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3-on-3: Andre Drummond or Kevin Love?

Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.

1. Is Andre Drummond or Kevin Love more valuable to his team right now?

Dan Feldman, PistonPowered: Love. It’s close, but he gets the edge for two reasons. First and simply, he’s better. Like Drummond, Love is incredibly efficient, but Love has a broader skillset that makes him more effective. Secondly, the Pistons — with Greg Monroe and Josh Smith — have better alternative big men. Love makes the Timberwolves’ offense way better, an effect Drummond hasn’t had on either side of the ball this season.

Tim Thielke, PistonPowered: Drummond, simply because the Pistons have control over him for a lot longer. Kevin Love and Wolves’ management have been rumored to be at odds ever since they drew up his current contract. There’s a good chance he’ll be wearing another uniform soon.

Bill Bohl, A Wolf Among Wolves: Love. He is the center of the Timberwolves’ universe — everything Minnesota does, especially on the offensive end, flows through him. He’s 5th in the NBA in touches per game, the only non-point guard in the top 15 of that category. His outlet passing has gotten a lot of attention early on, but it’s his half court facilitation – from the elbow, from the wings, kicking it out of the post to open shooters – that makes the offense tick. Because opponents have to respect his outside range, the paint is a more open place for Nikola Pekovic to post up and Rubio, Barea and Martin to drive.

2. Would you rather have Drummond or Love for the rest of their careers?

Dan Feldman: Drummond. Love is barely better right now, and he’s five years older. I expect Love to maintain this elite level for several more years, but Drummond is already on Love’s tier and still has plenty of untapped potential. Drummond very well could pass Love in 2014, and even if he never does, Drummond’s youth — and prolonged excellence, even if falls just short’s of Love’s during their primes — gives him the edge.

Tim Thielke: Love.  Drummond has more upside, but given his incompetence at the stripe, he is also more exploitable. Ninety-five percent of the time, give me ceiling over floor. But when you’re talking about superstars, you gotta take the sure thing.

Bill Bohl: Without trying to sound too much like a homer (since I live in Minneapolis and write about the Timberwolves), I’d take Love over  Drummond for the rest of their respective careers. When you combine Love’s scoring (23.7 per game) and his assists (4.1 per game, nearly double his career average), the sixth-year man is responsible for 31% of the Wolves’ offense. Few power forwards in the league history have possessed his unique skill set – he rebounds (13.7 per game in his career), he posts up, and he can hit perimeter shots (36% on nearly 4 threes per game over the past four seasons).

While Drummond’s defensive ceiling is enticing, impact offensive players like Kevin Love are hard to come by. It’s also tempting to go with Drummond because of his age (he doesn’t turn 21 until next August), but Love isn’t an old man, either (he turned 25 in September). In the end, it comes down to buckets — defensive anchors (which Drummond has the potential to be) are a luxury, but the fastest way to contention is with an elite scorer. Kevin Love has shown, at times, that he can be that, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

3. With Minnesota struggling and Detroit finding a little bit of a groove lately to come to similar records, which of the two stars has a better supporting cast?

Dan Feldman: Love. Drummond has more talent around around him, but Love is joined by better-fitting talent. By the end of the season, the answer could change if the Pistons continue developing their chemistry. The tiebreaker for now? Coaching. I’d take Rick Adelman over Maurice Cheeks.

Tim Thielke: The Pistons have more talent on the team, but the Wolves have much better fit. Given that the wording asks about the better supporting cast rather than the better teammates, I’ll have to go with Love. Also, the Wolves’ record is harder to come by than a similar record against predominantly Leastern Conference opponents.

Bill Bohl: How do I put this? I think Detroit’s overall talent is superior to Minnesota’s, but the construction of the Timberwolves as a team makes a lot more sense than the Pistons. In a vacuum, the talents of Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Greg Monroe outpace Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekvoic; but in a five-on-five setting, I much prefer how the pieces fit in Minnesota. Rubio facilitates, Martin can play the two-man game on the wings, and Pekovic is the perfect high-low partner for  Love. Not to mention Corey Brewer’s ability to leak out and cut off the ball, which has led to some easy baskets for the Wolves.

26 Comments

  • Dec 10, 201312:39 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    So how about Love for Monroe and Charlie V. Haha

  • Dec 10, 201312:47 pm
    by TheBigS

    Reply

    I don’t know how anyone would want Love over Dre for the rest of their careers. Love is a great player now (and an MVP candidate this year) but Drummond is a very special player and has the chance to be one of the best Centers of all time. He has the athleticism and motor, and he has other intangibles that you just cant teach. If Drummond can start to make at least 50% of his FTs and develop a mid range shot, he could be up there with the Hakeems and Russels of the NBA. 

    • Dec 10, 20131:25 pm
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      And you explained why right there. Those are some awfully big ifs.

      • Dec 10, 20134:33 pm
        by TheBigS

        Reply

        Yes they are big ifs but right now his ceiling looks like a possible HOF. His growth rate from draft day to now is absolutley incredible. He has the athleticism and potential to be great and if he puts in some time in the gym to improve his shot and post game, he can be one of the greats

        • Dec 10, 20135:07 pm
          by gmehl

          Reply

          Unfortunately the jump from where Dre is now to where his ceiling is IS a BIG one. There is no guarantee that he will get there. The first step for him to get better is probably from the line and we’ve seen him get better in patches but he needs to put a nice month together to gain some confidence there.

    • Dec 10, 20132:17 pm
      by Turns

      Reply

      I think Love is an elite player but the dude can’t stay healthy.  He misses significant time every year and it’s usually at the end of the season when you need him most.  Love his production, hate that he’s fragile

    • Dec 10, 20134:20 pm
      by I HATE FRANK

      Reply

      shaq never developed a mid range,,,nor has dwight…. he is  baby hook away from being dominate
      his ft progress is coming…

  • Dec 10, 20131:02 pm
    by Otis

    Reply

    Feldman nailed question 1. Tim you missed the key point. If Drummond fell into a trash compacter the Pistons would still have one good young center on the roster. For that reason alone, Love is immeasurably more valuable to his team than Dre is to us. Neither Dre nor Moose will ever maximize their individual value or production while they’re on the same roster. Never ever ever.
     
    Question two is a bit more up-in-the-air and hard to judge in a vacuum. I lean towards Drummond simply because of his age. I know he’s a physical specimen, but Love has very rare skills too. Love to have these guys together on the same team and Monroe anywhere else.
     
    No argument in point three, at least in terms of the answers. You’re not doing anybody any favors with the way this Pistons roster is built. Nobody is being put in a position to succeed (shit, what else is new?). Unsurprisingly, I reject the notion that the Pistons have found any sort of groove. Let’s see what that wonderful “groove” looks like during the challenging stretch ahead. Can’t wait to see all this groove in action.

    • Dec 10, 20131:36 pm
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Depends what is meant by valuable. Love’s absence would cost the Wolves more wins than Drummond’s would the Pistons. That is a fair interpretation of the word.

      But I took it more as a “which player would it take a more enticing offer for his team to give up?”, which is also a perfectly legitimate definition of “valuable”.

      • Dec 10, 20131:51 pm
        by Otis

        Reply

        Love’s absence would definitely cost more wins, that’s for sure. I feel like that’s the best definition of “who’s more valuable.” Since it’s “Who is more valuable TO HIS TEAM?” I feel like that’s geared toward wins and losses. Rather than who has more value in general. Thanks for clarifying, though.

        • Dec 10, 20132:53 pm
          by Turns

          Reply

          You could go in circles with that.  LBJ is the best player in basketball and deservedly won the MVP but did he produce more wins for Miami than Durant does for OKC?  Debatable.  Everybody has their own criteria for MVP and I think that’s what makes it fun and such a great discussion piece..

          • Dec 10, 20134:00 pm
            by Otis

            In general, yes. But the Pistons are a special case where they have two good young centers who, despite what the organization will tell you, don’t complement each other very well. So neither one is as valuable to the Pistons as a team’s best players should be.

          • Dec 10, 20134:17 pm
            by Max

            Monroe and Drummond are better suited to playing with each other than Monroe and Love in my opinion.   You might think shooting is the key but when I look at Monroe and Love, I see a truly terrible defensive duo that can’t guard anyone and can’t block a shot or even offer any resistance when teams take the ball in side.   Monroe and Love is open season on the rim.  

  • Dec 10, 20132:26 pm
    by Edgar

    Reply

    I think Drummond hasn’t made a huge impact on the team’s overall offensive performance because he’s severely underutilized. I’ve said this before, but getting him the ball around the basket should be options 1 and 2 for the Pistons offensively. Jennings and Smith should never shoot more than Drummond. If the coaching staff designed an offense around Drummond (and I’m not just talking about post-ups) everybody’s efficiency would increase and the offense would perform better. Instead, they’re letting Jennings and Smith continue to shoot (and miss) a ton of bad shots and the offense is blah.

    • Dec 10, 20133:23 pm
      by Brady Fredericksen

      Reply

      It’s tough to draw up your offense for a big man if it includes basically just lobs. Part of what makes Drummond productive is the fact that he cleans up everyone else’s junk on the offensive glass.

      • Dec 10, 20134:00 pm
        by Edgar

        Reply

        I feel like they could do a lot of stuff that they’re not doing. Like Drummond should never take the ball out of bounds after a made basket. He should sprint to the front of the rim and either get a over the head pass or seal his man off. Young Shaq used to do this all the time to get cheap points. And there has to be a lot of stuff that a creative coach could do to get him the ball. I’m not smart enough to talk about this coherently, but they can set screens for him, put him in motion to create space for him. I would run pick and rolls with Drummond crashing to the basket like 80% of the time. If they just ran a few plays a half for him that weren’t just Drummond backing his man down in the post, I bet he could score 18-20 a game. What do you think?

        • Dec 10, 201310:46 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          I’m with you.   And Jennings and Smith can penetrate with the intention of finding Drummond on the move.  

          • Dec 10, 201310:48 pm
            by Max

            Drummond should also be looking for Shaq’s younger days alley oop where he’d post and spin into the paint to catch the lob.   

    • Dec 10, 20134:00 pm
      by Huddy

      Reply

      Drummond’s efficient offensive impact is directly related to his opportunistic style of play.  He does not have the low post skill to be given the ball repeatedly and try and find his way to the rim.  Drummond getting more looks and being featured more means more defensive pressure, which would not benefit the team.  Not only would he be forced to create his shot more, he would likely be fouled more often, which is generally bad for the team.
       
      For a big man with zero range there are only so many options besides post ups.  Brady addressed lobs and besides that there are not really a lot of ways to plan to get a center wide open within 5 feet consistently.

      • Dec 10, 20134:07 pm
        by Edgar

        Reply

        Again, I don’t know enough, but I feel like a creative coach could find ways to do it. I listed a couple of different tactics above. I think pick and rolls is the obvious one. It works really well with Bynum, but for some reason no other ball handler on our team can find a way to develop chemistry with a huge, quick, jump out the gym center with great hands. If I were Cheeks, I’d make it the staple of the offense. If they do it right, it’d be super hard to defend, I think. 

        • Dec 10, 20134:17 pm
          by Corey

          Reply

          It worked well last year with Bynum – in a lineup that often was Dre, Will, and three 3-pt shooters.  Take out two of those shooters, and put in Monroe and Smith, and there’s a lot more defenders crowding the paint to take away the lob.

        • Dec 10, 20134:57 pm
          by Huddy

          Reply

          The pick and roll is ok, but when the big man (Drummond) can’t shoot it really limits the play.  He is not a threat to stop and hit a jumper or to do anything besides go straight to the rim.  The play works some times, but as far as being a 1-2 option on offense it is unreliable.  Picks and screens are ineffective for a player like Drummond who only scores in close because there is only so much separation to be created within 5 feet of the basket.  Because of his high FG% he seems like the top options, but that percentage would drop if he was asked to be the main scoring threat.  As frank posted above, the best way for Drummond to become a go to offensive option is for him to polish his post moves some and be effective with a hook shot close in.  If he can do that then he would be a viable option to toss the ball inside and cause defenders to collapse.  At this point in his career he isn’t that player. 

          • Dec 10, 20137:17 pm
            by Edgar

            Very fair points. I still think pick and rolls with Drummond can be pretty effective because he’s so athletic, especially when the ball handler is a threat to turn the corner (like Bynum). Also, I think having Drummond establish position on the block and giving him the ball with his back to the basket is actually kind of a waste of his abilities. I’d prefer to see him start on the weakside and then use a pick or screen to flash to the strongside, receive the ball and then make a move before his man has his feet set. This way Drummond can use that devastating quickness to his advantage. So, it’s not just about trying to get him open around the basket, but getting him the ball in advantageous positions.

  • Dec 10, 20135:27 pm
    by gmehl

    Reply

    Q1) Love. I feel the only true way to find out who is more valuable to his team would be to imagine how his team would go without him. If the Wolves lost love they wouldn’t be winning much at all but if the Pistons lost Drummond we could easily slide Monroe to C, Smith to PF and then bring Singler in at SF. Heck against half the tanking teams in the NBA right now we’d probably win more games by doing so.
     
    Q2) Drummond. I’d take Drummond due to a variety of reasons… age, better health, better defence, upside but mainly because I can see him being a bette 2 way player coupled with the fact that he doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. My perfect answer to this question would be to take both guys. Dre and Love would be an awesome awesome frontline. You’d just need to add a guy like Batum and your a piece away from being a genuine contender.
     
    Q3) Wolves. Like everyone else has clearly stated we are the paper champions when it comes to sheer talent but from what we’ve seen most nights our pieces don’t click. Having said that if we Could trade Kevin Martin for one of Smith/Monroe we’d have 3rd spot locked up in the east no problems.

  • Dec 10, 20139:37 pm
    by mshansky

    Reply

    i think the matchup tonight revealed all….did monroe even play? and andre the “beast”? bwaahaaaa…..drink some more koolaid, eh?
    oh yeah, we were missing our “superstar” stuckey….that must be why we lost so bad and did not even compete….

  • Pingback

    Dec 11, 20131:36 am
    by Piston Powered – 12/10/13

    Reply

    […] The very nice people over at PistonPowered.com asked me to join them for a three-on-three discussion centered around the futures of the two men listed above: Kevin Love and Andre Drummond. Read the full thing right here. […]

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