I recently analyzed where Detroit Pistons Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin rank at their positions versus the rest of the players in the NBA at their positions. Naturally, it’s time to look at where Andre Drummond ranks at the center position (it would be less fun to look where literally any other Piston ranks at their position at this point.)
There are a few more days to kill anyways. Let’s get to it. Players are listed in tiers, and in order for each tier. As I mentioned in Griffin’s ranking, Anthony Davis and Al Horford are centers.
Tier One: Anthony Davis
Tier Two: Joel Embiid, Rudy Gobert
Tier Three: Al Horford, Karl-Anthony Towns
Tier Four: Nikola Jokic, Andre Drummond
Tier Five: Clint Capela, Steven Adams, Marc Gasol
Tier Six: DeMarcus Cousins, Myles Turner, DeAndre Jordan, Jonas Valunciunas
Tier 7 is where things get dicey. In no particular rounding out the top 20: Domantas Sabonis, Brook Lopez, Julius Randle, Marvin Gortat, Enes Kanter, Nikola Vucevic.
It’s hard to dispute Davis or Embiid. Rudy Gobert may or may not belong in tier three, but I think he’s that good. Defense has somehow become underrated and Gobert is disrespected because of it. Al Horford was the best player on a conference finalist last season. Towns may be the best offensive center of the last fifteen years. Jokic is a modern-day Bill Walton with three-point range on offense and a modern-day Eddy Curry on defense.
I almost put Drummond ahead of Jokic because he is such a black hole on defense. Nonetheless, here we are. Drummond is comfortably in the top ten with room for improvement. He is coming off the best season of his career where he was an all-star and showed huge strides as a play-maker. Health and games played certainly factor into Drummond’s value, an advantage he has over the top four centers. His rebounding is historically great and speaks for itself.
I don’t think Stan Van Gundy necessarily held Drummond back as a player, but he probably didn’t use him correctly up until last season. And based on what Andre has been saying in the preseason, it is clear he is happy with the direction new head coach Dwane Casey has him going in. If Detroit wants any chance of being a respectable team this season, Drummond, 25, will need to play just as good as he did last season, which is not ridiculous expectation.
I fully expect another all-star season from Detroit’s AD and think he is in a great spot at seventh best center in the league. I thought the center position was a dying breed? It looks pretty loaded in the top 10 to me.