Wednesday September 14th, 2016

It didn’t take long for Andre Drummond to validate Detroit’s decision to roll with him as the franchise center and move on from Greg Monroe. In his first year playing in a spread offensive system, the 23-year-old Drummond (16.2 PPG, 14.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG) put his elite size and strength to full use, posting career-highs in scoring and rebounding while helping Detroit post its best offensive efficiency ranking since 2008. Although he’s still an unpolished, inconsistent scoring option on the block and a major liability when hacked, Drummond compensates for those weaknesses by wearing down his opponents, pounding the offensive glass and finishing with authority when he gets a clean window in pick-and-roll situations. He hasn’t yet reached “Young Dwight Howard” levels when it comes to offensive impact (and he probably won’t ever get there), but Drummond has made steady progress since he entered the NBA as a teenager. This season marked Drummond’s third straight playing 80+ games, and that reliability, coupled with good health from his fellow starters, played a big role in Detroit’s defensive improvement. After years of below-average and disorganized defenses, the Pistons have been much better under Stan Van Gundy, with Drummond deserving credit for holding down the boards and covering up for some fairly weak-defending power forwards alongside of him. By the time Detroit got around to inking Drummond to a $130 million rookie contract extension this summer, the deal was hardly news. There just wasn’t anything to debate or discuss: He earned it. (Last year: No. 35)

+ A first-time All-Star and All-NBA selection last year, he led the NBA in rebounds, ranked in the top 30 in PER, Win Shares, and Real Plus Minus, and tallied a league-best 66 double-doubles (12 more than anyone else)
+ The best age-22 comparison point for his 2015-16 production (16.2/14.8/1.4, 7.4 Win Shares) is Hall of Famer Moses Malone (19.4/15/1.3, 6.1 WS)
His ghastly 35.5% free-throw shooting last season was the lowest mark all-time among players with at least 500 attempts
Although he’s one of the NBA’s most prolific dunkers, he has significant room to improve as a finisher around the basket, ranking in the 27% percentile in post-up scoring per Synergy Sports

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