Andre Drummond is 22 years old. He is leading the NBA in rebounding. He is a top-40 scorer, top five for centers. He is top 20 in steals, best among centers. He is only in his fourth season.
He is also only scratching the surface of his potential. And it's up to Stan Van Gundy to make sure Drummond reaches it.
Drummond will be signing a maximum contract this offseason. Players with his size, rebounding prowess and potential sign max deals. Just look at DeAndre Jordan. He'll be worth it, too. But he could be worth so much more.
Jordan vs. Drummond is an interesting comparison. It's a matter of efficiency vs. impact. Jordan leads all centers playing over 30 minutes per game with a true shooting percentage of 62.7 percent. Drummond is dead last on that list at 49.6 percent.
Jordan is so efficient because he rarely gets his number called. He's a rim runner and put-backer. Nothing wrong with that. He only averages 6.1 field goal attempts per game. Drummond more than doubles that with 14.0 attempts per game and so his 51.8 percent shooting is understandable.
Jordan has taken 267 shots this year. More than half of those shots (144) have been dunks. He is shooting 91 percent on those shots. Another 94 shots have been layups. He's only shooting 52 percent on those. However, that means 238 of his 267 shots, or 89 percent of them, are either dunks or layups. His coach knows his strengths and is playing him to those strengths.
Drummond's numbers look very different. Drummond has taken 643 shots this year. Only 91 of those have been dunks. That is only 14 percent of his offense. 296 of his shots are layups. Between dunks and layups, that accounts for just over half of his offense - 387 shots or 60 percent. Now the scary part: Drummond has taken 181 hook shots and he's only making 43 percent of them.
The question becomes, should Drummond ease up on the inefficient hook shot and maximize his dunk and layup opportunities?
I'm sure if you ask Van Gundy the answer would be, Drummond developing a reliable hook shot is key to his development. Van Gundy went through the same process with Dwight Howard, and Howard was never better than when he at least had to be accounted for on offense. Outside of Van Gundy's care, Howard's offensive game and impact have regressed.
While it is very likely that Van Gundy knows Drummond's shooting averages per shot type, he may be trying to strengthen that part of his game by getting him in-game reps. If Drummond an nudge that hook shot from the 40 percent range to the 50 percent range he goes from star to superstar.
That being said, even when Drummond's most effective plays are taken away, he's still having a positive impact on his team. That is because defenses must pick their poison, and in this instance they guard against a Drummond dunk at all cost.
As the ball handler in the pick-and-roll, Jackson has taken 435 shots. According to stats.nba.com, he is shooting 44 percent in these situations. When Jackson is able to get to the restricted area, he's shooting 56 percent on 234 shots. When he's in the non-restricted area, he's shooting 42 percent on 172 shots. So defenses take their chance with Jackson instead of allowing the lob or drop off to Drummond.
There are times when Jackson may be looking solely for his own shot, too. There have been plays where a lob could have been done, Drummond dynamite dunk style. However, Jackson may have been looking to his own shot, or Van Gundy could have told him to take care of the ball and not risk turnovers with lobs. But there have definitely been plays that have left fans wondering why it wasn't thrown up for Drummond to bring down.
Many fans are not thrilled with Drummond's shooting percentages, especially his true shooting percentage. There may be nothing he can do physically to improve his free throws. He may never shoot his hook shot any better. So unless Van Gundy decides to remove Drummond from the offensive equation a la Jordan in LA, Drummond's shooting percentages may not improve that much. Drummond could certainly improve and grow from experience, but it may ultimately be up to Van Gundy.
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Editor's note: All stats as of 1/29/2016