Lawrence Frank made the above promise before Wednesday's game in Toronto -- and after three games, Andre Drummond has answered the call.
Drummond was his typically solid self on Wednesday against the Raptors (eight boards, six points, one block in 20 minutes) before exploding in Friday's 100-68 dismantling of the Wizards, setting career-high marks with 14 rebounds and five blocks while scoring 11 points in 21 minutes.
In Saturday's encore in D.C., Drummond once again bullied the Wiz in the paint, grabbing 11 more rebounds with another block in 25 minutes. (The one stain on his night? He finished with just four points with a wholly uncharacteristic 2-for-8 shooting. But since the Pistons won 96-87 while picking up just their third road win of the year, we'll let that slide.)
Not surprisingly, Drummond was the topic of conversation before Saturday's game, with Frank discussing the young big man extensively in his pregame meeting with reporters. SB Nation's Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN), covering the game for Bullets Forever, graciously passed along Frank's comments.
Were I not so lazy and out of practice, I might have attempted to spin these into a longer post, supporting or refuting points while spinning a longer narrative. Instead, I'm just pasting them below in one big quote dump. Enjoy.
On Drummond's learning curve:
"I think he's getting what he deserves, and if he continues to progress as he is, he's going to get more [playing time]. There's a development curve, the curve for all rookies. There's a lot to learn in this league. The key is, it's not the mistakes you make, it's how you react to them.
"Last night was a prime example. He wasn't perfect from a coverage standpoint -- not that any of our guys were -- but his ability to then make up for it, we don't have a lot of guys who can do that. That speaks to his effort, his athleticism, his speed, his quickness, his agility. As long as you can see that, you can live with the mistakes. You just want to teach him to get better, because ultimately, to become the highest-level player, not only do you need to have athleticism, but you need to have proper technique, know-how, understanding tendencies. That will come over time, because he's a real joy and positive spirit to coach."
On Drummond's gaudy stats:
"Look, there's credence to the numbers. There's certain things the numbers don't tell you that you really have to look deeper. It just comes down to how different units are operating, and sometimes, what may benefit us at one end may be a detriment on the other end. Sometimes, there may be some matchups that are to our favor, sometimes not to our favor.
"The thing with the PER and that stuff is they're projections. When those minutes are extended, you could project what those numbers are going to be, but it's very hard to sustain those numbers consistently if you're playing those mintues. It's not rotisserie basketball. It doesn't work quite like that. There are a lot of variables to that. Plus, he might be playing against different guys.
"But with Andre, like I said, we really like the direction he's headed. He's going to continue to move [up]. If he continues to work like he has, we'll be able to see if those projected numbers can become reality."
On earning more minutes:
"There's a lot that goes into it, and I always go back to this. When we drafted Andre, we had a very good feel for how we wanted to pace him along. He's doing some really good things. We're really, really proud of him. At the same time, the experience, the know-how with it is, we want to understand how to build this up.
"It's great that he's exceeding expectations. What other way would you want it? Just to build this along, and as long as he continues to do his part -- which he has been doing, I don't have a lot of negative to say about Andre. He's doing his part, he's a great spirit and he's a great character -- his minutes will continue to go up. He's very, very productive. There's a lot of other things we have to work on, not just with him, but how, the more he plays, how it all fits together with the other guys. The productivity on both ends."
On Drummond's makeup:
"Based on what we saw when we drafted him, based on what we saw in the summer league and preseason, I just think he keeps on getting better and better. A lot of the people prior to the draft process in terms of what they said about him have been unfounded. I would say from that standpoint, he has [surprised me].
"Plus, the one thing you never know until you coach a guy, you don't know how he's going to respond to both the good and the bad. With him, the thing that's been most impressive is his positive, positive spirit and character. When you're a really talented guy and you're a "we" guy, you have a very, very bright future. You can be really talented and be more of a self-serving "me" guy, but those guys don't always make it. It's got to be the perfect situation for them. With Andre, because of his makeup, that's why we have such high hopes for him."
Oh, hey there. I don't have any more quotes, but while I have your attention, I figured I'd just shoehorn in a mention of this feature I enjoyed from Hardwood Paroxysm's James Herbert about the bad rap Drummond faced coming out of college:
There are no questions about his attitude coming from the people closest to him, and those who were yelling about his supposed lack of love of the game are quiet these days. "What’s there not to love?" says Drummond. "You’re playing the game that you love. Night in and night out, it’s a passion game."
It's a good piece -- check it out.