Andre Drummond Earns High Honor of All-Star Game Selection

Nov 14, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 101-96. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond (0) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers won 101-96. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond was named as an NBA All-Star Game reserve on Thursday night. Drummond has certainly earned the achievement awarded by NBA coaches.

Andre Drummond will represent the Detroit Pistons at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Toronto next weekend. Drummond truly earned the high honor, and it all started with a great start to the season.

Early this season it was evident that Drummond was becoming a superstar and that the Pistons were a legitimate playoff threat. He had one of the fastest starts among big men, and joined some pretty elite company while doing it.

He became the first player since Moses Malone in 1983 to score 90 points and grab 90 rebounds in his first five games, according to Basketball Insider‘s Alex Kennedy. He is one of three players to have three 20-20 games in his first six games, joining the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.

Drummon currently leads the NBA in every rebounding category. He averages 15.2 rebounds per game and has a 24.3 rebounding percentage. Breaking it down further, he’s a monster on both ends of the glass. He has a 33.0 defensive rebounding percentage and a 16.3 offensive rebounding percentage.

His success on the boards can be attributed to the 4-1 style offense that head coach Stan Van Gundy runs. Keeping power forward Ersan Ilyasova on the perimeter allows Drummond to roam the paint and battle for offensive rebounds, not to mention that Drummond’s rebounding ability is already very good due to his strength and size.

Drummond has become a focal point of the Pistons’ offense, and for good reason. He is second in shots per game with 14.0 per. He is shooting 51.8 percent and has room to grow. Drummond is currently third among NBA centers in scoring at 17.3 points per game (which isn’t accounting for DeMarcus Cousins, who has been playing at power forward). He has been briefly overtaken by rookie Jahlil Okafor, who averages 17.4 points per game.

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Basketball has a second half of the court, and Drummond excels there too. Defensively, Drummond has a steal in 42 of his 46 games this season. He also has a block in 36 of his 46 contests. He’s very good on the defensive end with 1.7 steals and 1.4 blocks per game.

At 22 years old, Drummond has already entered the discussion of whether he is elite. His similarity scores match up with two Hall of Famers, Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning. His career is certainly off to a good start being mentioned in the same sentence with Mutombo and Mourning.

Like every player, Drummond has room to grow and improve his game. Most notably, Drummond is a terrible free throw shooter. He is shooting a career-worst 35.5 percent from the not-so-charitable stripe. In fact, Drummond now holds the record for most missed free throw attempts in a NBA game with 23, according to ESPN, thanks to his 13-for-36 performance against the Houston Rockets.

Drummond may be turning it around, however. He went 7-for-12 (58.3 percent) from the free throw line on Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. While it doesn’t look great on paper, Drummond was clutch from the line after connecting on three straight free throw attempts down the stretch. That could certainly be enough to end the “Hack-A-Dre” strategy, which the NBA should curb anyway.

Drummond also needs to improve his low-post game. A lot of his points are coming on alley-oops or are a result of great position following an offensive rebound.

He has shown that he has the ability to back down a defender and hit him with a hook shot, but he needs to be able to go to it consistently. He has hit the hook shot with his right hand pretty well, but he looks uncomfortable when he goes with his off (left) hand.

Drummond was certainly deserving of his All-Star Game selection. In fact, he finished fourth in voting for the Eastern Conference frontcourt and just missed a starting spot. New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony received a late push from voters to edge out Drummond as the East’s third starter.

The NBA’s All-Star Game can be a snooze fest for those that would rather watch a competitive game, like the MLB’s All-Star Game that determines home field advantage in the World Series. But it’s great to see that a young player values being selected to the All-Star Game. Perhaps it meant more to Drummond coming from the coaches instead of the fans.

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Regardless, it’s important to recognize that Drummond has become one of the game’s best centers and he is here to stay. This is the first of what will likely be many, well-deserved awards and honors that Drummond receives over his NBA career.