Okay, it's officially no longer just a "Detroit" thing to kick and scream for more Andre Drummond minutes. This week the writers at ESPN.com Insider took to their keyboards and punched out a few excited blurbs about the Pistons rookie center. One article talked about Drummond's elite ranking among other big men in the league. Another talked about how Drummond should be a front court reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. Here's the clips from both writers. (Note: ESPN Insider subscription required to view both articles)
Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus on Andre Drummond's effectiveness in short minute outings:
Last week, Drummond's surprising debut reached a peak. He averaged 22 minutes per night in three games, two of them Detroit wins as the Pistons continue to mount a midseason playoff push. Drummond averaged 22.7 points, 16.7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals per 40 minutes in those games, and shot 75 percent from the field. He committed one turnover in 67 minutes. Yes, the kid is limited on what he can do right at this point in his fledging career, but he's already at a point where he does almost nothing wrong.Over his last 10 games, Drummond has compiled 1.75 WARP (read about WARP here), ranking eighth in the league despite just 21.6 minutes per night. Every other player in the top 10 averaged at least 33 minutes. Drummond has been so good in his limited opportunities that he has now moved into the top 10 in our big man rankings for the season. All that really means at this point is that he has filled his role in Detroit's rotation about as well as it can be filled. We have no real idea what his numbers would look like if he were going against other teams' starters on a full-time basis. At this point, however, Pistons fans have to be awfully excited to find out.
Doolittle is right, Pistons fans are excited to see out how Drummond will stack up against other starting-five centers around the league. Based on Doolittle's "Big Man Barometer Rankings" Andre Drummond came in at no. 4 in last week's rankings. Posting a 0.879 winning percentage when he's on the floor for the Pistons. Drummond's story is becoming the only thing the national writers want to see running the court in the red, white and blue. When he finally does get the start, because there's no longer an "if" in this situation, Drummond will likely have the eyes of the national media on him.
Okay, more ESPN love for Drummond. When Tom Sunnergren was asked who should take the third front court Eastern Conference All-Star spot, he answered Andre Drummond:
Sunnergren: Andre Drummond. The Pistons are reportedly brooding over whether to try to win now or hazard a youth movement. The fact that they think these two ideas are in conflict tells you a lot about the state of the organization. In just 19.8 minutes a night, their rookie center is 11th in the NBA in PER and leads all qualifying players with .363 wins per 48 minutes.
For those not familiar with "PER" it means "player efficiency rating." Basically it's the sum of each player's positive stats with the negatives subtracted, then it returns a per-minute rating of the player's performance. (Read up on "PER" at Basketball Prospectus) Whether you're confused by that or not, having Drummond rank in 11th in the league in that statistic is an impressive accomplishment for a player who doesn't even average 20 minutes a game. For the most part this season, Drummond has been playing mistake-free basketball. The high "PER" ranking is a direct result of Drummond helping the Pistons more than he's hurt them.
While these are great arguments for Andre Drummond to start, they'll like fall on deaf ears when it comes to swaying Lawrence Frank and the Pistons coaching staff to start Drummond over Jason Maxiell. Frank is a coach that doesn't like to discuss lineup decisions with the media, so it's unlikely that he'll start now just because two writers at ESPN have compiled some impressive statistical measures. Right now the Pistons are worried about getting wins. While starting Drummond could potentially give the Pistons a boost into the playoffs, it would also be a tremendous risk as the Drummond-Monroe duo hasn't yet been figured out by the Pistons. Some teams make trades to boost their teams into the playoffs, the Pistons might be able create a boost with a lineup change.