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How Good Will Andre Drummond Be in 2013-14?
Posted By Joel Brigham On August 26, 2013 @ 12:00 pm In NBA | No Comments
Whether you’re a Detroit Pistons fan or just somebody getting a huge head start on game-planning for your fantasy basketball draft, the question about how big a leap Andre Drummond will make in his sophomore NBA campaign is a pretty exciting one to ask.
As a rookie, Drummond was enough of a monster at age 19 for people to start comparing him to Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard, though a stress fracture in his back forced him to miss the last 22 games of the 2012-13 season. Despite sitting out for a quarter of the year, Drummond finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting and projects to be one of the best centers in the league next season, as long as he gets the minutes increase he probably deserves.
Projections and real-life are two totally different things, however, and opinions about Drummond as a superstar are pretty split. Everyone tends to agree he’ll be good, but in SB Nation’s Top 100 Players of 2017 article this summer, they placed Drummond at No. 3, right behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and just ahead of Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis.
That, obviously, was a risky (and probably ridiculous) thing to say, but looking at Drummond’s per-36 minutes statistics from his rookie season makes it pretty easy to get fired up about the kid. At 13.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.7 steals per game per-36 minutes, Drummond looks like a future All-Star and perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
Advanced statistics also support the argument for a strong 2013-14 season. According to ESPN.com’s Bradford Doolittle, Drummond’s projected Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) for next season is 10.1, second among all centers and behind only Howard. In other words, he’s worth 10 wins a season to the Pistons, which says nothing about his increasingly impressive physique (he measured in at 290 lbs. and six percent body fat a couple of months ago) and leadership talents (he played for Detroit’s Summer League team and participated in the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas this summer).
Despite there being pre-draft reports in June of 2012 that he was lazy and not all that driven to be good at basketball, the opposite has been proven true, and now Drummond looks like he has the potential to be one of the best centers of his generation.
However, Drummond isn’t without his shortcomings. While one would assume that he would start for Detroit this upcoming season and see a big uptick in minutes, the addition of Josh Smith makes that inevitability a little less inevitable. Since Smith and Drummond are both much better defenders than scorers, there’s a chance that those two and Greg Monroe won’t always be able to play at the same time. Detroit needs to score more points this year, and having Smith and Drummond on the floor together for long stretches might make that challenging.
Those per-36 minutes stats are sexy, but perhaps not realistic if Drummond’s bump in minutes only goes from 20.7 minutes to, say, 25 minutes.
Those offensive limitations could be a problem, as well. As SB Nation’s Tom Ziller points out, Drummond didn’t make a single jumpshot from 10-23 feet out last season. He attempted only 11 of them in 60 games, and missed every last one of them.
Knowing that, it’s not too big a surprise that he’s also awful from the free-throw line. Drummond shot an embarrassing 37.1 percent from the charity stripe in 2012-13. To put that into perspective, Dennis Rodman shot 58.4 percent for his career, Shaquille O’Neal finished at 52.8 percent for his and even Ben Wallace clocked in at 41.4 percent. In other words, unless Drummond seriously improves that aspect of his game, he could end up being a historically bad free-throw shooter.
As is the case with all potential breakout players, everything boils down to opportunity. The minutes, then, are more of a concern than anything else, as Drummond has to actually play those 36 minutes per game to achieve those drool-worthy projected statistics.
The good news is that his limited minutes is a short-term issue, because at some point this kid is going to have all the playing time he can stomach. He probably won’t ever be considered the third-best player in the league, but Top 15 is surprisingly reasonable.
But will that happen this year? That’s a great question. As far as fantasy is concerned, Drummond will end up high on mocks, but the gamble will come with the hopes that he plays 30+ minutes per game. If he does, he should be one of the top all-around fantasy studs in the league. Well, as long as you’re not concerned about free-throws.
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