Second-year center Andre Drummond has been everything the Pistons have asked for and more. The 20-year-old star has already accomplished a lot for Detroit. Yes, he just posted a career-high 26 rebounds in a game against the woeful New York Knicks. However, I’m not even referring to the records he sets on paper. I’m referring to these types of accomplishments:
A) Keeping Detroit from being a bottom five team in the league.
B) Helping Joe Dumars stick around as Pistons GM.
C) Keeping Detroit basketball fans somewhat interested in the franchise.
A maximum contract is like the NBA’s version of a franchise tag. There’s almost no doubt Drummond will receive a hefty paycheck once his rookie contract is up. Detroit will likely be forced to offer him the max because of the interest he’ll attract from every team in the league minus Houston (they have Dwight Howard). Andre Drummond is untouchable, meaning he wouldn’t be traded for anyone other than LeBron or Durant. That’s unless he eventually demands a trade out of Detroit, which isn’t unimaginable given the team’s current state.
The big question is: how in the world did Andre Drummond slide all the way to ninth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft? It’s understandable that Anthony Davis was the first pick. However, put Andre Drummond on most teams that passed him and they’re clearly better off. For instance, just imagine how great Golden State would be with Drummond instead of Harrison Barnes. Don’t get me wrong; Barnes is a talented player but he isn’t capable of making a Drummond-like impact from game to game.
About a year ago at a Michigan State University Journalism event, I asked Pistons’ color commentator Gregory Kelser why so many teams passed up on the highly regarded big man. “They thought he was lazy and he didn’t work hard. And they thought he wasn’t NBA ready,” Kelser said.
Personally, I can’t imagine how any team looking to build a respectable organization would have looked at Andre Drummond that way. I mean, work ethic doesn’t just come overnight. There was clearly something these teams weren’t seeing in Drummond. First off, he has the ideal NBA body. Secondly, he has a rare combination of strength and athleticism for a center. Lastly, he is an inevitable basket protector. Props to Joe Dumars on that pick, who has made his small share of mistakes over the years.
Without Drummond, the Pistons may be competing with the Bucks for worst team in the NBA. Okay, maybe they wouldn’t be that putrid. However, there would be a pretty noticeable difference without Drummond. According to statistics provided by NBA.com, Drummond has already grabbed a league-leading 325 offensive rebounds. That is 79 more offensive rebounds than second place DeAndre Jordan and already 15 more than last year’s league high, Zach Randolph.
The future is bright for Andre Drummond. Very bright. We’ve clearly established that Detroit is extremely fortunate to have him as part of the franchise. Ben Wallace’s arrival in Detroit in 2000 was just the start of big championship dreams. The Pistons have a long way to go but eventually putting a ring on Drummond’s finger would be a great story.