Andre Drummond is ready to take ownership of the Detroit Pistons.
No matter what the question asked of him during Pistons media day Monday, Drummond circled back to one core principle -- leadership. It wasn't gold medals, better free-throw shooting, pick-and-roll defense or all-star appearances. It was leadership.
Asked about his experience playing for Team USA? Drummond says it will make him a better leader.
Asked what he learned from the coaches? Leadership.
Asked what he he needs to do to grow his game? Become a more vocal leader.
"I just think it's time," Drummond said. "I think it's time for me to step up and take that role."
So is this Andre's team?
"Absolutely," according to Drummond. "Our coaches can't win it. Our fans can't win it. It comes down to us and what we want to do. I think it's time for us to take responsibility."
The team couldn't ask for much more from their third-year player out of UConn. But as I wrote previously, the true leader of the Pistons is and needs to be Stan Van Gundy. Van Gundy needs to make the pieces fit, trade the pieces that don't, put players in a position to succeed, hold them accountable and set up the organization for long-term success.
But he also needs a partner on the floor. And if it truly is Drummond then he presumably couldn't be more pleased. He built his team around a dominant big man in Dwight Howard in Orlando, and you couldn't argue with the impact Howard had on the floor, especially defensively. But where Howard never seemed quite as comfortable was with taking ownership. Drummond seems happy to put that on his shoulders.
Van Gundy has made it clear that he believes Drummond is a dominant defensive force, pointing out that Drummond finished 10th in blocks last year, and he said Dre will only get better with time.
Like in Orlando, this team will be built around what Drummond brings offensively and defensively. Nowhere was this more apparent than in what the Pistons did in free agency and Drummond couldn't be happier with the offseason additions.
"Stan in the front office did a great job of bringing in shooters. What do we have, three, four guys that shot over 40 percent from 3? So that really opens up the paint for Josh, Greg and myself."
But he said he's most excited for the addition of Van Gundy himself. A welcome change from the constant upheaval of having three coaches in two years.
"We have the right group of guys to do it," Drummond said. "I just think we need a steady coaching staff. ... We picked up an excellent coach who I'm sure will be with us for a long time."