Andre Drummond bounced back from a dreadful showing against the Los Angeles Lakers to shine on both ends of the floor. Drummond had a 20-20 game with 23 points (on an efficienct 8-of-12 from the floor, 20 rebounds, five assists, a steal two blocks and a number of smart contests at the rim and deflections around the perimeter.
Drummond was not the only star for Detroit, however.
Yeah, I’ve waited long enough. We gotta talk about the Sekou Doumbouya dunk. It was all over the NBA Twitter-verse, and was probably the first positive highlight many people have seen from Detroit all season.
Sekou Doumbouya is 19 years old...— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 8, 2020
That was nasty. pic.twitter.com/mKd9VLsAr2
Sekou delivered more than just one highlight dunk, however. He showed he truly belongs in the NBA.
The 19-year-old rookie playing in just his 11th NBA game was 6-of-9 from the floor for 15 points. He was quick to the rim and showed he could finish with finesse as much as he could throw down the hammer.
While he also made plenty of the kinds of mistakes you expect from an untested teenage rookie, his natural skills are easily apparent. Where he struggles with awareness and a tendancy to ball watch, he makes up in his ability to fight through and around screens. He also is really good about using good body position on defense to help keep his man from getting around him and an easy look toward the rim.
Doumbouya played the third most minutes of any Pistons player and looks like he has gone from an intriguing G League highlight machine to entrenched in the Pistons starting lineup. With Griffin down for the year and Christian Wood struggling (another off night for the big man tonight), the power forward spot is Sekou’s to lose.
He doesn’t look like he’s giving it up anytime soon.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Pistons, however. Their team defense remains truly dreadful and their offensive game plan has totally collapsed with the loss of Griffin, Luke Kennard and Reggie Jackson. It’s just a bunch of guys running up and down the floor praying the’ll stumble into an open 3-pointer and Derrick Rose driving to the rim and getting his own.
The Pistons were able to hit 13 3s tonight and Rose scored 24 points so check and check. When those elements are going right, the Pistons can weather their bottom-rung defense. When either falter it’s a loss.
Rose didn’t just score the ball, however. When it mattered most he passed on his drive and found the open man. Rose notched his seventh assist with an explosion toward the basket that drew every available defender and even though you wouldn’t blame him for putting it up on the rim with his ability to finish, he kicked the ball out to a wide open Tony Snell.
Splash. The Pistons, who hadn’t led since midway through the first quarter found themselves with a 112-111 lead with 53 seconds remaining.
The Cavs were able to get the line after an offensive rebound on the ensuing possession and Collin Sexton sank both free throws to give Cleveland the lead again. But then the Cavs had zero awareness and let Derrick Rose casually run down the floor and hit an effortless jumper at the below the elbow.
The Pistons have an endless list of issues they need to resolve. A roster full of players who weren’t anticipating playing these minutes or filling these roles are still trying to figure themselves out. The team lacks any creators outside of Rose and the defense is at crisis levels.
I suggest you just watch that Sekou dunk over and over again. It’s all that matters.