boards and block 1.6 shots. He shot 60 percent from the floor and finished the year with a whopping PER of 21.69, terrorizing opposing frontcourts on both sides of the ball.
He's already established himself as one of the most promising young big men in the game, and he's not even close to hitting his stride.
Still a raw athlete as opposed to a polished basketball machine, Drummond has plenty to work on in terms of his offensive development. In 2013-14, look for new head coach Maurice Cheeks to remove Drummond's straightjacket and unleash the NBA's next big star.
Though Drummond was extremely productive as a rookie, most of his production was fueled by his elite physical tools. At 6'10'', 270 pounds, Drummond is a sensational athlete with strength, mobility and coordination.
He's got explosive bounce and terrific hands, which allow him to sky above the rim and finish everything around it.
Last season, Drummond made 3.5 shots in 20.7 minutes per game. That's an awfully impressive rate for a guy without any moves to go to.
At this point in his career, Drummond is a finisher. He gives guards a stationary or moving target. And thanks to his athleticism and 7'6'' wingspan, he's capable of finishing around, over or through the rim protection.
But for Drummond to maximize the threat he poses to defenses, he'll have to become a better scorer with the ball.
Take a look at Drummond's shot-type distribution from his rookie season. According to Vorped, 196 of Drummond's 208 made field goals came off dunks, alley-oops, tips or layups. That's 94 percent of his offense.
Dunks, alley-oops, tips and layups all came as a result of Drummond putting himself in position to make a play, whether it's slipping off a screen to the hoop for a lob or sneaking behind the defense for an easy catch-and-finish.
But the baskets he scores don't require a refined skill. You don't spend hours in the gym working on your lefty alley-oops—it's just something that comes naturally to a special athlete like Drummond.
He's going to eventually have to evolve into a bigger threat with the ball. Rarely did Drummond show any shot-creating ability, which ultimately limits his overall scoring opportunities. Adding a hook, fadeaway, face-up move or jumper would allow Drummond to become more of a featured player, as opposed to the off-ball finisher he is now.
For Drummond to maximize his potential as an offensive threat, he'll need to establish himself as an option to feed in the post.
Develop a Face-Up Game
With nimble feet and exceptional ball-handling skills, it would be a crime if Drummond doesn't become a face-up threat in the mid-range.
Drummond moves like a guard, and he'll be covered by centers. With his type of foot speed, he should be able to attack big men off the dribble whenever there's space to do so.
But right now, Drummond doesn't quite have the steps down. His footwork and timing are off. Separating for a balanced scoring opportunity after a dribble is currently a challenge.
Below, we've got Drummond essentially isolated in the mid-range, which was a rare occurrence in 2012-13. With space to operate, he chooses to put in on the floor and swoop into the lane.
However, Drummond is clearly uncomfortable going left, yet chooses to do so anyway. He ends up trying to avoid the lefty shot by going off the wrong foot, which forces him to shift his weight and body and take a low-percentage, off-balance shot.
These are the type of mistakes you see from young, raw big men. The cure is repetition. Drummond just needs to keep playing and experimenting. The more times he goes to this move, the more natural it will become.
Drummond should look to exploit his quickness, as should Detroit's coaching staff. Clearing room for the big man wouldn't be a bad idea every so often.
It's not going to make or break Drummond's season if he shoots it poorly from the stripe again. But 37 percent almost seems like a joke.
What's ironic is that he's actually shown a soft touch in the short-range. He hit a number of baby jumpers as a freshman at Connecticut, and sports a confident stroke and clean flick of the wrist.
Which big man would you rather have to start your franchise?
With more time and attempts, he's bound to improve. He can really only go up from here. But it's important that he does—it would be a shame if the Pistons have to contemplate pulling him during crunch time.
At least get it up to 50 percent, big fella.
With Drummond, we're talking about NBA All-Star appearances—multiple. He's got the potential to become an elite two-way center in this league. And right now, he's only 20 years old.
This year, he'll have to work on expanding his offensive repertoire. Dwight Howard wasn't a primary scoring option when he first came into the league. But he developed some go-to moves in the paint to pair with his immaculate physical tools.
To exceed the hype awaiting him in 2013-14, Drummond should look to become a more threatening scorer with the ball. And adding some post moves, improving his footwork and boosting his free-throw percentage will be atop the priority list.
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