Andre Drummond turned 20 this month and now he’s starting to flex his leadership muscles. Seeing the dividends that spending much of the summer before his rookie season working out in Auburn Hills under Pistons assistant coaches yielded, he urged the three 2013 draftees to show up early, as well.
“I got Peyton (Siva) to come to town, Tony’s (Mitchell) coming in the next day or two and Kentavious (Caldwell-Pope), too,” Drummond said. “I’m making sure all the rookies come in. Last year, I was here real early. I’m like, ‘You guys need to get here early. Just because you made it to the league, don’t think you can come back when all the veterans come back.’ ”
After Siva experienced his first brisk workout, he acknowledged to Drummond that he felt winded and was happy to have the six weeks until training camp opens to acclimate.
“And I told him, ‘It’s only going to get worse. As soon as training camp comes, it’s running times 10.’ So I’m glad to have him out here with me and the other rookies will be here soon, too.”
Andre Drummond has exceeded my wildest expectations.
On the court, he reached a level as a rookie, albeit in limited minutes, that I hoped he would reach at the peak of his career.
Off the court, he’s completely blown me away. His positive energy was a welcome presence last season, and now he’s apparently added leadership.
He’s really the complete package.
So much has been written lately about Tracy McGrady, who retired after an NBA career – including one season with the Pistons – that saw his teams fail to achieve much post-season success. No doubt, McGrady was a great player, a borderline Hall of Famer, and on one hand, it’s easy to say McGrady carried often subpar supporting casts as far as he could, even if that meant only to the first round of the playoffs. On the other hand, McGrady lead didn’t in a way a team’s top player is often responsible for handling. In that sense, I’m inclined to blame McGrady for his team’s shortcomings more than the numbers would suggest, because his personality was ill-suited to commanding the best from his team in the most pivotal situations.
In other words, McGrady helped his teams by producing at high levels while also holding them back by refusing to instill a competitive atmosphere. McGrady could excel while laid back, and that’s the vibe his teams mostly carried, but few others play their best in that environment.
The Pistons are extremely fortunate to have a player of Drummond’s ability, everything else not withstanding. If he’s truly developing into the type of leader that befits a team’s best player, the Pistons are even better positioned than I thought.