Consistency key to unlocking the rest of Drummond's potential
With a breakout season underway, Andre Drummond has shown the League what Pistons fans had been excited about since his selection in the 2012 NBA Draft. The big man has kicked off his 2016 season with pundits likening him to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and has had Kobe Bryant and Doc Rivers heap praise on his herculean numbers so far. However, if you look past the games where the UCONN product dominated in the paint, the historic performances and the back-to-back Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards, you can start to see the flip side of the coin the Pistons center been dealing with - inconsistency. Per The Detroit News' Rod Beard:
"I thought he was a guy with great athletic ability and a very good rebounder who had a long way to go offensively and was very up and down at that point," Van Gundy said. "He was just turning 21 when I came so it wasn't that surprising. But he was a very inconsistent guy. You'd see games on film where you'd say, ‘Wow!' but then you'd have other games where you'd say, ‘Where is he?' "
While Drummond has only had one game this season where he has missed out on a double double, the 22 year old is still averaging a stunning 18.4 points and 17.8 boards a game - a giant step above his 12/12 career average, and a definite step towards unlocking his full potential. Andre struggled with consistency early in his career, but the building blocks to overcome them have always been there, Stan Van Gundy's coaching plan and personnel decisions - namely hiring David Hopla - have helped the young pivot emerge into an NBA star long before entering his prime.
"He's just a baby in this league but that's what makes everything so exciting," said Pistons reserve center Joel Anthony, who started his nine-year career with Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning with the Miami Heat. "He's so young and looking at him, you see everything he's doing, and when he's 25 or 26, he'll figure it out. He's just scratching the surface."
Cavaliers' 2012 Draft decision coming back to bite them
The 2012 draft class was sneaky good as Bram Kincheloe pointed out earlier this week, but certain moves haven't panned out for multiple teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, who opted to draft Dion Waiters fourth overall despite Andre Drummond still being available - a decision Ohio.com's Jason Lloyd says has been haunting the Cavs' front office:
Watching Drummond beat the Cavs evoked memories of the 2012 draft. His big night Tuesday was just another installment in his remarkable breakout season - he's now averaging 19.1 points and 18.9 rebounds. He could be putting up those numbers for the Cavs, who passed on him with the fourth pick in the 2012 draft. They weren't alone. Eight teams passed on Drummond that spring, which in hindsight seems ridiculous. Such is life in the drafting world, where the amount of research, logic and film study sometimes doesn't matter - guys still hit, miss and surprise all the time.
The Cavs were scared off by questions about Drummond's work ethic, attitude and motor, and again on this they were not alone. Plenty of other teams had the same concerns, which is why Drummond fell so far. I remember standing in a ballroom in a Chicago hotel questioning his desire three years ago. I told him Tuesday I was one of the guys asking those questions and he still doesn't know why teams felt that way.
"Still to this day I don't have the answer to that," Drummond said. "I don't know who started that or how it came about, but I'm pretty sure they're punching themselves now."
Dion Waiters never meshed with the rest of his teammates in Cleveland and was often seen as one of the main locker room disruptions on the team, which led to the Cavs trading the shooting guard to the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, where he is still trying to make a name for himself. Drummond on the other hand...
Brandon Jennings could make season debut around Christmas
We at DBB already know that Santa exists after extreme astronaut Josh Smith was sent packing during the holiday season last year, but there could be more reason to cheer with Brandon Jennings reportedly on-track to hit the court around Christmas time. Swag has been going through full contact training for the first time since rupturing his Achilles last January and is going through the process of regaining some of his lost agility and quickness, per MLive's David Mayo:
"As I told him today, what's not back right now is his quickness," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It's going to take some time. Being out and being able to do stuff is one thing, and being able to do it at a speed that you can really do is another. That's it, defensively, too, trying to move your feet and have the quickness to keep people in front of you, it's a little bit different. It's good for all of those guys to get to play some but it's really good for him," Van Gundy said. "And when he's allowed to, then this after-practice work will start going full-court."
Detroit has lacked ball movement and swag so far this season, and it just so happens those are two of Jennings' specialities. With both Spencer Dinwiddie and Steve Blake having some consistency issues on the court, perhaps the arrival of Brandon may be able to steady the Pistons' second unit.
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