Andre Drummond heard the critics, including the outspoken Joel Embiid. After getting dominated by Embiid and called out for “playing no defense,” Drummond had something to prove.
Dre quieted his critics with a 15-point, 15-rebound game that saw him outplay the dangerous Karl-Anthony Towns in a 122-101 Pistons win against the Timberwolves. He also became the second-youngest player in NBA history to reach 5,000 rebounds.
Following tough matchups against stretch bigs Kirstaps Porzingis and Embiid, things didn’t look to get any easier against Towns. Drummond got the best of KAT, who seemed nearly invisible in spite of his 23 points and 10 rebounds. Drummond, meanwhile, was active all night adding four assists and a couple nice steals to his 15-15 night.
For those interested, Drummond was 3-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Drummond had plenty of help from his teammates in making this one a route. Tobias Harris tied a career high with 34 points and connected on six 3-pointers. He has zero hesitation on his jumper, is explosive when driving the lane and has clearly established himself as the No. 1 option on offense.
Having an active Drummond and a hot Harris allowed Detroit’s other players to fit into their niches. Avery Bradley hit timely 3s and played aggressively on both ends on his way to 20 points. Stanley Johnson, meanwhile, hit his shots early and played hard-nosed defense on his way to 15 points.
Ish Smith also helped set an up-tempo pace that allowed Detroit to find a groove and put the Wolves on their heels. It was a pace that Detroit was mostly able to maintain all night. Smith had 13 of Detroit’s 32 assists.
Stan Van Gundy again turned to Henry Ellenson off the bench as he looked for a spark after the team’s performance in Philly and the second-year player delivered. Ellenson was a willing shooter (2-of-7 from deep) but also ran the floor and cut to the hoop. He finished with 14 points and was a team-high +24 on the night.
But if you’re not convinced by something like plus-minus, check this out:
When this team is connecting on its 3-pointers it is extremely dangerous because the team is able to move the ball and generate open looks. Adding Bradley and putting more trust in Drummond’s passing ability on high screens is opening things up and creating solid looks for several players.
Detroit hit 52 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3, a feat the team managed just three times all of last season. Maybe we can get Embiid to call out Drummond before every game.