Andre Drummond is emerging into one of the most dominating centers in the NBA. The 20-year old has displayed exceptional skills at both ends of the floor in just his second year as a pro.
The 6-foot-10 center is under contract through the 2015-16 season, but by then the Detroit Pistons will have to deal out some serious cash to keep him around.
Drummond showed flashes of excellence during his rookie season, but lacked consistency. In 60 games he averaged just 7.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. This season has been much different, as the Pistons’ big man looks to prove that he is one of the best centers in the league.
Dominating the glass
Entering Monday, Drummond has averaged 12.6 rebounds per game; third most among NBA centers. What is truly impressive about his rebounding is that he has grabbed 152 offensive rebounds this year, by far the most in the league.
Drummond has proved he can guard the rim as well as anybody else in the league, averaging 1.7 blocks per game. Not only does he have great shot blocking capability, but his quick hands have lead him to record 46 steals this season. The former Connecticut Huskie leads all centers with a combined total of 93 blocks and steals.
Averaging 13.2 points per game, Drummond has the third highest field goal percentage of players who have attempted at least 100 shots this season, 61.9%. The Pistons’ offense is primarily dominated by Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, but Drummond makes the most out of his opportunities to score. His .77 points per half court touch is the best among players who have played at least ten games this season.
Consistency and athleticism
In 20 of his 29 games played this season Drummond has recorded a double-double, the most by any center. He may also be the most athletic center in the game. Sure DeAndre Jordan can jump out of the gym and Robin Lopez can stretch the floor with his shooting ability, but Drummond displays athleticism in ways most centers don’t. The combination of his ability to run the floor, throw down alley-oop passes, and soft hands leads me to believe he is the most athletic center in the league.
Where he ranks
Drummond is clearly a top-ten center in the NBA. By looking at this season’s statistics and the ability to efficiently dominate at both ends of the floor, I would rank Drummond as the 5-best center in the league. Note that Kevin Love and Chris Bosh are not in this conversation because they are primarily power forwards. The only centers that I would rank above Drummond, based on the above criteria, are: Dwight Howard, Al Horford, Brook Lopez (who is now out for the season), and DeMarcus Cousins.
There is plenty of room for Drummond’s game to grow. He fails to get to the free throw line on a consistent basis and when he does he is shooting just 37.9%. He also lacks the capability to score the ball outside of 12 feet from the basket. With that being said, the kid just turned 20 in August, there’s no doubt in my mind that he will develop a wider range of offensive skills and become a perennial all-star.