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NBA links: Andre Drummond will be an All-Star; the Miami Heat's Hassan Whiteside problem; and a Jason Maxiell in China update

Thursday links!

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Detroit Pistons' Andre Drummond Will Be An All-Star in 2015-16 -- Rant Sports

A shoo-in for sure, maybe even as a starter.  Drummond in the All-Star game surely means the Pistons are solidly competing for a playoff spot.  Unless, of course, debacles like the Indiana game happen a ton more.

Andre Drummond's breakout season is here -- DBB

If you skipped over this yesterday then it's a must read for today.  I'm here to help.

Ladies and gents, the Detroit Pistons have a franchise player, and he is looking more like a star Superstar every day.  As in, perennial All-Star.

The Big Penguin put up 25 points and 29 (!) rebounds, and frankly looked unstoppable against an overmatched Indiana Pacers front court.

While you may be tempted to lament the turnovers, missed shots, horrific bench and (gasp!) Ghost of Rodney Stuckey... those details will all be forgotten in time.

What won't be forgotten is the emergence of Andre Drummond, who is most certainly making The Leap.

Jason Maxiell out and about in China

Jason Maxiell, playing for the Tianjin Steel of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), yesterday scored 16 points on 8/16 shooting and corralled 8 rebounds in 30 minutes (the CBA has a rule where a team's two foreign imports can't play together in the fourth quarter..). Ex-76er Casper Ware played mostly all of Tianjin's fourth quarter minutes.

Maxiell scored most of his buckets via nifty post moves and scored others simply by using his Maxiell-like force, as he operates much easier in the post against the generally less hefty Chinese players. However, a good portion of the time he also battled the 270 pound Uruguayan Esteban Bautista, pictured below as well. Bautista played some years ago with the Atlanta Hawks for a total of 70 games in two seasons.

Yes, that's enough about Maxiell and the CBA.  I'll be sure to let you all know if Maxiell has a super huge game or eats any Chinese babies.

(Photo credit:

The Miami Heat have an Hassan Whiteside problem -- Hardwood Paroxysm

As Chris Barnewall writes, Whiteside can be a huge difference maker just as he was against the Hawks on Tuesday with 23 points (only one missed field goal), 14 rebounds and four blocks.  Though, it seems the Heat might have to gamble some with Whiteside going forward due to matching a certain style not conducive to his game much...

When Whiteside is on his game there are few out there that can match his production. He's a double-double machine that only needed 48 games last season to rack up 482 rebounds. He averaged 11.8 points, 10 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game which is pretty impressive for a guy that had been out of the league for two years to that point. He left the league with no recognizable NBA skills and came back as a rim protector right when that skill is at peak value.

Whiteside's biggest problem on the defensive end right now is that he hunts for blocks. A good rim protector can strike fear into an offense with the possibility of being rejected at the rim, but a great one doesn't need to hunt for these highlight moments. If anything, the real anchor of the Miami defense is still Chris Bosh.

If he was averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a night that would be one thing, but right now he's not good enough to justify Miami changing the style to one that better fits him. This is a team designed around Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and Goran Dragic. If Miami wants to play a style that fits them, but doesn't fit Whiteside, then they have a Hassan Whiteside problem.

The Timberwolves are so much fun -- Slate

I won't deny their fun-ness, but just imagine this team if Ricky Rubio was at least pretty good.

But the future will largely depend on Wiggins and Towns, upon whose immense and still-developing talents the team's fortunes will either soar or be scuttled. After arriving from a trade with the Cavs last season, Wiggins won Rookie of the Year and seemed to only get better as the season progressed, averaging 20 points per game after the All-Star break and slightly more than 23 per game in the season's final month. Wiggins is a monstrously gifted defender who's often been compared to Scottie Pippen. But even more frightening for opposing players are sequences like this block-to-drive-to-dunk end-to-end play that carry distinct shades of Pippen's more-famous teammate.

Wherever you are in this world, try to be a little better than you were yesterday.

On to the comments we go!