My first reaction whenever a Piston gets any national recognition, even a single vote, is satisfaction. Drummond generally deserves positive attention.
My second reaction was this particular recognition probably wasn’t deserved.
Drummond made defensive progress from last season – and his per-game averages, 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals, are solid – but that alone doesn’t make him a good defender. There were far too many missed rotations to label Drummond even a clearly plus defender, let alone one of the top two defensive centers in the NBA.
If you’re curious, here’s Dedes’ full ballot:
- Guard: Paul George
- Guard: Chris Paul
- Forward: LeBron James
- Forward: Serge Ibaka
- Center: Joakim Noah
- Guard: Michael Carter-Williams
- Guard: Jimmy Butler
- Forward: Anthony Davis
- Forward: Kawhi Leonard
- Center: Andre Drummond
Dedes’ ballot tilts a little too far toward names (LeBron and Davis) and steals and blocks stats (Carter-Williams and Davis), and Drummond’s stats probably proved central to his inclusion.
As tempted as I was to take another look at Drummond defensive in light of this outside attention, I don’t think there’s more than meets the eye.
Drummond is a promising defender whose defensive stats have outpaced his actual production on that end. Hopefully soon, Stan Van Gundy will help Drummond meet his defensive potential and join the running for a lot more than All-Defensive second team.