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No Guarantees For Andre Drummond In Detroit
Posted By Stephen Brotherston On October 14, 2012 @ 6:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
When Andre Drummond joined the defending national champions at the University of Connecticut in 2011, expectations for the physically gifted big man were sky high. While Drummond failed to live up to the hype, his physical gifts did not diminish in college and the Detroit Pistons selected him ninth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft.
“The past is the past,” said Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank. “We all have a past, so we just continue to learn and try to improve.
“Andre is a great kid. Obviously very athletic, very good feet, great size and we think he has a very bright future. Obviously, we didn’t draft him at nine and not think he didn’t have a very bright future.”
In person, Drummond looks the part of an NBA center and it is hard not to be impressed, something that is not lost on his new teammates.
“He definitely has the tools to be a really good big man,” Greg Monroe said. “As far as the mental part of the game, he has a ways to go, but as far as the physical skills, he is one of those guys who, any ceiling he reaches, you won’t be surprised because of the physical tools he is blessed with.”
Detroit hasn’t finished above .500 since the 2007-08 season and a youth movement finally appears to be taking over, but the Pistons follow their own ideals when it comes to player development. The Pistons’ four rookies and other developing players hoping for playing time will have to earn it.
“People say development, well that means playing time,” Frank said. “To me development is always based on merit because the worst thing – you can look at it with a exception of a couple guys – guys who don’t get it based on merit, it usually doesn’t play out real well for them. Guys that get it based on merit, they understand the process. To me, whether you are young or old, it has to be based on merit.”
Even a ninth overall draft pick like Drummond will have to earn his playing time from Frank.
“He has to earn it like anyone else, but don’t look at a preseason game, this was scripted way in advance,” Frank said. “He will play a lot tomorrow, but like anyone, everyone has to earn it. That’s how it works.”
This is Drummond’s first NBA training camp and preseason and this is where he will earn his spot in Frank’s rotation. The early indications have been positive.
“Andre, he had a good training camp,” Monroe said. “Typical – I don’t want to say struggles – obstacles that any rookie has learning a lot of new stuff, new terminology, schemes and stuff like that, but I think he picked it up fairly well.
“In his first game action, I think he played well. What I think he did was he let the game come to him. That’s what he did well; he didn’t try to force anything. He did his job. He did exactly what the coaches asked him to do.”
The structure provided by training camp and a total immersion in basketball related activities has been good for the young big man and the apparent willingness to accept coaching will be paramount for Drummond to be successful.
“We do this every day,” Drummond said. “We have nothing to do besides doing what you love, playing basketball. Being in the gym everyday with my teammates is the greatest feeling.
“The NBA has a lot more structure. The coaching staff has been great for me getting better, quicker. I am just doing what the coaching staff is telling me to do.”
Coach Frank will be looking for more of the same from Drummond throughout the rest of the preseason and all of 2012-13. The ups and downs in effort observed during Drummond’s brief college career are not going to keep him on the floor in Detroit.
“Like anyone, you want to develop him and development is not just in the games, development is what you do every day,” Frank said. “How are his habits? What is he doing in practice? What is he doing in individual work? What is he doing in the weight room? What is he doing in the film study? And look he is doing all good things, they are all positives, so I am sure if he continues on that path, he will find his way and earn his way into playing time as long as he continues to put maximum effort into everything he does.”
There is no doubt the ceiling for Drummond is high and he has landed on a rebuilding team with other young players he can develop along side of. His opportunities will only be limited by his own efforts and how fast he learns the NBA game.
“He is a sponge,” Frank said. “He soaks it all up. It is one of his greatest traits. He is a very, very willing learner. He is a fun guy to coach.”
“He is still 19 and still a rookie, but he is picking up everything they are trying to help him (with),” Monroe said. “You can never put expectations on an unknown. It’s not like this is a guy who has played for two years. This is a guy without any kind of NBA action, so everything that happens is kind of going to be a surprise. I am interested to see how he does. Obviously, I hope he does well because he can help our team out a whole lot.”
Coach Frank is adamant that Drummond is not getting a free pass in Detroit and will earn his playing time, but the young big man has kicked things off on the right foot and if he is still a fun guy to coach at the end of October, we will be seeing a lot of this physically gifted young big in the regular season.
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