SB Nation has been predicting the top 101 players of 2021, a bit of a different play on the traditional player rankings. In it, SB Nation writers basically go through and draft their guy.
They did it for the first time in 2013 by predicting who would be the top players in 2017 and fun times were had by all. Especially us, as they had Andre Drummond as the third best player in the league this year.
Well, that didn’t wind up happening. But I suppose Drummond’s fall to 60th wasn’t as bad as what happened to Derrick Rose from that list. Rose was slotted for the fifth best player of 2017, but no longer appeared on this year’s version.
Here’s what the group says about Drummond’s prospects in 2017, including our own Laz Jackson:
60. Andre Drummond
Age in 2021: 27 (9 seasons)
CHRIS GREENBERG: Maybe Andre Drummond didn’t merit the No. 3 spot in the previous edition of these rankings. But the Pistons’ center does still have four seasons averaging a double-double in the first five of his career. He played no fewer than 81 games in those four double-double seasons.
He’ll be just 27 entering the 2021-22 season. He’ll also very likely still be 6’11. These will be useful qualities.
Everyone else’s reactions
LAZARUS JACKSON, DETROIT BAD BOYS: Drummond was third (?!) in the top 100 of 2017. He didn't deserve to be that high then, and he doesn't deserve to be this low now.
TIM CATO: Drummond was typecast as a star early on, but he’ll settle into a DeAndre Jordan role just fine in the coming years. Though that might works best if he gets out of Detroit.
MATT ELLENTUCK: Drummond needs a new home and I hope it happens before 2021. Detroit hasn’t figured out how to get the most out of him.
TOM ZILLER: Free Drummond!
KRISTIAN WINFIELD: Still can’t shoot free throws.
Drummond comes in ahead of other similar centers like Steven Adams, Clint Capela, DeAndre Jordan, and Hassan Whiteside by a pretty considerable margin as they were all dealt with demerits of their lack of range.
It seems that the consensus is that Drummond still has some upside left thanks to his age, despite seemingly having plateaued on the stat sheet. So that’s encouraging.
Less encouraging: the list has been rolled out in segments of ten and the title for 51-60 is “The overachiever and the underachiever.” Isaiah Thomas is the overachiever. The underachiever? Um...
The list will continue to be rolled out over the next few days, but some other centers listed so far include:
43. DeAndre Ayton
55. Thon Maker
57. Nerlens Noel
60. Andre Drummond
64. Clint Capela
70. Jahlil Okafor
76. Steven Adams
81. DeAndre Jordan
88. Hassan Whiteside
100. Bol Bol
I’d have trouble putting Drummond ahead of players who have been more effective like Adams or Jordan, but hey, if public perception still has Drummond as superior to them that’s fine by me.
Other Pistons and former Pistons included on the list are:
53. Kris Middleton
66. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
82. Avery Bradley
93. Stanley Johnson
I’m going to complain about one snub: Tobias Harris. It’s perplexing how underrated Harris continues to be around the league, as it’s not every day that you see such a gifted young scorer. But fortunately, he at least was included among the 11 biggest snubs, with Mike Prada saying:
TOBIAS HARRIS: We collectively underrated Pistons players after the rough season they had last year. (Unless you’re Ricky O’Donnell and you still believe in Stanley Johnson). Harris averaged 16 points on above-average efficiency last year. He should still be doing that by age 28.
Thank you Prada. But it’s interesting how forgettable Harris seems to be on the league-wide stage. For instance, folks love Jabari Parker, rave about his potential if it weren’t for his knee injuries. Or at least on the podcasts I’ve been listening to lately. Check out how Harris and Parker’s numbers line up. Tobias Harris is basically a better, healthier Jabari Parker. In his prime at 28, I’d put Harris in the top 60.
Lists are always a bit arbitrary, but this one is a bit of a fun change of pace. What say you DBB? Where do you put Drummond and the rest of the Pistons for 2021?