Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
Speaking of young bigs who've improved by leaps and bounds this year, how about Andre Drummond?
The 20-year-old out of UConn has started all 60 of the Detroit Pistons' games this season, during which he's averaged 13.2 points, 13.1 rebounds (third in the NBA) and 1.9 blocks (eighth) in a modest 32.5 minutes a night.
He also ranks second in field-goal percentage (.616) and, according to NBA.com, he's held his opponents to the eighth-lowest percentage at the rim among those those who've defended at least eight such attempts per game (48.8 percent).
In other words, Drummond has been precisely what Detroit likely expected he'd be: a big, athletic body who's active in the paint on both ends of the floor.
That characterization cuts both ways. As impressive as his field-goal percentage is at first glance, he's worked almost exclusively at or near the hoop. According to NBA.com, 62.6 percent of his looks have come within eight feet of the rim, and among players who average at least 30 minutes per game, none has scored more points in the paint by percentage than has Drummond.
Part of the responsibility for Drummond's dependence on easy shots stems from his role with the Pistons as the aforementioned big, athletic body. But much of it also falls on Drummond's shoulders. He's still incredibly raw, with a low-post game that remains in its infancy and a free-throw percentage (.409) that, as terrible as it is, represents an improvement over what he registered as a rookie (.371).
That's to be expected for a player of Drummond's profile. Young bigs take time to develop their offensive games, assuming they do at all (that means you, Dwight Howard). The sooner Drummond does, the better off the offensively challenged Pistons, at 24-36, will be.
For now, though, they have to be pleased with Drummond's progress and excited about his potential for the future.