Andre Drummond, darkhorse Rookie of the Year candidate

After the Pistons drafted Andre Drummond, some thought it could take as long as five years for Drummond to develop into an impact player. Certainly no one thought he’d be a Rookie of the Year candidate. But, after one strong preseason, Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated has him in the mix:

The Overlooked Long Shot

Andre Drummond — Detroit Pistons – Las Vegas Odds:30/1

6-foot-10, 270 pounds; age 19

Las Vegas Summer League Stats: 7.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.2 steals in 24.2 minutes per game in five games

Preseason Stats: 9.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 blocks in 17.5 minutes per game in six games

Drummond produced plenty of reasons for doubt after his one season at UConn — his free-throw shooting, foul trouble and questions about his love of the game generally occupying the top spots on that list — but there’s no good reason for Las Vegas to have treated him so harshly in its early odds. Drummond is unrefined, to be sure, but blessed physically, too. So blessed that his resume already boasts a 19-point, 10-rebound effort against Milwaukee and excellent per-minute production for a big man, considering that he’s only been used off the bench and hasn’t yet played more than 25 minutes in a game. Foul trouble, playing time and the likelihood that Davis will put up better apples-to-apples numbers combine to put Drummond on the outside of this race looking in. But the early returns suggest that he’s the most undervalued player in this class.

The Pistons are still being cautious with Drummond, but it’s worth stating again — what he’s done this preseason has been remarkable. He’s already clearly the second best big man on his roster, and I don’t think even the biggest cheerleaders of the Pistons selecting him in the draft expected him to come along that quickly.

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