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Counterpoint: Why I’m not done writing about Andre Drummond’s minutes

After the Pistons beat the Celtics, Patrick wrote that he was done writing about Andre Drummond’s minutes, explaining:

Why I’m done writing about Drummond’s minutes for now

As I noted, we have a large enough body of work to suggest that Drummond deserves more than the 15-18 minutes per game he’s been playing this season. But we also have a large enough body of work to suggest that Frank is not going to increase those minutes in the immediate future. Frank gives non-answers to the question when he’s asked about it and doesn’t really explain why. From a fan’s perspective, it’s certainly frustrating. But for right now, I’m just going to treat Drummond as what he is — the team’s primary backup center. I could devote words every game making a case that Drummond could’ve helped in certain points when the defense faltered, but that will get old to read. It certainly gets old to write.

I don’t know what will become of Frank or the Pistons this season. Tonight was certainly a good sign that the team hasn’t tuned him out — thanks to the John Kuester era, it should be clear to everyone what it looks like when a losing team tunes out its coach. They played better and more physical defense tonight than they have at any point this season. They have a more favorable schedule coming up than the one they started the season with. I think it’s conceivable that the team wasn’t as bad as they looked through the first eight games of the season. I’m still an advocate of Drummond playing more. His numbers back it up, his effort has been good and he’s been better than the other non-Monroe options up front. But if Drummond continues in the 15-18 minute range and the Pistons begin to play more competitively, win more games and improve defensively, there will hopefully be better things to write about in the coming weeks than doing the equivalent of facepalming at the lack of time for Drummond in these recaps.

How Drummond develops very well could be the difference between the Pistons contending for a championship and not winning a playoff series until the next rebuild. He’s that important, and his future has that much variance.

So, no, I’m not done obsessively worrying about how many minutes Drummond plays each game.

A couple minutes here and there likely won’t matter, but fundamentally, it matters a great deal what role the Pistons give Drummond. So far, Drummond has played well in his limited playing time against backups, and because of that, he deserves a larger role. I see no reason to baby him, especially when doing so very well could stunt his growth.

The Pistons should reward Drummond’s quality production because, among other reasons, accelerating Drummond’s development only benefits the Pistons. However, if Drummond doesn’t continue to perform well in his current role, he doesn’t necessarily deserve to take minutes from Jason Maxiell and/or Jonas Jerebko. Increased playing time should come with merit, but it should come when there is merit.

This is a situation that deserves close attention. This isn’t the Damien Wilkins-Austin Daye debate of last season, where a subpar veteran kept a subpar young player glued to the bench. Drummond is so much more than that, both for his play and his importance to the franchise. I’m excited about Drummond, in part because I still don’t know what path he’s headed down.

But, game by game, as we get clues about his direction, I’m going to write about it, and I’m frequently going to praise or criticize Lawrence Frank for how he handles Drummond’s playing time. I’m too hopeful and too nervous about Drummond’s development to drop the issue.

8 Comments

  • Nov 21, 20124:32 pm
    by Day and Knight

    Reply

    Dan…THANK YOU! Thank you for saying what most of us believes to be true. Drummond definitely deserves more minutes because as Patrick pointed out, based on PER Drummond is Killin Mighty Max in most categories, if not all of them. Frank preaches accountability…well quite FRANKLY, coach Frank is full of shit

  • Nov 21, 20124:46 pm
    by Piston87

    Reply

    I think we’ll see Drummond’s minutes stablize over the next month and he’ll be playing more minutes than Maxiell by mid-season.  Don’t really care if he starts or not as long as he’s playing with Monroe more often, however there are structural issues with our big man rotation that will continue to prevent this, as a Maxiell/Jerebko pairing off the bench would not be good.

    I really don’t want to see Maxiell’s minutes reduced on the team.  I don’t want to see him traded unless we can dump Villanueva or Prince in the trade.  Jason brings a toughness to this team that I enjoy and respect and no one else on this roster can replace.  There should always be a place for someone with his game on my Pistons.  He’s 29, he’s not ancient and he’s a better PF then Jerebko now and quite possibly the next few years (unless Jerebko adds some strength and bulk which I doubt).

  • Nov 21, 20125:48 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Great Article Dan, I totally agree with you and Frank needs some more evaluating also. I was on board with him last year but now I’m ready to give him the boot. I’m not saying he’s not a good coach any more, he’s just not a good coach for our Pistons. We need a coach like Pop, or Portland’s old coach,(can’t think of his name now). We need a coach who has played the NBA game before or has a ton of coaching experience. With this team of Pistons you need someone who’s not afraid to experiment with rotations and who can access what works quicker than Frank can. I’ll give him 15 more games to see what happens. After that off with his head.

  • Nov 21, 20126:43 pm
    by 19880607

    Reply

    I want to see Andre Drummond play more just as much as anybody who posts here and I think the case that has role deserves to be expanded is statistically irrefutable. Having said that, one thing I haven’t seen anyone address is why Drummond seems to be content with his limited role and minutes. Drummond is clearly the polar opposite of the lone warrior “just give me the ball I don’t care if you like me” Kobe Bryant types. The first thing he expressed upon being drafted (with tears in his eyes) was his excitement at being apart of his new family. This is a guy who loves his teammates and coaches and he seems to draw increased energy and motivation from their approval. Kyle O’Quinn starring him down doesn’t motivate him nearly as much as say, Corey Maggette jumping off the bench and slapping his back after a great block or dunk. He gains confidence as he sees his success reflected in his teammates and/or coaches. When he says that he is grateful for being in the league and he just wants to learn every day he really means it. He isn’t just being politically correct to avoid stepping on toes. I suspect at UCONN he didn’t get near the support that he is getting now in the Pistons organization and that might explain much of his college performance. Most players riding the bench in the NBA believe deep down that they could be “THE MAN” if given a chance. Despite his world class athleticism, this is not Drummond. Drummond and his teammates are aware of his weaknesses and shortcomings better than any of us watching from the outside. When Drummond’s teammates see that in order for them to win Drummond must be on the floor more, Drummond himself will start to believe it. From what I can see I think Drummond is ready for a bigger role but if Drummond doesn’t believe he is ready for a bigger role than indeed he is not. I think he thinks he is not ready for the pressure of 20-30 minutes a game much less taking somebody’s job starting. I think when Drummond is truly ready for an expanded role his teammates will see it and demand it. I suspect Coach Frank is smart enough that when the time is right he will see it himself. If not, we are sure to hear my favorite Kentucky graduate talk about coaching “buffoonery.”

  • Nov 21, 20126:49 pm
    by dtmfr

    Reply

    Please god, MAKE THE DRUMMOND’S MINUTES ARTICLES STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are other players on this team and I would like to read about them.  There are plenty of on the court issues to write about such as Greg Monroe’s inability to defend in the paint, the poor play of Jerebko, Knight about doubling his assist totals, trade possibilities for Maggette, Prince, Maxiell, and whomever else, etc.  TONS of other Pistons stuff to “obsess” about, so please give us a much needed break from the Drummond crap.

  • Nov 21, 20127:46 pm
    by Oracle

    Reply

    Can I be a grammar nerd for a second? The word “however” is a post-positive. It is not supposed to be used to start a sentence. I know it is frequently used that way, but it is still incorrect.

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