The Detroit Pistons latest building block is a tantalizing if polarizing figure. Andre Drummond is a beast. A brahma bull, if you will. At 6-foot-10 and 270 pounds he has the size, strength and athleticism to be a dominant big man in the NBA -- a truly rare commodity.
But the bust factor remains unnervingly high. At 19 years and with only one year of lackluster performance in college ball and a respectable showing in Orlando Summer League under his belt, I think it is safe to say that Drummond has showed his age. Inconsistency has been a hallmark. Effort isn't always there. Mental lapses and flashes of raw talent have been on full display
Some have wondered why a team that was so quick to anoint Brandon Knight the starting point guard immediately upon drafting him seems to be so cautious with its young center. Even though Drummond looked like he belonged on the floor in the watered down summer league and just because he fills the team's biggest need doesn't mean he is ready to log heavy minutes.
History is rife with big men and few contribute immediately. So is he going to be the next Dwight Howard or the next Darko Milicic. Only time will tell but if the past 20 years is any indication we won't be close to finding out this year and patience will definitely be a must.
After the jump we'll break down 20 years of teenage big men in the NBA in an attempt to get a better gauge on what we should expect from Drummond in his rookie year.
In the past 20 years only 31 players have been drafted that were teenagers that stand 6-10 or taller as Drummond does. And the numbers aren't pretty. Sure you have a terrific top-3: Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett. After that, though things get ugly quickly. It runs the gamut from your Darko Milicics, Johnathan Benders, Anthony Randolphs, Robert Swifts and your Eddy Currys. You also have a lot of overseas players that teams took a flyer on and never amounted to anything.
But lets look at the per game averages in their totality and then start breaking them down further.
|Mean Player||Median Player|
As you can see, if Andre Drummond were to fall right smack in the middle of the pack in the past 20 years he would average just 2.49 points per game, 2.69 rebounds and .5 blocks. The averages are slightly higher thanks to the dominance of the aforementioned three of Howard, Garnett and Bosh.
But I don't think anybody really anticipates Drummond having the immediate impact of those three players and they make these paltry looking numbers look even better than they are. What happens when we eliminate those three players and just examine the remaining, non-Hall-of-Fame bound 28?
|Mean Player||Median Player|
Eliminating just those three players cuts the average Win Shares in half and every other category suffers as expected. But perhaps this still isn't the right list of players to look at. Just because Drummond isn't going to perform like Dwight Howard doesn't mean he is going to perform like Maciej Lampe or Nikoloz Tskitishvili. Lets keep Howard, Garnett and Bosh out of the equation but then take the remaining top 10. That's a comfortable middle ground that accounts for draft status, expectations while also tempering the upside a bit.
Lets look at that esteemed group:
As you can see when your results are bookended by a best-case scenario of the so-far unspectacular (but still developing) Derrick Favors and one of the most prolific busts in draft history in Kwame Brown it starts to put things into perspective for you. And frankly, if Drummond matched or event slightly bettered the production of Favors I would be one happy Pistons fan.
But let's be realistic.
No, Andre Drummond will not propel the Pistons into the playoffs. No, expecting a rookie of the year type season out of him is optimistic beyond reason and no, he might not even average 20 minutes per game much less start. Lets take this top 10 and average it out and pretend that is the final line for Andre Drummond's first season in Detroit.
1.6 Win Shares, less than 6 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block per game. So what does this all mean? Patience, everyone. Patience.
UPDATE: I just couldn't leave well enough alone. Spurred on by AndrewDM I decided to pick through the list and come up with all lottery picks in the past 20 years that were 6-foot-10 and played their rookie seasons as teenagers.
The total is 17 players and while it adds the "Big 3" of Howard, Bosh and Garnett it also includes the "Very LIttle 4" of Swift, Bender, Milicic and Tskitishvili -- four players with Zero to negative WS ratings. Because of this it doesn't change the averages much. But for the curious among us, here we go: