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ESPN.com Compares Andre Drummond to Dwight Howard, Shaq

February 1st, 2013 at 5:38 PM
By Phil Fattore

There was an Andre Drummond overload on ESPN.com today. Using Tuesday night's 18-point, 18-rebound double double as the their starting point, praises were sung about Andre Drummond that compared him to some of the best to ever play the center position. While reading through the articles comparing Drummond to the likes of Dwight Howard, thinking back on the Drummond-Howard article Pistons 101 posted, more than a few "I told you so" moments occurred. (Read our article, "Andre Drummond Tugs on Dwight Howard's Superman Cape") Regardless, Pistons 101 sifted through the articles for the best excerpts.

 Note: ESPN Insider needed to read articles
When we dig just below the surface, we can see the [Andre Drummond's] numbers suggest the NBA's next great center may be disguised as a role player for a lottery team. In fact, Drummond's first 46 games have put him in the conversation with Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal…just one center in NBA history who has been as instantly productive as Drummond at a similar age. No, it's not Dwight Howard, whom [Tom] Haberstroh rightly compared to Drummond; it took Howard until his third season to push his PER above 20. Instead, Drummond might be most similar to Shaquille O'Neal as a rookie.
 
For those of you who read over our article comparing Andre Drummond to Dwight Howard, the agreement we have with Pelton's analysis doesn't need to be explained. While the comparison to Shaq is based on PER and therefore may not allow the 'purist' to buy in, the Drummond to Howard comparison is one that doesn't need PER. Drummond's rookie averages aren't where Howard's were, but considering that Drummond barely averages 20 minutes per game compared to the 32.6 minutes Howard averaged as a rookie, the comparison between the two shows that Drummond might be better. 
 
 
Pelton's Drummond to Shaq comparison should be enough to rile up more than a few Pistons fans, especially the ones already screaming for Lawrence Frank to start Drummond. Still, Drummond does need to improve in certain areas. Today in David Thorpe's article on Andre Drummond (yes, ESPN.com had two Drummond articles today) there were some thoughts as to what Drummond needs to improve on. 
 
 
Drummond has drawn comparisons to Howard, who has dominated thanks to the same formula that made O'Neal into a legend: (1) incredible agility with a huge body; (2) great power and balance inside; and (3) the disposition to dominate the paint.
 
Drummond has the first box checked off. And he has shown flashes of the other two…Drummond is no longer seen as a risk of a prospect, but he needs to make progress in those latter two areas to be the best player he can be.
 
As Thorpe point out when talking about the "disposition to dominate the paint," Drummond doesn't seem to demand the ball enough when on the block. That is, in the rare moments when he actually posts up. There needs to be the development of a post move, an array of low block moves could make Drummond the most dominate big man in the league, but developing even a single low block move by the end of the season would be a great start. Dwight Howard faced this same problem early in his career, that's why the Orlando Magic hired Patrick Ewing as his personal 'big man' coach.  
 
The "balance inside" is about Drummond's decision making after snatching an offensive rebound out of the air. Thorpe points out, and anyone who's watched Drummond would agree, Drummond doesn't go up strong enough after grabbing the offensive board for a put back. Drummond is never seen giving a hard pump fake before exploding into a dunk, shaking off anyone swiping at the ball in the process. Instead we've seen Drummond go back up with a layup that results in Drummond getting fouled and the shot missing. Leaving Drummond at the line for what is most of the time a missed free throw. 
 
Anyone who has watched Drummond beyond his increasingly frequent appearances on Sportscenter's Top Plays should appreciate what Thorpe and Pelton are saying. Drummond needs to improve the way he scores, that's the "balance inside" and "disposition to dominate the paint" Thorpe is referencing. If Drummond can do those things then he'll be that much closer to becoming the next Shaq, as Kevin Pelton argued.
 
 
 
Tags: Andre Drummond, Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, Dwight Howard, NBA

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