Not only is Andre Drummond's back injury keeping him out 4-6 weeks, but it's also keeping the rookie away from 2013 the All-Star Weekend. Andre Drummond will not be participating in the Rising Stars Challenge on the Friday night of the NBA's All-Star weekend. In the game where the NBA's top rookies and sophomores are showcased, Drummond was slotted to play on the Shaquille O'Neal coached "Team Shaq." The open roster spot that Drummond's injury created has been given to Orlando Magic rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson.
It's unfortunate that the Piston rookie will be missing out on the national exposure, and even more unfortunate that those in the media won't be able to sink their teeth into the "Shaq Coaches Future Shaq" headlines that the Rising Stars Challenge would surely yield. Outside of missing All-Star weekend, there was another disappointing revelation that the Drummond injury brought to light. According to Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, Andre Drummond was slotted to start against the Brooklyn Nets if he hadn't suffered the injury against the Lakers on the Sunday prior. Goodwill tweeted out the below comments earlier today:
@vgoodwill: If Drummond had not gotten hurt against the Lakers, he would've started against the Nets the following Wednesday
It's important to note that the tweets of a beat writer aren't always gospel. Still, as Vincent Goodwill spends nearly every waking moment of the NBA season around the Pistons organization it's likely that his comments are valid.
The Laker game was a monster game for Drummond. As Drummond's play was one of the major reasons that the Pistons were even in the game during the final moments, the possibility that the coaching staff was planning on rewarding Drummond with a start should stir a renewed sense of confidence in the coaching staff. It's not a knock against Maxiell, but starting Drummond over him would have been the correct (possibly overdue) move.
After reading Goodwill's comments, the question that every Pistons fan should be asking is whether or not this means Drummond will be inserted into the starting lineup once he returns from his injury. Barring a rally-cry winning streak across February and March, the Pistons will likely be out of playoff contention when Drummond is cleared to play again. Drummond will need a game or two to get readjusted to the NBA speed, but the Pistons should start him the minute he's ready. With no playoffs on the line, what would they have to lose?
Drummond's injury also hurts the progress of a rebuilding team trying to figure out whether or not Jose Calderon, the point guard they traded for and hope to re-sign at the end of the season, is compatible with each of the young players Dumars has collected. (Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond). Calderon appears to be meshing well with Monroe, and there's noted progress with Brandon Knight over Calderon's first four games. That said, Calderon's chemistry with Drummond is non-existent as the rookie's injury has prevented any opportunity for significant court time.
If there's any reason for the Pistons to have a sense of urgency to start Drummond, it's that they need to see Drummond working within the new starting lineup lead by Calderon. If Drummond is healthy and there's no chance of him re-aggravating the back injury, the Pistons need to start Drummond once he returns.
Tags: Andre Drummond, Basketball, Detroit, Detroit Pistons, NBA
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