Maybe instead of asking just how good Andre Drummond will be, people should start asking just how good the 20-year-old center is right now. After a 24-point, 19 rebound, three block, two steal performance in leading his Pistons to a 105-98 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, the answer might just be All-Star.
Drummond was everywhere against a Bucks frontline that played a bruising, imposing style of defense. He ran the floor on the break, he cut to the basket, he had incredible touch on put-backs. He isn't just the best member of the Pistons, he's one of the best players in the Eastern Conference.
And his young running mate, Greg Monroe, also had quite an incredible game. After struggling with his shot early, (he started 2-7), Moose finished with 18 points, 17 rebounds, two blocks and three assists.
What Stood Out:
After a thrilling victory over the Miami Heat the night before, and travel delays that led to an arrival in Milwaukee at 6 a.m. Detroit time, the Pistons looked like they might give one away to the lowly Bucks in the second quarter. Milwaukee was blocking everything, Detroit was sloppy with the ball, Bucks stretch big man Ersan Ilyasoyva was lighting it up and a well-executed zone absolutely stymied the Pistons en route to getting outscored in the frame 31-19 and staring at a 50-45 deficit.
But Detroit came out strong in the third quarter, put their feet on the gas pedal and used a 16-0 run to put the game out of reach. The team withstood the Bucks' best punch on the road and came away with their first three-game win streak of the season.
Who Stood Out:
Andre Drummond. Specifically, Andre Drummond's free-throw shooting. He was 8-of-14 on the night, and when Milwaukee first tried the hack-a-Dre (or bang-the-Drum?) strategy, Andre calmly knocked down both free throws. Drummond took his time between each shot, didn't rush anything and had his best outing at the charity stripe ever.
- It was not a perfect homecoming for Brandon Jennings, who returned to the Bradley Center for the first time as a former Buck. He was booed mercilessly in the first half and was more careless with the ball than he has been in weeks. He settled down in the second half when the boos quieted and finished with 17 points, 11 assists, six turnovers and three steals.
- The results were even worse for Josh Smith. He had another collection of questionable shots (he had a team-high 19), including six three-pointers (he connected on one).
- Another solid game from Kyle Singler, who struggled mightily to begin the year. He's finally looking like someone who can be a solid contributor as a reserve forward. He finished 5-of-6 and ended the night with 15 points.
- But Singler's biggest basket might have been his last. Detroit was up 89-75 when Milwaukee went on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to six. Singler made a smart cut, Jennings found him in the lane and Kyle absorbed contact from three players and still made the basket while also hitting his free throw.
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had only eight points, but he played terrific defense all night. He was a big reason the Pistons were able to win tonight.
- Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
- Former Piston Brandon Knight looked like his normal not-quite-a-point-guard self. He finished with 12 points, three assists and a turnover, but struggled to run the offense and made several questionable decisions.
- Other former Piston Khris Middleton really made me regret that he's no longer in the red, white and blue. His shooting stroke was perfect, he made some great decisions with the ball, worked to get open all night and played solid D. He was 4-of-5 from deep and had 14 points and four rebounds.
- The Pistons won despite shooting 38.4 percent. The Bucks are just that bad right now.
- Lastly, Giannis Antetokounmpo is fun to watch.