Yes, Andre Drummond's offensive game is getting better

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

So, over the last few days, I've found that the question of whether or not Andre Drummond has improved on the offensive end is a surprisingly contentious issue. In one corner are the efficiency purists, who note that his TS% has declined from approximately .600 in 2013-2014 to approximately .500 in 2015-2016, and thereby conclude that he is getting worse offensively.

On the other hand, you have people who argue that his TS% decline is a function of a) the explosion of hack-a-Dre this season, and b) his expanded offensive responsibilities (or demands, depending on your opinion of whether his ego or SVG's gameplan is in the driver's seat). The people from this school of thought argue that he is actually getting better offensively, despite the declining TS%.

So, who's right? Well, I was content to let sleeping dogs lie, but when the efficiency purists dragged out the "pointz" card, well...shit was on.

And so I made a spreadsheet.

Below, you'll see a comparison of relevant stats for Andre's 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons (note: I used 2014-2015 as the comparison year because it's the most recent, but it should be noted that his .600 TS% year, in 2013-2014, was even more skewed towards dunks and shots from 0-3 feet than 2014-2015; hence, a comparison to his .600 TS% year would yield even more dramatic changes than the ones shown below). All stats from Basketball Reference.

The trends are extremely clear: in 2015-2016, Andre has improved his FG% on hook shots, jumpers, and layups. He has improved his FG% at the rim, from 3-10 feet, and from 10-16 feet. And most importantly for this debate - he's making more of all of these shots per game. Look at the numbers for jump shots: his FG% has gone up 0.15, which is substantial, and he's making nearly 200% more per game. Improving FG% and increased makes per game certainly suggests an improving offensive game.

But it goes beyond that: he's doing more of this work by himself. The % of his FGs that are assisted has dropped across the board, most notably for layups and hook shots. Higher FG%, more makes per game, while doing more of the work himself - that certainly looks like an improving offensive game.

So, to me, these numbers paint a pretty clear picture. Andre is dunking the ball much less, and scoring from a more diverse set of shots and distances, than he has in the past - and he's relying less on being set up by his teammates. Despite this, his FG% has increased for all shot types but dunks, and has increased across all relevant distances. This, to me, indicates an expanding and improving offensive game.

Now, it's still very much possible to debate whether or not this is a good strategy for the team. Perhaps Andre is best used dunking, and other players should be using those possessions that he's using to shoot his hooks and jumpers. That, however, is a different discussion than whether or not he's improving. In that regard, I think that the numbers speak for themselves.

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