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Jonas Valanciunas vs. Andre Drummond in battle of two of the league’s best rookie bigs

Essentials

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors (3-9) at Detroit Pistons (2-10)
  • Date: November 23, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Lost in all of the many, many complaints about the present way the Pistons are handling Andre Drummond‘s playing time is an eye toward the future. Certainly, Drummond is only an eyelash into his NBA career, so numerous things could trip him up on his way to stardom, but if he continues to improve at the rate he’s improved since the Pistons drafted him as a project who they were unsure would be ready for a major role this season, it’s clear he’s an elite talent. Eventually, a coaching staff (not sure if it will be this one) will figure out that it’s smart to play your best players more minutes and eventually, Drummond will be a really good NBA player if everything goes as planned.

But tonight’s game against the Raptors also gives a glimpse at the significance of this rookie class. Drummond, Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas and Hornets rookie Anthony Davis have a shot at being a really special class of big men. All three have unique skillsets and I can’t wait to see Drummond match up with both guys, starting with Valanciunas tonight.

Valanciunas is coming off his best game as a pro. He had 16 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a block in a loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. Most importantly, he played 34 minutes. In fact, check out the trajectory of Jonas V’s minutes this season in the game logs. As he’s gained more experience and played better, his minutes have — get this — gone up. What a concept. He has two straight double-doubles. He’s played 20 or more minutes in eight of 12 games this season and two of those sub-20 minute games can be explained away because he was in foul trouble. He’s also starting for the Raptors despite the fact that they have veteran options up front who are limited, but certainly not worthless, NBA players in Amir Johnson, Aaron Gray and Ed Davis.

To put it simply, the Raptors are getting it right with Valanciunas. He still has weaknesses — particularly fouling too much — and he still makes rookie mistakes. But he has also been better than every big on their roster, even with those rookie flaws and mistakes, and he’s being rewarded for that production with a large role and minutes. The Raptors aren’t winning much this season as a result of him starting, and I would never make the case that the Pistons playing Drummond more would miraculously lead to more wins. It would, however, be in the team’s best interests long-term to allow Drummond to grow based on him proving he’s ready for more. The Raptors clearly understand this concept with their talented young big man.

Read about the Raptors

Raptors Republic

47 Comments

  • Nov 23, 20126:00 pm
    by 313

    Reply

    • Nov 23, 20126:38 pm
      by Andre

      Reply

      I don’t know how much of that I agree with.  I don’t think some of these guys really watch the team when the give their opinion.  Although, some was true I think he was really off base with most.

  • Nov 23, 20127:40 pm
    by Corey

    Reply

    I think they are right about there being a cultural problem. Prince was rewarded with a fat new contract after rebelling against the old coach. So he thinks he’s above Frank and is undermining him already. Frank may be a bad coach, but the “veteran leader” of the team undermining him publicly (and no doubt privately) can’t help.
     

    • Nov 23, 20127:56 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      players have undermined every coach since larry brown.
      the problem is that the players know that they can go directly to joe dumars and circumvent the coach.  dumars confirms this at various times, in subtle ways, and every once in a while – like when chris webber made his infamous comments on nba.tv about dumars coming into the locker room and threatening to trade everyone – the truth comes out in a more straight forward way.
      the situation is a mess.  
      the one constant in the deterioration is dumars.
      i’m certainly not a frank fan or supporter, but to ignore the elephant in the room – dumars – is to miss the real culprit in this ongoing debacle. 

  • Nov 23, 20128:19 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    I tell you I HATE and I don’t like to use the word HATE but I HATE Franks substitutions. They make no sense and they never give us an advantage.

  • Nov 23, 20128:45 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    frank’s rotation is dictated by politics and contracts.
    dumars is the guy who is dictating who plays and pretty much how much they play. 

  • Nov 23, 20128:48 pm
    by Scott Free

    Reply

    Every game is different, every matchup is different, but I’m just going to say, Drummond and Monroe are playing well together.

  • Nov 23, 20128:59 pm
    by I LOVE FRANK

    Reply

    hmmmmm…imagine that Drummond producing in quality minutes

  • Nov 23, 20129:05 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    I can’t believe Frank will continue to have two 7 footers against a 6’11 and a 6’5 guy. unbelievable.

  • Nov 23, 20129:10 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Lowrey is going to win for the raps  score score 58-65 now.

  • Nov 23, 20129:12 pm
    by I LOVE FRANK

    Reply

    yet another double digit lead is gone…lol

  • Nov 23, 20129:20 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    maxiell has done nothing all 3rd period, but he stays out there for the entire period.  makes no sense.

  • Nov 23, 20129:27 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    and there goes the lead…and if you look closely you can see the fans mentally leaving too lol

  • Nov 23, 20129:31 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    THIS IS ANNOYING
     
     

  • Nov 23, 20129:39 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    DRE IS IN BEAST MODE!!!! LISTEN TO THE CROWD

  • Nov 23, 20129:41 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    When Drummond plays in front of the rim, he is dominate

  • Nov 23, 20129:43 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    defensive drummond has caused 2 turnovers in the last 2 minutes

  • Nov 23, 20129:53 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Knight is soo much better attacking
     

  • Nov 23, 20129:56 pm
    by Daye and Knight

    Reply

    either Bargs is really that good or Moose can’t play D…

  • Nov 23, 20129:59 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Drummond after this game, CAN NOT go back to 10-15 minutes per game

  • Nov 23, 201210:00 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Why not have Drummond in so lowrey won’t drive for the layup.

    • Nov 23, 201210:02 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      mel,
      that is exactly what i thought and why i posted what i just posted a minute after you did, without knowing you’d written what you’d written. 

    • Nov 23, 201210:23 pm
      by Jay

      Reply

      LOL that’s exactly what they did for the last defensive play. Worked!

  • Nov 23, 201210:01 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    genius coaching move.
    take out your only shotblocker and toronto takes it right down the lane and scores.
    genius.  just brilliant. 

  • Nov 23, 201210:04 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    well he made the right move, one trip down the court too late: drummond in for monroe.

  • Nov 23, 201210:06 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    well, they won in spite of a bunch of thick headed moves by frank.
    really, how bad of a game coach is this guy? 

    • Nov 23, 201210:27 pm
      by vic

      Reply

      the most horrible. he can only think in processes, not in executive decisions. 
       

  • Nov 23, 201210:06 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Monroe,Drummond and Knight led the Pistons, thats how it should be

  • Nov 23, 201210:08 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    it’s funny you put Drummond in and he helps win you the game. But still Franks rotations are retarded.

  • Nov 23, 201210:10 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Hey Frankie D , it’s not too hard to see through this idiot of a coach. Great minds think alike.

    • Nov 23, 201210:20 pm
      by frankie d

      Reply

      hey, i’m glad they won, but it seemed like there were a bunch of really dumb moves by frank that made it a much tougher game for detroit.  from playing max the entire 3rd quarter when he was giving you nothing to his horrible line up with bynum, stuckey and maggette to taking his best interior defender out in the last minute to going with small ball near the end to the ridiculous lineup at the end of the game where you take your best offensive rebounder off the court in a one point game.
      just move after move that makes you scratch your head and ask what the heck is he thinking about.
       

      • Nov 23, 201210:26 pm
        by vic

        Reply

        agreed. that small ball trend is the stupidest thing in basketball. I mean every team has Lebron James the 1st or 2nd best player in history, and no quality bigs right?
        So lets follow the Heat and play small ball!  Its a trend!

  • Nov 23, 201210:16 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    If any of you guys get a chance look at the box score and look at Max minutes and stats then look at Drummonds, plus this is only my opinion but I feel Drummond had a OK game yet without him we won a game that we were about to get blown out in. If frank doesn’t get this I’m going to Tom Gores FaceBook page and let him have it. LOL

  • Nov 23, 201210:17 pm
    by Pratik

    Reply

    1-0 with Drummond playing 25 + minutes, and gets a double double can’t wait for Patrick’s post!

  • Nov 23, 201210:19 pm
    by EMBRACE THE PROCESS

    Reply

    Coach Frank is a terrible coach and motivator … I actually Think Knight called his own number on that last play

  • Nov 23, 201210:23 pm
    by vic

    Reply

    Well whadda know… Drummond plays 25 mins, we eke out a win in a winnable game. 
    BK comes to life as the closer that he is, and Lowry misses the game winning shot that he was making all night when Drummond was out.

    Good things happen when you let your best players play. 

  • Nov 23, 201210:23 pm
    by Scott Free

    Reply

    GO PISTONS!  Knight in the clutch!

  • Nov 23, 201210:24 pm
    by Ryan P

    Reply

    Mark this date down folks…start of an era.

     

  • Nov 23, 201210:27 pm
    by Jay

    Reply

    I loved the last play. Knight saw that Lowry was hurt and took it right to him. Just like “Embrace the Process” thought, I too think Knight called it for himself. Monroe should’ve done the same with Jonas V’s injury. Drummond, Monroe, and Knight finishing it off well. Tay played his Tay game haha. Good win. But seriously, can we please trade one of the bench players for Marshon Brooks of the Nets. He ain’t even playin in Brooklyn but he’s definitely got some talent that we desperately need (he can shoot outside and create his own shot) 

  • Nov 23, 201210:37 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    Drummond/Moose combine for 62 min and we outscore TOR 52-26 in the paint. What a surprise!

    Great win though. 

  • Nov 23, 201211:47 pm
    by Jodi Jezz

    Reply

    My boy Drummond is a beast!! Frank needs to give him more playing time or start him next to Monroe ASAP…
     

  • Nov 24, 201212:06 am
    by Delray313

    Reply

    Yes this is what i like to see the energy was up knight stepped up drummond will be one of the best big men in the nba. This is the type of game everything was flowing hell even will bynum played under control. More minutes for Dre period Frank i have seen enough too say Dre needs to play. Now we need to make a trade still to many pieces that are out of place on this team.

  • Nov 24, 201212:21 am
    by EMBRACE THE PROCESS

    Reply

    Drummond is learning to run in front of the rim for offensive rebounds off of screen or high pick …. He can be dominate on the offensive glass

  • Nov 24, 20125:31 am
    by Domnick

    Reply

    im happy about this win.. its a gutsy win.. we really improved this week… and we just have to sustain it..
     
    if drummond is gonna get more minutes then its good for our team!.. we are into it folks! lets go and get some streaks! BEAT NY!

  • Nov 24, 20126:08 am
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    Did you notice how with Monroe and Drummond in the game we didnt get hammered on the boards?  As a matter of fact since both were in we got lots of second chances down the stretch.  This whole thing with the team is just baffling.  I dont know what it is but answers are right in front of the coach, yet he cant find the right combination and just watches as his team sputters and cant put together any counter attacks.  Just about every play for Drummond was positive- even going 0 for at the free throw line was positive.  He finally got impact minutes in game 13.  Now the real job begins.  Cause if anybody who sits (Jerebko, Maxiell) has a problem with Drummond playng more then take a look at the scoreboard and get your next team on the phone with Dumars.

  • Nov 24, 20127:35 am
    by ryan

    Reply

    I saw in a post game comment that the play wasn’t supposed to be for Knight but they couldn’t get the ball where they wanted to so Knight took the initiative. That’s good to see. I feel like a lot of the reason Brandon Knight is struggling right now is that he’s trying to be an Andre Miller type point guard when in fact he’s more of a scoring point. I also think that this struggling is a good thing. He’s developing his game and going away from his strengths but long term it ought to make him much, much better because he’ll be able to play both ways more.
    It feels good to get win number three.

  • Nov 24, 20128:45 am
    by Serge Geara

    Reply

    i think ill choose drummond over valanciunas :D

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