Andre Drummond has the green light to shoot 3-pointers this season. New head coach Dwane Casey mad that clear, and Drummond says he’s ready to hoist if defenders play too far off of him.
Don’t be surprised, his coach says, if the player who has made five total 3s in 30 career attempts over six professional seasons attempts two to three perimeter attempts per game. PER GAME.
“It’s not something I’m going to start jacking up randomly,” Drummond said. “There are going to be opportunity 3s. [Casey]’s given me the green light to shoot it, if somebody backs up off of me I’m going to shoot it.”
While the plan has left many scratching their heads, Drummond said he’s been hitting 40 percent in offseason workouts and attempts roughly 1,000 of them per day.
“The 3-point shot is something I added six years ago, I just never had a coach who allowed me to shoot it,” he said.
The truth is, Drummond wouldn’t even need to hit them at a high clip, roughly 30 percent, to make the 3-point shot more efficient than the hundreds of post-ups he attempts every season, and which he has never shown much proficiency.
For Casey, who has preached 3-point shooting in seemingly every conversation he’s had since taking the job in Detroit, says it is all about creating space for others.
“Everybody I know is looking at me like I’m crazy,” Casey said. “It’s about spacing, it’s about taking advantage of the analytical game.
“It does open up the floor. Two 3s a game, three 3s a game is not out of the realm of possibility for Andre. The key thing is it opens up spacing. You knock one down, it opens up spacing for everyone else.”
It’s interesting to think about how Casey used a similar philosophy in Toronto. The Raptors had three primary big men — Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas and Pascal Siakam.
Ibaka, long known for his perimeter range, hit 36 percent on 297 attempts (third on the team). We’ll say that is the role that Blake Griffin is going to play. Then there was Valanciunas, a more accomplished shooter than Drummond, who went from four career 3-point attempts in his first five seasons to 74 last season. He shot 40.5 percent. Most interesting is Pascal Siakam who went from seven attempts in year one to 132 in year two. Of those 132 attempts he hit 22 percent. That’s .... low. But Casey let him shoot anyway. Because spacing. Because he didn’t want to shake the confidence of a young player. And because he still was able to manage the second-ranked offense in the NBA despite the brick-laying tendencies of Siakam.
So when thinking about what Drummond’s volume is going to be is he a Valanciunas or a Siakam? What is the bare minimum percentage you need to see where you won’t groan every time you see Drummond shoot from deep?
I asked Drummond at media day how many 3s he was going to shoot this season. He asked for a number. Two hundred, I said, which is about 2.4 per game.
“It’s possible,” he said with a wry smile.