I See Who Drummond Can Be.

There are things I think.

Actually, if I had to guess, I probably have more active and vivid opinions in my head on a daily basis than the typical person. Perhaps because this is how my brain has calibrated itself so that I can successfully offer a quality effort at my job – which is all about opinions. Hopefully, compelling and entertaining ones.

I view myself as someone who conceptualizes, is constantly willing innovate, a creator and a visionary. I’ll think and say what’s unthought or unpopular at the present time. Whether you view me that way or not, it’s no matter, those are the standards I hold myself to. If you require evidence though, I do have some professional testing to corroborate my opinions of myself. Just ask J

I’m not sure what percentage of things I think make it to the air. Most are probably irrelevant to the content you seek us to discuss. Sometimes I’ll tweet the thought. Sometimes I’ll just note it in my iPhone app and store for future use. Sometimes, as that thought hasn’t quite moved to the rear of my cerebral database, through further reading and researching I unintentionally develop something more complex about that once casual thought.

I’ve seen enough of Andre Drummond – I’ve seen parts or all of the Pistons games except the Boston and Sacramento games – to realize that if he doesn’t develop into anything more than Tyson Chandler, we should really be overcome with excitement.

It was possibly due to my thinking (sometimes my thoughts backfire, badly. A Henry Ford quote) that because Kevin Garnett and Kobe came to the league from high school, almost every kid with that talent should be that type of player after a couple seasons in the league. Not so. Chandler was part of the very unsuccessful post-Jordan rebuild in Chicago. Unless they’d landed another iconic superstar, almost anything following the 90s success of Jordan’s Bulls was going to be a failure. But the 00s’s Bulls teams with Chandler, Ron Mercer, Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall, Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry were BAD.  Out of the playoffs, 20 win bad. If I recall, it seemed like pro basketball was dead in Chicago. The building that once housed Jordan, probably was filled with the same empty seat apathy that’s settled comfortably at the Palace these days.

Then Derrick Rose showed up, and hope, playoffs and  sneaker commercials (albeit for the enemy brand) returned with him.

Back to Chandler though.

He’s one of the biggest reasons Dallas won the 2011 title. He defended the basket, and was part of the last group to deny Lebron a title. We may look back on that Dallas team and say “remember when Lebron was beatable?”

Chandler was last year’s NBA Defensive POY. Showing some of the oddities of people’s varying opinions, even though he was the DPOY, he was slotted on the NBA’s All Defensive second team. Whether he should’ve been the DPOY is not what I’m arguing here, just that Chandler is one of the best lane defenders in the league, and it got him on the Olympic team, depleted as it may have been (no Howard, no Bynum) for him to earn that nod.  

What else can I tell you about Chandler? He’s not a scorer, and the fact that he doesn’t have to be, keeps him insanely efficient. His offensive game is puts backs and dunks. Rhymes with Drummond if you sound it out phonetically! That’s the reason he’s shot 68% last year, 72% this year and 58% for a career. It’s hard to miss when your range is no more than a yardstick away from the rim. It’s an enormous strength in sports and life, to be acutely aware of your strengths and weaknesses. I suck as details. I like to delegate them. I excel at imagination, I keep that work for myself.

We’ve established Chandler as a winner, an efficient scorer and a very good if not great defensive player. He’s made himself a respectable free throw shooter, though not a good one, but he’s a fantastic rebounder – on the offensive glass (easy points!) as well.

This could all be Andre Drummond. One day. The answer to how soon, is mostly on Lawrence Frank and his staff.

Sure, I wouldn’t kvetch if he became an overwhelming and unstoppable physical force like Dwight Howard or Shaquille O’Neal, but I’ll temper my hopes from that level and ask that Drummond give the Pistons what Chandler has given his teams.

Through 16 games it appears that’s not an impractical request of Drummond. Especially considering in limited minutes, as a 19 year old, Drummond’s already doing much of what Chandler does. Rebound, disrupt shots in the lane, put back everything on the offensive glass you snare with lane’s inner circle.

Fun with the player comparison feature on Basketball Reference time!

There are many variables, the biggest being that the Pistons don’t have a superstar like ‘Melo who can steady the offense nightly, but Drummond is just slightly better statistically than Chandler per 36 minutes, which is a common way to normalize NBA stats, since that’s roughly what a good player in the league should average per night minutes-wise.

Can Drummond be Chandler? Yep. Will he be part of a dominate Pistons frontcourt? Eh, I haven’t thought that thought yet. After 16 games that’s premature even for my imaginative imagination.


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