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Drummond, Singler in top 10 of ESPN's rookie rankings

David Thorpe calls early play of Andre Drummond the biggest rookie surprise of the young NBA season.


For the past several years David Thorpe, a former athletic trainer and basketball analyst for Scouts Inc. has assessed each new season's crop of NBA rookies and ranked the top 50.

In his latest analysis he has several nice things to say about Detroit Pistons rookies Andre Drummond and Kyle Singer. The players rated fourth and seventh overall, respectively, in Thorpe's rankings.

The content is from ESPN Insider (subscription required) so I'll just excerpt a small piece of the info.

As many Pistons fans can relate Thorpe has been pleasantly surprised by Drummond's early progress after he seemed like a long-term project that would take several years to develop.

In calling Drummond the biggest surprise player coming out of college, Thorpe tries to explain why a player with iffy stats is able to play so effectively:

Cut to Detroit, though, and we see him playing with energy and athleticism on almost every play. That part of the game is easier for him now in part because the floor is spaced so much better in the NBA. The game is wider now, and his teammates are pros, not teenagers. So even though the Pistons are a bad team, they still understand the importance of spacing and playing under control.

The games are also officiated tighter in the NBA, meaning Drummond can't be pushed around the same way he was in college. It's a hard concept for fans to digest, but the college game is more physical than the pro game because it is allowed to be. The men in the NBA are stronger, naturally, but the game is cleaner, which allows a player like Drummond, who has not developed "man strength" yet, to make plays inside the paint and above the rim more easily now than before.

In other words, he has been good and we should expect him to get much, much better.

In discussing Singler, Thorpe uses familiar words like "solid," "steady" and "excellent shot selection."

Detroit might be the league's worst team right now, but the Pistons have to be happy with the play of Singler. His play thus far screams "steady" and, since he has significant upside as a shooter, he looks to have a real chance at being a solid rotation player. He leads all rookies in true shooting percentage (.686) thanks to excellent shot selection. Singler is going to be part of the solution in Detroit, not part of the problem.

Kim English ranks 22nd in this year's list. Last year, Brandon Knight finished No. 12, Greg Monroe finished third in 2010 and in 2009 Jonas Jerebko finished No. 12 an Austin Daye finished No. 29.