Could Andre Drummond win Rookie of the Year even if his minutes don't increase much?

To answer my own headline, no, probably not. But Andre Drummond is definitely in the conversation, and if Damian Lillard wasn’t the revelation he’s been, Drummond would have an even stronger case for the award. In fact, in a five-on-five on ESPN.com today looking at trimester awards so far for the NBA season, two of the five writers picked Drummond as their ROY choice:

Ian Levy: Drummond. Although he’s still convincing his coach he deserves 20-plus minutes a game, Drummond has been a revelation. He’s answered every question about motor and intensity, while solidifying every assertion of his unique size and athleticism. Lillard is off to a great start as well, but Drummond is clearly headed somewhere special.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss: Drummond. Look, I’m under no illusions. I get that Lillard, Oakland’s version ofChauncey Billups, will take this award. But Drummond’s higher PER gives me an excuse to choose someone who’s made more astounding plays this season. Drummond might not always know what he’s doing, but he’ll crush laws of physics at least once a game, all the while looking like a combination of young Amar’e and young Dwight.

Drummond is simply not playing as many minutes as he deserves yet, and that tends to dominate the conversations around him. But we really should be spending more time just simply discussing (and enjoying) how remarkably well he’s played so soon in his career. He certainly still has a ways to go to be the dominant force he’s capable of, but the fact that he’s far, far closer than anyone could’ve imagined when he was drafted is in itself a saving grace of a season that has otherwise been forgettable in every way.

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