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Andre Drummond not a good practice player, says Tayshaun Prince

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Prince on Drummond’s progress: "I’m totally surprised. Some guys aren’t practice players. He’s totally different in practice than in games."

TP on Drummond: "We get in the game&the floor is wide open, his athleticism takes over the game. In camp he was struggling finding openings.

Prince said in practice the lanes are so clogged it’s hard for Drummond to get to the open spots. In the games, it all changes

Most of us suspected something like this was the case. Andre Drummond has performed so well during games, there had to be something we couldn’t see preventing him from playing more, and poor practicing was a common guess.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily excuse Lawrence Frank for giving Drummond so few minutes.

Games count. Practices don’t. In a fantasy world, it would be great if every player excelled in practice and in games.

In real life, I’d play the gamer more.

49 Comments

  • Jan 21, 201310:11 am
    by tarsier

    Reply

    We talkin’ about practice?!!

  • Jan 21, 201310:24 am
    by Rich

    Reply

    If he weren’t putting in effort in practice, that would be one thing.
    But Tay seems to just be suggesting that the nature of practice, specifically the court spacing, is the issue.
    Which means, of course, that Lawrence Frank is an idiot.

    • Jan 21, 201311:43 am
      by tommy t

      Reply

      AMEN!

    • Jan 21, 20131:16 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Easy solution: change the spacing in practice to be more game-like.

      • Jan 21, 20132:14 pm
        by Keith

        Reply

        We don’t have enough decent players to simulate game situations – unless we play the Bobcats every game.

        • Jan 21, 20132:30 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          True, but one could hope the Pistons could at least get the spacing right in their practices. And it’s not like Drummond is likely to be great against strong competition and terrible against low caliber competition. Besides which, Drummond plays mostly against reserves. Detroit has enough talent to replicate that.

          • Jan 21, 20132:47 pm
            by Keith

            This is why I feel like there is more going on than we really know. Quite simply, there isn’t a player on our roster (besides Drummond himself) that could stop a Drummond pick and roll. Monroe can’t guard PnRs against considerably worse players. Maxiell simply couldn’t get up high enough to break up the play. Drummond does play against reserves more than starters, but our starters don’t defend well anyway.
             
            The other thing is that if we are keeping our current starter-bench split in practices, the backups actually have MUCH better spacing than the starters. CV and Daye may be overrated, but they are better shooters than Max-Prince. This makes me think that Drummond is either actively being put in bad situations (perhaps as a learning experience), or else it’s more about defense. Drummond would often get eaten up in summer league and preseason by savvy older players with post moves. Maybe the bigger problem is that he struggles guarding Monroe, and Frank is too afraid of compromising his league average defense against the 5 centers in the league that still can play back to the basket.

  • Jan 21, 201310:27 am
    by Jason

    Reply

    The laugh was almost worth being drawn back to a place I’d rather forget….

    “It gives us a different way to attack people,” Dumars said, referring to Iverson’s ability to create his own shot, something Detroit has clearly lacked when its half-court offense bogs down. “We have been extremely successful for a long time. But I also think what comes with that is a little bit of predictability.”

    …. never again, Joe D….. 

     

  • Jan 21, 201310:45 am
    by Crispus

    Reply

    The poor spacing of the starters is not only hurting us in real games, but binding Drummond’s wings as well. Trade Tay and Max and make Monroe learn to shoot from 15-18.

    • Jan 21, 201311:06 am
      by Vic

      Reply

      They need floor spacer and distributors 1-3

      Trey Burke
      Jose Calderon

      Ben Mclemore
      Victor Oladipo

      Otto Porter 

      Any of those guys will do 

      • Jan 21, 20132:56 pm
        by Keith

        Reply

        I have to be honest. If Detroit lands a SF in the draft, I would absolutely love pursuing Calderon in FA. Play Calderon as the staring PG, with Knight alongside him at the 2. Knight gets to spot up more while focusing on defense. Calderon is a great shooter (50-40-90 club) and would finally get us a distributor that can get the ball to our bigs (and rookie) in a position that they can actually do something with it.
         
        Bynum-Stuckey become full time reserves then, which is actually more PT for Bynum and puts Stuckey where he belongs.

        • Jan 21, 20134:35 pm
          by Jordan

          Reply

          We would get destroyed on defense. Calderon and Knight would be the worst defensive back court in the league. Monroe is obviously a minus defensively and as much as we all love Drummond he’s not Dwight Howard circa 2009.

          • Jan 21, 20134:41 pm
            by Keith

            On Drummond: not yet. Calderon is a poor defender, but the way the rules work these days it’s nearly impossible to guard opposing PGs anyway. Knight is a minus defender because he is still just a sophomore. His talent, work ethic, and athleticism all point towards a greater future as a defender. And yes, Monroe is poor, but that’s not going to change in any lineup.
             
            Let’s for a moment, just compare it to our current lineup defensively.
             
            Monroe=Monroe
            Knight=Knight
            Drummond>Maxiell
            Calderon<=Singler
            Rookie?=?Prince
             
            Singler isn’t a good defender himself, especially at SG. Prince has been in significant decline for years and while better than an untested rookie, may not be by the end of next year. If we land someone like Poythress that is an elite athlete and willing defender, that alone makes up a ton of ground on Prince. We aren’t going to be a good defensive group in any situation, at least Calderon might make us a better offense.

          • Jan 21, 201311:04 pm
            by Vic

            Otto Porter is a good defender, he doesn’t get low enough but he’ll learn that. He stillgets steals and blocks.

            I think having solid defenders at 3 and 5, plus Knight’s hustle and ball pressure at the 2 will do well 

    • Jan 21, 201311:07 am
      by Revken

      Reply

      How do we “make Monroe learn to shoot from 15-18″?  I’m sure he is practicing his shot, but it’s not like becoming a better shooter from distance is an overnight achievement.  If we could “make” him learn to shoot from 15-18 feet, why not also “make” him become a 40% 3-point shooter?  That would really space the floor.

      • Jan 21, 201312:15 pm
        by Crispus

        Reply

        You’re right. What I mean is that the coaches should make clear to him how useful it would be to the team if he expanded his repertoire, especially since his extension is coming up. Also it would only do so much harm to push him to take that shot without hesitation in games, just to get used to it, even if it means some bad misses. Better than those turnovers when the D collapses on him.

        Monroe just isn’t strong or smooth enough to be a low-post only guy. Him having that mid range shot would pay huge dividends for our whole offense.

        • Jan 21, 20131:33 pm
          by Bugsygod

          Reply

          This is excatly what the coaching staff has been telling monroe for the last two years.  If you check stats and watch the games, he is shooting more midrange jumpers this year.  This is only his 3rd year in the league.  Give him a couple more years of repetition and practice, he will be a good shooter.  The mechanics are already there, just needs to get up more shots.  So to say they need to “make him” a good shooter, just is not possible.  Sorry dude, it takes time.

      • Jan 21, 201312:20 pm
        by AJ

        Reply

        Obviously is not an overnight process but Serge Ibaka has slowly developed his jumper and he is now another mid range shooting threat for OKC. It also helps Kendrick Perkins because he has more room to operate in the paint. This is what the Pistons need to accomplish. Andre Drummond needs to operate in the paint so to prevent running into each other Greg needs to develop CONFIDENCE in his id range jumper. We all know he can hit them, we’ve seen it before but he just seems to shoot it once in the game and if he miss it then he gives up. He needs to get his confidence level up in that aspect.

        • Jan 21, 201312:25 pm
          by AJ

          Reply

          Just look at all the good big man tandems that benefited from one being a mid to 3 pt. shooter:

          Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Sheed and Ben, Horry and Shaq, Tim Duncan and David Robinson, Serge and KP and I’m pretty sure theres more but I just can’t think of them right now. My case is just that Monroe just needs confidence in his mid range game. Jason Maxiell despite always looking to pass before he shoots is mostly confident in his jumper so Monroe can be confident as well. 

        • Jan 21, 201312:29 pm
          by Crispus

          Reply

          +1

  • Jan 21, 201310:55 am
    by MIKEYDE248

    Reply

    Practice is the same as exhibition games or summer league.  Sure it’s nice if you look good during them, but it’s how you look in games that count.  Going beyond this is always the next question.  Are you a regular season player or a playoff player?

    I got discouraged listening to the pre-game interviews with one of the assistand coaches.  He was ask about Drummond starting and his answer was most likely not this year.  His reasoning was that he is playing so well with the bench players, that he would hate to mess that up.  Also that they would like to bring in other players that will complement his style of play, but that it most likely wouldn’t happen until this summer.  The only good thing he said is that his minutes should keep trending upwards.

  • Jan 21, 201311:03 am
    by Revken

    Reply

    It’s not clear to me that Drummond is being faulted for how he practices (or doesn’t – ala Iverson), but that his offensive abilities are not as evident in that setting as they are in the games.  Most of his baskets come on lobs, with many on the pick and roll. It’s not impossible for a defense to deny those plays.  Maybe the Pistons’ practice D is tougher than what they often face in games.  Everything we’ve heard up to this point has indicated that Drummond works hard in practice, so I don’t think this quote from Tay has anything to do with Drummond’s playing time.  I’d like him to get more minutes, too.  But it looks like he and Monroe played together for about 10 minutes last night, which is a step in the right direction. 

    • Jan 21, 201312:19 pm
      by inigo montoya

      Reply

      I can imagine that there are many different factors in play that determine a player’s playing time, especially for a raw 19 year old, and I don’ pretend to know the status of all of those factors.  As a fan you have to leave it up to the management professionals to weigh all the factors and make a determination.  

      Personally I take the stance of being “long-term greedy”.  To me the long-term professional development of a 19 year old is way more important than the short term goal of winning more games in a season where the goal is just to make the playoffs (which I think they can anyway with the current playing time distribution)

      For example I don’t think most fans appreciate that these players have to be in very good condition to play in the NBA and the players must be dedicated to getting and maintaining that conditioning.  I also can imagine that the work required to do this is something new to a few rookies (which I think was the case for Macklin last year)  So if a rookie is not getting enough playing time due to his conditioning, a factor largely in his control, he and only he, is responsible for not getting more time.  

      If this all is true, then perhaps it is a good thing that fans are clamoring for more playing time, maybe that will motivate better conditioning.  But over the long term the player should get into his top condition not for the fans, but to better himself for his own sake,  because improving for other people when you yourself don’t believe in the improvement never lasts for long.

      Now I recognize that Drummond could be still growing but it does appear on my radar when I hear he weighs 297 pounds now when before the draft he weighed 279 pounds(per DraftExpress)  I am under the impression that the top players generally lose weight in the course of a season.  

      Also I can imagine the both Prince and Drummond might have a problem with the article’s headline.  Prince never said that Drummond is not a good practice player which implies that Drummond is not doing the things required in practice, but Prince only said that Drummond is not as good in practice as in games where this leaves open the possibility that Drummond is a very good practice player, it is the structure of the practices themselves that don’t lend Drummond to be as good as in games.

      That the Pistons sag and clog the middle in practice should come as no surprise to anyone watching the Pistons, because that is generally how they play, i.e. sagging a lot on defense leaving shooters open.  

      • Jan 21, 201312:29 pm
        by Crispus

        Reply

        Yeah that headline is like something you would find on ESPN, trying to gin up some drama where there really isn’t any.

  • Jan 21, 201311:10 am
    by Tom Y.

    Reply

    Somewhere in Turkey, or China, or some other obscure league, Allen Iverson shakes his head.

  • Jan 21, 201311:11 am
    by Riz

    Reply

    Practice cmon. If u have only come off the bench and have excelled u should be rewarded with starting. This is BS. Also y not let him bang with the best centers in the league 2 help him develop faster maybe even run a play or 2 for him and try and help him develop a post move. Y are we holding back our best player with the most potential.  Fire Frank PLease!! Drum is the only reason to watch the game and we only get 19 mins of him BS. Maybe more people would go to the games if they got to see drum throwen down sick oops all game. E

  • Jan 21, 201311:28 am
    by sebastian

    Reply

    And, I bet that Tay is an All-Star practice player, a practice MVP.

  • Jan 21, 201311:43 am
    by RobG

    Reply

    I was at the game last night and I thought Drummond played in great spots and gave the second unit a go-to player.  While he may not be getting 35 minutes a night like everyone would like, he still is out there in big minutes and giving maximum effort at 19.

    I do think if the Pistons had another big as an option to open up the offense off the bench, that you would see a move, but if I were coach, I sure wouldn’t want to rely on a Maxiel and Charlie V combo. 

  • Jan 21, 201311:47 am
    by Keith

    Reply

    All this seems to do is speak to Frank’s inflexibility. Practice is important, of course. I do think there is a little too much flippant talk about ignoring practice in favor of games. But it all comes down to context. Is he working any harder in games, where Frank is thus trying to teach him to work hard all the time? Certainly every other report says otherwise.
     
    Is Drummond unable to follow the script of a practice because he isn’t completely familiar with all our sets? Maybe, and maybe that’s what Frank is trying to instill. But, of course, a game isn’t scripted like practice. Players don’t have the luxury of calling set plays every time down the floor, especially when said set plays really don’t lead to very good offense anyway. Drummond excels at being himself, not necessarily at being the piece Frank wants him to be. That’s really the only thing that would make sense here. And that’s just sad.
     
    A good coach doesn’t force his players to be something they are not, he uses what his players are to maximize the team as a whole. Look at the Spurs. They get considerable production out of young and less talented players because those players are given a role they can excel in. As the players develop, their role expands (look at the progression of Tony Parker as prime example). But the team never demands their young guys to play roles they can’t handle or simply don’t fit. Drummond is excellent in many areas. Rather than punishing him for what he can’t do yet, why not emphasize the things he can do – ironic since that’s exactly what was being touted when talking about Drummond’s development.

    • Jan 21, 20132:08 pm
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      This is an excellant point and one of the main thing I don’t like about Frank.  How many of our player are playing the position that they are most suited for?  Not too many.  I don’t know if that is just be JD keeps bringing in the wrong people or Frank just putting people in the wrong places.

  • Jan 21, 201312:09 pm
    by jacob

    Reply

    Tay must be a practice player, and not a gamer!

  • Jan 21, 201312:25 pm
    by Crispus

    Reply

    One of the problems here is that we only have 2-1/2 big men. Maxiell can barely guard the big boys and Charlie V is definitely not a paint protector. With Kravtsov MIA, Drummond or Monroe has to be out there or our lane turns into a runway. If Frank plays them both until they are tired we’ll just get dunked on until they are refreshed.

    • Jan 21, 201312:53 pm
      by Keith

      Reply

      Assuming both were playing starter minutes (30-35 mpg), it wouldn’t be difficult to stagger rotations and keep one or the other on the floor most of the time. It’s also not like other teams don’t ever go to their benches. Don’t sub them both out when they are playing Z-Bo and Gasol in Memphis, but it’s also on Joe/Frank to have some semblance of a plan B. If Maxiell wasn’t forced into the starting lineup, he would be a solid backup that we could rely on against opposing backups.
       
      There’s nothing stopping us from starting Monroe-Drummond, subbing one out around 8 minutes for Maxiell (pushing Monroe to C). Then, start of the 2nd quarter, when the other team empties their bench for a couple minutes, we go super small with Max-CV. Then when the opponent subs back in a starter, we bring in Drummond for Max and then go back to Monroe-Drummond to finish out the half.

    • Jan 21, 20132:47 pm
      by Crispus

      Reply

      You make a good point, Drummond could still start and play more minutes (with Monroe). However a lot of extra work could be avoided if we just had a good 3rd big who is actually big. Marreese Speights and JJ Hickson come to mind. I thought that was why Joe D brought in Kravtsov.

      • Jan 22, 201312:52 pm
        by G

        Reply

        Too late on Speights, he just got traded to Cleveland for a bag of dirty towels and a draft pick. It seems like the type of move Joe D would’ve done 10 years ago.

      • Jan 22, 20131:52 pm
        by Crispus

        Reply

        AUGH I SAW THAT! What the hell?! Speights could have been huge for us!

  • Jan 21, 20131:44 pm
    by Bugsygod

    Reply

    Practice is very important, but the games are where players make there money, sign big contracts and win championships.  Now there are great stories of the practice habits of great players, like MJ, kobe, bird, etc.  I have not heard the Magic was some out of this world practice player, or that Patrick ewing was just dominating practice, etc.  This again shows how UNFLEXIBLE the coach is.  If you see a guy that struggles at practice(not a work ethic issue)but kills it in the games, i think this is where you have to ADJUST your thoughts.  If Prince can see this, why cant coach Frank?  Does Frank not see that the spacing in practice hinders Drummond, which leads to poor practices?  Does Frank, just say “until you can dominate practice” your minutes will be limited?  Wonder if Drummond Never dominates practice? Never is considered a great practice player?  Will his minutes always be limited?  I say this not for sarcasm, but TRULY what is the goal of limiting his mintues?? punishment for poor practice(as this article leads us to believe)?  There is NO MEASURE where he is not better than the person in front of him during the ACTUAL GAMES.  Maybe Max is dominating practice??  AT THIS POINT OF THE SEASON THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR LACK OF MINUTES FOR DRUMMOND…..NONE!

  • Jan 21, 20132:06 pm
    by Ryank

    Reply

    The amazing thing is teams know what’s coming when Bynum is getting a screen from Drummond…they just can’t do anything about it.  Bynum is just a threat to keep them honest, he’s always looking for Drummond when they pick and roll.  They just can’t do anything about it other than foul Drummond. 
     
    It will be interesting to see what happens when he faces Howard or McGee and they run that play.  They have to show on Bynum, but if they can recover fast enough, they have the reach to get involved with the play going on above the rim. 

  • Jan 21, 20133:13 pm
    by George

    Reply

    Keith made a good point.  I do think Frank has to run an offense that plays to Drummond’s strengths.  Without a doubt, Drummond is looking like one of those extremely rare talents in the league (maybe 10 guys like that in the league at most) that you need to build the offense around him.  I think guys like Prince don’t get that they need to work on ways to make Drummond the eventual centerpiece of this team.  I hope JoeD and Frank eventually tell the vets to accept what is inevitable, or they can be shipped out.

  • Jan 21, 20134:25 pm
    by Oracle

    Reply

    This is very off topic, but I just noticed it:  If the LA Clippers finish with a top 5 record in the NBA, the pistons get their 2nd round pick this year, going back to the Alex Acker trade in 2009.  If the clippers finish 6th or lower, the pistons receive nothing.  Currently, the Clippers are tied for the best record in the league.  It’s a small thing, getting the 55th-60th pick in the draft, but it sure was nice when Dumars could turn the nobodies on the roster with no future into potential assets.  

  • Jan 21, 20134:52 pm
    by City of Klompton

    Reply

    Just as a good reference, Joey Harrington was allegedly an all-world type of player in practice.

    We all saw how that turned out… 

    • Jan 22, 201312:35 pm
      by G

      Reply

      Austin Daye must be lights out in practice…

  • Jan 21, 20138:42 pm
    by I HATE FRANK

    Reply

    Tay the leader speaks out again

  • Jan 22, 20139:56 am
    by Piston87

    Reply

    “Games Count.  Prractices Don’t” – So you think practices don’t count?  Tell that to Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and every champion in this game.  Practice is what makes players great.  Dre is 19, telling him it’s OK to coast through practices is coddling him, for what!? So he can start and we can win 2-3 more games.  That’s so short sighted.  People constantly complain about overprivledged athletes and lack of work ethic, and here you are complaining how the coaching staff might be holding him accountable.  How this organization is handling him is just fine by me.

  • Jan 22, 201310:09 am
    by Michelob Mike

    Reply

    no one said he is coasting in practice, just that things are more clogged and it’s hard for him to use his athleticism to the extent that he can in games.
     
    Jesus, quit reading things that are not there and overreacting to every little syllable. All of you.

  • Jan 22, 201310:25 am
    by Piston87

    Reply

    You mean like this “there had to be something we couldn’t see preventing him from playing more, and poor practicing was a common guess”

    No where does it says Dre’s minutes are the result of his practice habits, its an inference made by the author.  “Game Count. Practices Don’t”

    Dre may or may not be coasting through practices, I have no specific insight or knowledge of Piston practices.  My point, maybe poorly argued, is that Practices do count.  Espcecially for a 19 year gifted athlete who has gotten to this point mainly be sheer freakish athelticsm and size.

    I usually don’t reply or get annoyed with what is written here but as someone who coaches that statement just pushed my button.

    • Jan 22, 201312:28 pm
      by G

      Reply

      He’s not saying Drummond doesn’t try hard in practice, he’s saying he doesn’t look like that good of a player in practice. Basically, Drummond’s practice production is low. He’s trying hard but can’t get his buckets in practice because of spacing. It’s not an effort issue, it’s an opportunity issue.

  • Jan 22, 201311:43 am
    by Big Rick

    Reply

    Misleading headline. Not that serious. 

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