Playing with Andre Drummond helps even those who looked beyond help

My column this week for the Detroit Free Press looks at how the resurgent play of Austin Daye, Charlie Villanueva and Will Bynum has been aided by Andre Drummond:

In a profile of Drummond, Beckley Mason of ESPN TrueHoop Network blog HoopSpeak wrote, “For now, stop looking for the nuances and artistry traditionally associated with franchise big men. Here’s what counts: Andre Drummond can dunk and rebound at the highest level in the NBA.”

Mason is exactly right, and those two high-level skills are precisely why Drummond makes the three oft-maligned, suddenly resurgent Pistons so much better. Offensive rebounds often lead to open perimeter shots as the defense scrambles to reset. No one in the league has been better on the offensive glass than Drummond this season. Drummond is tied for the league lead in offensive rebounding percentage with Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao. When you put Drummond and his offensive rebounding prowess on the court with capable shooters (albeit streaky ones) like Daye and Villanueva, it is bound to lead to good, open shots for them as the ball is tossed back out.

Bynum, on the other hand, is a penetrating guard known for his relentless, frenetic style and willingness to attack at all times. He can get to the basket, he can get off his shot surprisingly well for his size, but he also tends to get out of control, he doesn’t always make great decisions with the ball and he occasionally penetrates too deep, gets caught inside and doesn’t have a good option to pass out of it. Put him on the floor with a guy like Drummond, who has good hands, who is a fantastic finisher and who is one of the most athletic players in the league — meaning he can run with Bynum and corral bad passes that many other players would not be able to get to — and he’s bound to help turn what would’ve been a turnover or two into buckets.

Also, make sure to check out the HoopSpeak column by Mason mentioned in that excerpt above, including Mason’s very interesting comparison of Drummond to Tyson Chandler.

Tags: Andre Drummond Austin Daye Charlie Villanueva Will Bynum