Andre Drummond’s absence hurting Pistons
by Vince Ellis, USA TODAY Sports
PORTLAND, Ore. — Will Bynum watched the scene in front of Andre Drummond’s locker.
Drummond was updating reporters on his injured back in the visitor’s locker room at Energy Solutions Arena shortly after the Detroit Pistons’ 103-90 loss to the Utah Jazz.
The organization released an update on Drummond’s status earlier that day after several weeks of fans constantly inquiring about how the stress fracture in the lower back of the rookie center was progressing.
And Bynum voiced what the fans and media are thinking about the situation.
“We need him back,” Bynum said softly.
Drummond missed his 18th straight game Saturday night when the Pistons faced the Blazers. After winning the first two games of Drummond’s absence, the Pistons carried an abominable 3-12 stretch into Saturday — including a seven-game losing streak for the entire month of March.
And as the rebounding numbers have fallen way off and the defense has become a sieve, it’s quite apparent that you can make the case that Drummond, five months shy of his 20th birthday, is the team’s best player.
That’s not an original statement. Many, including Pistons TV analyst Greg Kelser, Dan Feldman with the fan site PistonPowered.com, and various advanced stat mavens, stated the case as far back as December.
I will admit it: I scoffed. But hear me out. In talking to opposing coaching staffs, I was told several times that the main thing you stressed with Drummond is to stay in contact with him, taking away his space to prevent dunks and rebounds.
It wasn’t a knock. The first thing I was asked was why wasn’t he playing more because despite the rudimentary nature of his game, he was a lot to deal with.
But I guess my feeble mind just couldn’t grasp a rookie without one offensive move as the team’s best player.
So there’s the apology.
This stretch has been eye-opening. The Pistons’ rebounding and defense have nose-dived in Drummond’s absence.
Since winning the first two of the 17 games, the Pistons have only won the rebounding battle three times during that stretch, getting beaten by weak rebounding teams like the Knicks and Hornets. They have gotten crushed by … [For more on Andre Drummond's absence hurting Pistons, click here.]