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Andre Drummond, Kyle Singler both drawing plenty of attention with their play

I can’t remember a time when the Pistons have had two rookies on the roster at the same time making the kind of impact Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler are. As exciting as it has been to watch them (or plead for them to play more in Drummond’s case), the other positive is their play is getting the Pistons national attention that they haven’t been used to in their recent down years. Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated included both players in his rundown of rookies this season.

He included Drummond in his ‘prospects in progress’ section:

The key for players considered to be long-term projects is to find simple ways to stay on the floor. It doesn’t take much; when a team and coach have a vested interest in a player’s development, a few basic skills can go a long way toward validating potential playing time. For some, it may be converting open jumpers. For others, displays of pure effort. For Drummond, his instant validation comes through his rebounding — an area of the game in which Drummond is performing at an elite rate, as evidence by the fact that only two NBA players have posted higher overall rebounding percentages to date. He’s earned his ticket to more playing time through that kind of display alone, and now it’s on Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank to afford Drummond with even more opportunities to play, produce and grow.

And boy, is there a lot of room for growth. Drummond’s about as raw as a reasonably productive player can be, and the few post moves he’s attempted this season have resulted in wild flings in the general direction of the hoop. About a third of Drummond’s field goals have been dunks, and he’s only converted 48 percent of his attempts otherwise — a number that may seem decent until you consider that 96 percent of Drummond’s shot attempts this season have come in the deep paint or the low block. He simply struggles in any situation that requires finesse, and lacks the kind of touch on his interior attempts that would allow him to score over or around defenders. His rebounding and shot-blocking should buy him plenty of time to settle into his offensive and defensive (don’t mistake Drummond’s monster block numbers for defensive nuance) game, but there’s a long road ahead.

Mahoney included Singler in his ‘instant pros’ section (along with one of my favorite non-Piston rookies, Jae Crowder):

Singler doesn’t play at all like a rookie. He genuinely works the perimeter instead of standing around on the weak side, exploits his opponents’ inattention on a consistent basis and already converts his three-point attempts at an incredible clip (47 percent!) thanks to the passing lanes he creates with his off-ball movement. He’s a perfectly decent on-ball defender, does a good job of shuffling to deny dribble penetration and works hard to get over screens and close out on shooters. His game isn’t yet fully developed, but already it holds startling similarity to that of the handyman veteran, capable of filling minutes and actually contributing without giving his team a targetable vulnerability.

He’s far from perfect; as much as I like Singler’s game, he isn’t very quick with the ball and can pretty much only get into the paint off the dribble by way of a very guardable spin move. But he’s exactly the kind of player that the Pistons will be happy to have around in a few years, once Singler’s supporting act is given new meaning within the context of a more effective team.

His analysis of both guys is pretty spot on. No one is rooting for Drummond to play out of a belief that he’ll help the offense. Right now, he’s their best rebounder and shot-blocker. He’s certainly far behind development-wise and skill-wise at the offensive end, to the point where I don’t know that he’ll ever be much of a factor other than a guy who finishes well around the basket, but the rebounding and shot-blocking alone already make him a legitimate rotation player who should be getting more minutes.

As for Singler, as Mike Payne of Detroit Bad Boys wrote about in-depth the other day (a great post that everyone should check out, BTW), he’s simply been easily the biggest surprise on the team this season. He’s emerged from a crowded wing position to not only earn a rotation spot, but a starting spot, and he just keeps improving. It’s hard not to envision him as a long-term member of Detroit’s rotation.

12 Comments

  • Nov 28, 20125:33 pm
    by Mone

    Reply

    Great post…. I still think a blind man can see that Drummond should be starting alongside Monroe at this point… Do we want to develop another Darko, or the next Shaq?

    I also notice that there hasn’t been one set play made for Drummond. I never seen him post up while everyone clears out. Basically the only time he scores is off hustle rebounds or lobs.. 

    • Nov 29, 201210:45 am
      by XstreamINsanity

      Reply

      That’s because he’s never been bred as an offensive player.  He has a LOT to work on in that area, and they’d rather him continue to work on his rebounding, blocking and defense in game situations right now, which is where we’ve been most deficient.

  • Nov 28, 20125:35 pm
    by dtmfr

    Reply

    One thing for sure, Kyle Singler was a much better 2nd round pick than the King’s Isiah Thomas.

    Brandon Knight may be coming into his own as well.

    Whomever said Dumars can’t draft is clueless. 

    • Nov 28, 20126:48 pm
      by labatts

      Reply

      Some other people Dumars’ drafted are Arron Afflalo and Chase Budinger.  Those guys seem pretty good, so its hard to imagine why the Pistons are bad.  Oh, that’s right… Dumars got rid of them.
       
      By the way, if you go even further back, Dumars’ drafting record starts to look pretty suspect.  I don’t know if getting 2 good players out of 8 2nd rounders (we don’t know about some of them because they don’t play) really warrants any praise.

      • Nov 29, 20129:49 am
        by Matt

        Reply

        I haven’t done a lot of research, but I’m guessing that getting two good players out of eight second round picks is pretty amazing. That would mean that, on average seven or eight second rounders each season become good players.

        Here’s a list of players from the following draft who could be considered “good” players (obviously, it’s early, but still)

        2011
        Kyle Singler
        Chandler Parsons
        Lavoy Allen
        E’Twaun Moore
        Isaiah Thomas

        2010
        Landry Fields
        maybe Lance Stephenson

        2009
        Dante Cunningham
        DeJuan Blair
        Jonas Jerebko (not necessarily this year, but in the past)
        Chase Budinger
        Danny Green
        A.J. Price

        So, in the last three drafts (I’m not including this year’s draft) there were 10 or 11 players not drafted in the second round (but not by Dumars ) who could be considered serviceable players. Based on that, I’d say getting two players in three years in the second round is actually pretty impressive.

      • Nov 29, 201210:36 am
        by tarsier

        Reply

        Dumars has done a plenty good job of drafting without people trying to ridiculously add Budinger to his record. Yes, Dumars technically drafted Budinger. But Dumars didn’t choose Budinger. He was making a deal with the Rockets, had not yet completed it, so they told him who to draft when he was on the clock. Give him credit for Afflalo, Amir Johnson, Jerebko, and others. But not Budinger.

  • Nov 28, 20126:02 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    “He simply struggles in any situation that requires finesse, and lacks the kind of touch on his interior attempts that would allow him to score over or around defenders”.
     
    I would really love to know who is working with Drummond on his low post game. The last i read it was big man coach Roy Rogers who from all reports is pretty good. I have read many different posts where people have mentioned we should get him to work with Hakeem, Kareem or Ewing. To tell you the truth if Drummond could emulate 15% of Hakeem, Kareem or Ewings game it would be well worth it. If he could develop a consistent hook and some nimble foot work the kid would be a double double machine.

  • Nov 28, 20126:33 pm
    by lindsey

    Reply

    “No one is rooting for Drummond to play out of a belief that he’ll help the offense. Right now, he’s their best rebounder and shot-blocker.”

    Guess I am the only one that believes he can help the offense…yeah maybe he doesnt have a post move, but last time i checked alley oops and putback dunks are worth points too.

    • Nov 29, 201211:38 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      And everyone forgets that offensive rebounds are a huge boost to the offense (essentially anti-turnovers). That was why Ben Wallace was never an offensive liability (except in times of hack-a-Ben, which could also be said of Drummond).

  • Nov 28, 20126:41 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    his offense will be like anderson v at the moment.  Crashing the boards for put backs.  This allows our “shooters” to draw in the defense or double team and jack up shots.  The difference now is that drummond can clean up the mess.  Wait no he cant frank wont play him enough.

  • Nov 29, 20129:26 am
    by Alex

    Reply

    I’ve only seen a few games, but I am excited about Drummond. Blows my mind that he doesn’t get more minutes.  If Frank was smart, he would look at past teams, and its certain shot blocking/rebounding specialist that helped lead us to a title. 

  • Nov 29, 201212:08 pm
    by tarsier

    Reply

    Wow, who knew that Singler was statistically the league’s best transition player thus far this season?

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