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Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe make ESPN’s top 25 under 25

David Thorpe, Kevin Pelton and Amin Elhassan of ESPN ranked the NBA’s top 25 players under age 25 using the following criteria:

This season, we ranked our top 25 under 25 based not on who they are now, but who they can become. It’s not solely based on potential as much as the projection on how much of that full potential can be reached. In a sense, this ranking represents how these players would be drafted if each was available in the draft right now.

Andre Drummond placed No. 3, behind just Anthony Davis and Paul George, and ahead of James Harden and Blake Griffin:

Elhassan: Probably already the best rebounder in the NBA, Drummond’s combination of size, elite athleticism and motor give him the ability to impact the game every time he steps on the court. He’s still raw in terms of skill and feel, but the instincts are there.

Thorpe: He is nowhere near the same player in a fast game as he is in a more deliberate half-court game. Drummond has the ability to both outrace bigs end-to-end or earn deep post position in early offense. Doing so significantly elevates Detroit’s offense and makes him a far more dynamic player.

Pelton: Dwight Howard is the only player with a similarity score better than 90 compared to Drummond, who could become the fourth-youngest All-Star ever after Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Magic Johnson.

Drummond could become the type of superstar whom a team can build a contender around. He’s not to that level yet, but he’s already very good, and he’s so young. Harden and Griffin get more recognition right now, but that Drummond ranks ahead of them in a sober analysis like this is telling.

The last time the Pistons had a player on this level was Grant Hill, and they squandered Hill’s best years. Hopefully, that won’t happen again, because they have another top young player.

Greg Monroe also made list, ranking No. 13:

Elhassan: One has to wonder how much longer Monroe can last in Detroit, where he is part of a crowded frontcourt rotation and surrounded by non-spacers. His ground-bound offensive game relies more on footwork and savvy, and he can put the ball on the floor and beat slower defenders off dribble attacks from the elbows. A good rebounder, Monroe’s defense leaves something to be desired.

Thorpe: Detroit switches a lot off "big-little" screens, meaning Monroe has to guard wings more than most bigs. He has not been an effective defender in one-on-one situations as much as he could be, mostly because he keeps his long arms too low. Getting them up early would help him defend opponents who are driving to the hoop, taking away their easy looks at a runner or jump shot. He does that sometimes, but doing it all the time would elevate his on-the-ball defense to near elite level.

Pelton: Monroe might be the steadiest player on this list going forward. While he’s unlikely to slip in terms of his production, similar players don’t reveal much untapped upside.

Elhassan rightly questions Monroe’s fit, Thorpe is certainly more bullish on Monroe’s defense than I am, and Pelton makes a good point about how much room Monroe has for improvement.

But the Pistons are the only team with two players in the top 15 of this list, and previous caveats included, that something. Heck, it means a lot.

I wish the Pistons still had their 2014 draft pick, which could have added a big contributor to this team. I wish the Pistons had more financial flexibility, because even though they’ll have about $10 million in cap room this summer, I doubt they’ll use all that on any contract longer than two years in order to save room for Drummond’s extension.

But despite their draft and financial limits, the Pistons have more room for internal growth than most teams. I don’t want to them to merely sit and wait for their young talent to ripen, but that alone could work alright.


  • Dec 17, 20135:49 pm
    by Anthony


    Does the 10mil include Monroe’s qualifying offer? or is that number presuming we let everyone go who isn’t under contract? If that counts Monroe’s QO, then I’d say it’s safe to assume that most of that will go towards Monroe. 

    • Dec 17, 20136:40 pm
      by oats


      That is with Monroe’s QO, and that is how much they have to spend on someone other than Monroe. Let me explain. The team will have to renounce Stuckey and CV’s bird rights to get to that $10 million number. They can then spend that money, and then go over the cap to bring back Monroe. So that is spending money, some of which could be used to retain Stuckey. So Venice is half right, but it’s the important half. The team has $10 million to spend while paying Monroe whatever it takes to retain him, but it should be noted that getting Monroe for less than a max deal would not in any way effect how much money the team has to spend this off season since he would be signed after the money is spent.

      • Dec 17, 20136:44 pm
        by oats


        Actually, minor caveat. If Monroe was brought back for less than his qualifying offer of $10.2 million then that would free up cap space. That’s not going to happen, which is why I didn’t think to mention that in the last post. Yet if I’m going for accuracy then I should probably include that.

        • Dec 17, 201310:55 pm
          by anthony


          ah okay that makes sense. but would we be over the cap if we spend the 10mil THEN sign monroe? because idk if management will want to be over the cap given that the pistons arent very profitable yet (not selling out, not exactly winning..) so it may be possible that management uses that money for monroe’s extension only to avoid paying anything extra 

          • Dec 18, 201311:35 am
            by oats

            NBA teams are almost always over the cap. The Pistons are over the cap this year, and have been over pretty much every year. This year it is $3 million over, and if they spend the money and then extend Monroe they will be about $5 million over. That’s not an unusual situation for the Pistons to be in. For the most part, NBA teams don’t care about going over the cap. They care when they go over the luxury tax. The Pistons would still be around $7-8 million below the tax line, so it’s unlikely that they balk at the expense.

          • Dec 18, 20132:41 pm
            by Otis

            Nice explanation, Oats, but I have one note: If the Pistons renounce Stuckey, they’re not bringing him back. I mean, they could in theory but it’s not going to happen. For one thing, I don’t think he’s going to take a significant pay cut. And if he’s making anywhere near what he is now, that doesn’t leave hardly any money for anything else. Heck, if the plan is to bring back Moose and Stuckey and add someone else, they may as well not renounce anyone and just add that new player via the MLE. I mean, the only way you can add Stuckey and also spend more than the MLE is if Stuckey comes back on the cheap. I just don’t see it happening.
            I say this because I’d like everyone to be fully informed about the situation going forward and what our options are so that they can properly evaluate everything and be appropriately outraged at whatever bad decisions are coming up. It’s just not realistic to expect that Stuckey is going to play well enough to warrant the team sticking with him AND take a pay cut. I just don’t see it happening. And with the way he’s playing, it would be insane to just renounce this guy and expect anyone who’s paying attention to believe you’re moving in the right direction. Unless you think all the major pieces are in place for this team to contend almost immediately, there’s no team-based argument for keeping Stuckey past the trade deadline. It could only possibly serve Joe’s selfish campaign to save his job, and we’re just going to come back next season with an automatic step backwards having renounced our best guard.

          • Dec 18, 20136:47 pm
            by oats

            You are right on the nature of the Stuckey deal. It probably would be better to just keep his rights and use the MLE before bringing him back if the goal is to keep him. You are wrong about how big of a deal it is though. He’s a 6th man or a bad starter. Renouncing that kind of player is not an automatic step back because it’s just not that big of a deal, especially for a team with $10 million to spend on getting a better player. That’s why I think it is far more likely that the team just renounces him than anything else.

  • Dec 17, 20136:17 pm
    by Venice


    It is after his max contract. Considering the expiring contracts and the increase in salary cap next year, 10 million is just right.

  • Dec 17, 20138:25 pm
    by Javell


    IF DRUMMOND ISNT VOTED IN BY THE COACHES THEN I PM DONE WITH THE NBA…(Except detroit bball).. If jokiem noah can get the coaches attention andre drummond should

    • Dec 18, 20132:43 pm
      by Otis


      Joakim Noah > Andre Drummond
      It’s not even close. I mean, Dre should end up being the superior player when all is said and done, but Noah does basically a little bit of everything on the court and doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses.

  • Dec 17, 201310:14 pm
    by mike


    Let me start off by saying that i love the moose but its just fun to play around with the espn nba trade machine. so here is my trade tell me what you think.
    The pistons Trade Monroe, Singler, Stuckey, Jerebko, and Villanueva to the boston celetics for Jeff Green, Gerald Walllace, Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and either one of their own first round pics or one they got from the nets.
    For the Pistons they increase their outside shooting, athleticism, defense and get to still have a big front court. Also would give them 5 other players coming off their contracts the same year as Drummond so you would have more then enough to resign him and have money left over. Almost forgot about the first round pick they would also get too(hopefully one for the 2014 draft).
    For the Celtics they would get a building piece in monroe who again made the top 25 under 25, and next year they would have 38 million coming off the books not including resigning Monroe’s contract so it would be around 26 million and if they get Jerebko to not pick up his player contract it would be back up to around 31 million. They can then use this money to reshape the team to rondo’s liking so they don’t have to worry about him leaving and already be back to having a good team next year and making  a serious playoff push.

    • Dec 17, 201310:25 pm
      by Javell


      Why would we ever do a trade that stupid?

    • Dec 17, 201311:40 pm
      by Jacob


      The only trade that makes since with Boston is Jennings, Monroe, Singler, and Charlie for Rondo and Green. If we don’t get Rondo we don’t trade Monroe.

    • Dec 18, 201311:39 am
      by oats


      Jeff Green is a pretty average player, is older than Monroe, and has had serious health concerns in his career. You want Detroit to give them Monroe for that kind of guy and take on bad contracts as well?

    • Dec 18, 20132:44 pm
      by Otis


      I am 100% convinced that this team’s best strategy by a wide margin is to trade Moose by February, but this trade is junk.

  • Dec 17, 201310:36 pm
    by OOtis


    I think Monroe should be #3 and Drummond #13, but outside of that it was a good article.

    • Dec 18, 20132:45 pm
      by Otis


      Hey PP, anything we can do about this asshole who isn’t me posting as double-O Otis? I don’t want people confusing him with the asshole who IS me.

      • Dec 18, 20133:31 pm
        by MIKEYDE248


        Don’t worry, I don’t think any frequent visitor to this site will mistake him for you.

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