Court Vision: Grounding the hype of Andre Drummond's sophomore season
• Optimism over the immediate future of Andre Drummond is getting a little out of control, but Tom Ziller of SB Nation has thankfully brought up two big questions in regard to the sustainability of Drummond's stellar rookie performance as he heads into year two:
I'm skeptical of two pieces that made Drummond's rookie season so spectacular, though: his elite rebounding and his lack of turnovers. Last season, Drummond snared 15.4 percent of his own team's missed shots, one of the best marks in the league. Drummond should remain a strong rebounder throughout his career: he's agile, long and tough with massive hands. But the level of offensive rebounding Drummond provided last season is typically not sustainable for players not named Reggie Evans, Dennis Rodman or Moses Malone. Evans is the only current player with multiple seasons above a 15 percent offensive rebound rate. Kenneth Faried is a good example of a player who was extraordinary on the offensive glass as a rookie (16.5 percent) only to dip down to very good in his second season (13 percent). That could happen to Drummond on both ends. (He was an outrageous defensive rebounder, too.)
The most unbelievable thing about Drummond as a rookie was his low turnover rate. He didn't touch the ball as a threat to score a whole lot, but still. For a young, raw big man to have a turnover rate of 12 percent is totally unexpected and a huge boon. For comparison's sake, Dwight Howard's turnover rate has never been lower than 15 percent.
On top of those concerns are those of mere sample size. Drummond played just 60 games of his rookie season due to injury and generally played limited minutes when he did see the floor. That leaves a pretty meager sample from which to evaluate his NBA value in addition to the fact that we have yet to see teams care enough to tech against Drummond specifically.
Don't get me wrong: Drummond should be quite good and will help the Pistons a ton this season. But talking about Drummond as if he were an actualized player -- as opposed to a 20-year-old with around 1,200 NBA minutes under his belt -- is a bit presumptuous at this stage.
• Bill Barnwell has penned a piece of essential reading for sports fans of every ilk, thoroughly shaking down the imaginary construct of momentum in sports. In all, Barnwell glides through five compelling reasons why momentum isn't all that your regular broadcaster would have you believe. Read through, parse, and consider just how many random events we chalk up to momentum and similar bits of mysticism.
• Isolation offense has gotten a bad rap based on the inefficiency of its overuse, but in moderation is a deadly weapon of many of the league's best offenses. Dylan Murphy looks at the iso as it relates to Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks, in particular, to parse where and how Anthony should be left to his own devices.
• According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles, the Lakers will be among those teams sporting short-sleeved jerseys this season:
• Ethan Sherwood Strauss ruminates on a new NBA trope: The former player's son. It's not as if the offspring of former ballplayers is some new development, but their grouped trajectory and stylistic links do create some intrigue. I have a feeling some of Ethan's theories might fray if we start casting the net a bit wider as opposed to leaning on confirmation bias, but his is an interesting thought at the least.
• More on Drummond, as the 20-year-old center learned a hard lesson in challenging Pistons assistant coach -- and trick-shot artist -- Rasheed Wallace to a game of H-O-R-S-E (via Keith Langlois of Pistons.com; PBT):
“I played with him the other day – it wasn’t fun,” Drummond grinned after a Monday workout. What did coach Wallace throw at his prodigy?
“Everything. The little side corner shot with his feet against the out-of-bounds line. The shot from the track line (that runs behind the basket), over the hoop, made it in. And then the two-ball thing. He’s a natural. I don’t know why I did it to myself. I have no idea why I did it.”
• The Mavs are having a little Reservoir Dogs-inspired video editing fun with their press conference footage:
• Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders ran the gamut of topics in an interview with Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, including this bit about how he intends to use the D-League:
Q: How probable is it Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng spend some time in the D League?
A: I’m a proponent of minor leagues. I was there seven years and had 21 guys called up. It’s a good development league, it’s not a punishment league. Guys can get better and gain confidence. We’re going to try to utilize it. I don’t think we’ve used it very much here in the past. If we send somebody down, we’ll send somebody from our staff with them so they don’t feel we’ve forgotten about them. That’s the biggest thing: You don’t want anyone that goes there to feel they’ve been forgotten.
Now saying that, we might not have anyone go down there this year, but we are very open about it and we’re going to have a very good relationship with our Iowa team. I’ve talked with Glen. We’re going to entertain the opportunity a year or two down the road here of purchasing a hybrid NBDL team.
The "hybrid" model that Saunders references allows teams to own and operate the basketball side of a D-League franchise while leaving the business side of ownership to other parties.
• Get the story on both Ray McCallums: The Kings' second-round rookie point guard and the father and coach who helped get him to that level. • This is as thorough an assessment of the state of the NBA's team names as you're likely to find.