Ben Golliver of The Point Forward graded the 2012 first-round picks so far, and he gave just three players As. Of course, Andre Drummond (along with Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard) received one of those As:
9. Andre Drummond, Pistons: A-
7.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG in 50 games
Drummond is pure intrigue, addicting intrigue. He might very well have been the league leader in causing observers to scream for him to get more playing time, more touches, more media attention, more, more, more. Before going down with a back injury in February (an injury from which he’s yet to return), Drummond posted a rookie-best PER of 22.4 and compiled per-36 minute averages of 13.3 points, 13.7 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 1.7 steals. Those are eye-popping numbers that signal All-Star potential, given that he’s still 19.
A big-bodied center with excellent athleticism, Drummond knows what he does best. More than 95 percent of his field-goal attempts have come in the basket area and he finishes nearly two-thirds of them, often with emphatic dunks. It must be noted that his offense is predicated on someone setting him up, but he knows exactly what to do with a dump pass and a second-chance opportunity. Those high-percentage looks helped drive his PER, and his presence on the court significantly improved the offensive efficiency of coach Lawrence Frank’s team. And, yes, the lowly Pistons were better defensively with him on the court, too, as he effectively clogs the paint simply by being out there.
We might never know why Drummond had his playing time crimped in what was clearly a rebuilding year, and it’s not clear whether management and the current coaching staff will be retained next season. But whoever runs the show in 2013-14 will have to realize that Drummond’s potential is far and away the best thing this franchise has going for it.
With Drummond out injured for so long, I forgot how fun it was to read the national media gush about him. Hopefully Drummond will return soon, and we can get back to hearing about his greatness.