Andre Drummond is only 20-years-old as he enters his second year as an NBA professional. He has a hulking frame that’s partnered with unexpected athleticism for a man his size. He is adored on and off the court for his infectious and charismatic personality. But most importantly, Drummond has serious game on the court that’s causing nothing but buzz amongst fans of the Association worldwide.
Yes, he is a young and monstrous talent, but it seems as if he’s yet to scratch the surface on the type of NBA player he can be. He has a ways to go before he unleashes a full arsenal of post moves and an overall improved jump shot, yet all the pieces seem to be coming together quicker than expected. He has shown this undoubtedly thus far with his performances in the Orlando Summer League and the start of this young preseason to date.
In his first three outings of this NBA preseason, Drummond has been mightily impressive. Against Israeli Basketball Super League champion Maccabi Haifa he scored 17 points while grabbing nine rebounds and swatting three shots. He was this efficient while only seeing 25 minutes of action.
The Detroit Pistons‘ second preseason contest had them pitted against the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat, and Drummond played like a potential All-Star candidate. Drummond finished the game with an impressive 21 points and 11 rebounds on 8-11 shooting. Not only was Drummond efficient from the field, he showcased a nice touch from the charity stripe going 5-7, an area where he shot a putrid 37 percent a season ago.
Last night, Drummond continued his streak of success against the Brooklyn Nets. Drummond scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting (3-3 from the free throw line), grabbed six boards and tallied an additional three steals in only 18 minutes of action.
Free throw improvement will be key
Improved free throw shooting will play a major part in Drummond’s minutes this season, especially in crunch time. Through three preseason games so far, Drummond has shot a vastly improved 75 percent (9-12) from the line.
Drummond, who is so essential to the Pistons’ success this season, must find a way to stay on the floor as often as possible. With Maurice Cheeks’ strong advocacy for team defense, having a dynamite interior defender on this Pistons’ team in those key situations down the stretch can make the difference between being a fringe playoff team or being a decently seeded playoff team.
Is he the Pistons’ best player already?
There’s an argument that can be made. On a roster as diverse in talent as the Pistons’ is, it’s hard to say. What Drummond can be is the guy the franchise marks as their cornerstone for years to come. The team should put all their stock in the young center and see where he can carry them–even at the meager age of 20. Let him be the franchises’ planet that the rest of the talent can orbit around.
Drummond seems to be the first young Pistons player garnering this much attention in years. His flashes of brilliance last season when dunking everything in sight to picking Dwyane Wade’s pocket on back to back possessions has Pistons fans salivating at the thought of having the next elite big man on their side.
Franchise center’s are not easy to come across anymore, especially one’s as talented as charismatic and Drummond.
Just hand him the keys and watch him go.