Although the 63rd NBA All-Star Game (8 p.m.tip) will not feature any member of the Detroit Pistons, All-Star Weekend did provide a glimpse of hope for Pistons fans. Andre Drummond was named MVP of the league’s Rising Stars Challenge, as his team (Team Hill) claimed victory in the exciting exhibition.
All-Star games are often criticized for their lack of entertainment (along with player effort) but Friday night’s game was full of entertainment and intensity from the players.
The second half featured a jaw-dropping 1-on-1 duel between the New York Knicks’ Tim Hardaway Jr. (Team Webber) and Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dion Waiters (Team Hill) as the two future All-Stars totaled 36 and 31 points, respectively. At the time, it appeared that this was more than just a head-to-head battle; it was a battle for the MVP trophy.
But Drummond wasn’t going to let the shooters get all the attention.
The Pistons’ center grabbed his 25th rebound of the night in the game’s final moments, a new Rising Stars Challenge record. Then, with the game on the line, Drummond made a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left. (An impressive feat for a guy that shoots just 41% from the line during the season.)
In addition to his 25 rebounds, Drummond scored 30 points in his MVP-performance. He recorded some impressive dunks, showed off his ball-handling skills and dominated the glass; both offensively and defensively. His nationally-televised showing gave those who may not be familiar with him, a piece of what he is capable of on the basketball court.
Even though statistics are a measurable value they don’t explain the entire story, especially in an All-Star exhibition. While Drummond was terrorizing opponents on both ends of the floor, Chris Webber (opposing coach and TNT personnel) was praising his talents while commentating the game.
C-Webb may not have had the nicest things to say about the current state of the Pistons, but he did say that they have struck gold with Drummond. Webber spoke to his athleticism and foot-work while also discrediting those who doubt the 20-year old and his personal motor.
The former Uconn Huskie may have been snubbed of an All-Star selection, but he certainly made the best of the opportunity that he was presented with.
Drummond has started in all 52 games so far this season, averaging 13 points and 13 rebounds per game. He leads the league in offensive rebounds per game (5.4) and trails only Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves (44) for the league-lead in double-doubles with 39.
The Pistons return to action on Tuesday, as they host the Charlotte Bobcats. Detroit (22-30) is trailing the Bobcats by a half-game for eighth in the Eastern Conference standings.