Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. Andre Drummond will make at least five All-Star Games in his career.
Dan Feldman, PistonPowered: Fact. I feel a little uncomfortable picking any player whose never made an All-Star Game to make five, but Drummond is just that promising. And really, he’s on an OK track. Of the 120 five-time All-Stars in NBA history, just fewer than half made an All-Star Game in their first two seasons. Two-thirds, though, made one by their third season, so Drummond better get going.
Patrick Hayes, PistonPowered: Fact. For Drummond, getting to the first one will be the hardest part. The Pistons can help him achieve that by, you know, not being the least interesting team in the league and not underachieving, hopefully starting next season. Drummond’s game is so productive and so exciting and crowd-pleasing that once he gets a little attention, it’s pretty easy to see he’s going to be a fixture in All-Star games.
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press: Fact. Let’s face it; Drummond is probably playing at an All-Star level right now. Averages of 13.1 points, 13 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots definitely look the part. In February, those averages jump to 16.1, 14.7 and 2.3, and he leads the NBA with 5.4 offensive rebounds per game. And since this is for you stat heads, he is grabbing nearly 18% of available offensive rebounds and has a PER of 22.4. Looks like a perennial All-Star to me – as long as he keeps improving and his teams are competitive.
2. Fact or Fiction: Greg Monroe will make an All-Star Game in his career.
Dan Feldman, PistonPowered: Fiction. The crop of quality big men has grown in the last few years, and Monroe has not progressed as greatly as hoped – pushing him down the pecking order just a little bit. Still, he’s in the fringe range, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ultimately became an All-Star. Playing for a better team, especially if he remains in the Eastern Conference, would help his case. And yes, that team could be the Pistons.
Patrick Hayes, PistonPowered: Fact. Monroe’s already been decently close once, back before the East did away with the center position. He doesn’t have the athletic advantages Drummond has that draw attention to his game, but Monroe is an efficient offensive player, a strong rebounder and it’s not a stretch to envision him putting up All-Star numbers for a season or three on a more balanced roster down the road.
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press: Fiction. I think there is room for growth here. Those that think Moose has reached his ceiling are goofy. But I am beginning to wonder if Monroe will ever be the main or second option on a good team. If he’s just a very good No. 3, don’t see him making an All-Star team.
3. Fact or Fiction: A current Piston besides Drummond and Monroe will make a future All-Star Game in his career.
Dan Feldman, PistonPowered: Fiction. The only current Piston who has ever been an All-Star is Chauncey Billups, and he’s definitely not making it back. Josh Smith’s best days are behind him, and he never made it in his prime, though I can’t completely rule out a late breakthrough. Brandon Jennings has the talent to work his way onto the periphery of the All-Star discussion and is young enough to do so, but considering he’s not even in the discussion at this point, that seems like a longshot. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, because his age creates high variance for future career arcs, might have the best chance. I just don’t see him reaching that level, though.
Patrick Hayes, PistonPowered: Fiction. There are only three real candidates, and all have issues. Josh Smith is not getting younger, he has yet to make one and he’s having a poor season. Time is running out for him. Brandon Jennings is certainly dynamic enough to envision as an All-Star if he ever figures out how to play under control, but the East is pretty loaded with young star guards — Derrick Rose when healthy, Kyrie Irving and John Wall are all significantly better than Jennings right now and all are also still young enough that improvement is not out of the question (with a major caveat being the impact of Rose’s injuries as an unknown). My wildcard would be Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He hasn’t played very well this season and he’s falling further and further down the rotation, but his defense has shown great potential and if his three-point shooting ever comes around as advertised, he’ll be a legit three and D scoring wing in a conference where the shooting guard position is largely unproven behind the aging Dwyane Wade. KCP is truly a longshot, but there’s still a slim chance he could develop into an Arron Afflalo-type player. Afflalo didn’t make the team this year, but his numbers are certainly All-Star worthy. He represents a nice best-case for KCP.
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press: Fiction. Too many great point guards for Brandon Jennings too make it. If Josh Smith didn’t make it in earlier seasons with the Hawks, it’s probably not happening in the future. The only other guy with a shot would be rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. I think he will be a good player in the future, but nothing close to an All-Star.