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Andre Drummond, East’s best center right now, should be an All-Star this season

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

I have no doubt that Drummond is a future All-Star. He posted 4.5 win shares last season, at age 19, and a large majority of players who even neared that level as a teenager eventually became All-Stars.

Of the 15 players with more than three win shares in a season as a teenager, 11 became All-Stars: Kyrie Irving, Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Tony Parker, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett. Anthony Davis will make that number 12 this season.

Thaddeus Young still has a chance to make an All-Star Game, but that seems extremely unlikely now. Cliff Robinson (not to be confused with the former Piston who went by Clifford and mad the 1994 All-Star Game) never made one.

That leaves Drummond.

With all due respect to Roy Hibbert, Al Horford and Chris Bosh, Drummond is the Eastern Conference’s best center right now. Those three could catch Drummond, maybe even before the All-Star break, but Drummond leads right now with his powerful effectiveness that produces 13.5 points on a league-best 64.6% shooting, 12.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.

Unfortunately, being the best — or even most popular — center in the conference doesn’t guarantee an All-Star berth anymore.

Last season, the NBA switched from starting one center and two forwards to starting three frontcourt players, giving Drummond more competition in the fan vote for starters.

LeBron James is a lock to get one of those spots, and Carmelo Anthony — who has started the last four years and nearly topped LeBron in voting last season — is a safe bet despite a down year.

The third spot is up for grabs, though.

Drummond repeatedly has made the NBA establishment regret sleeping on him. It’s time he stops getting overlooked and gets an All-Star nod this season.

The ball is in Drummond’s court to ensure that the voters, whether they’re fans or coaches, don’t drop it.

53 Comments

  • Dec 6, 201311:32 am
    by apa8ren9

    Reply

    Ive stated this before, I’ve never been enamored with the “all star” concept since the Magic game in ’92, but I’d rather see Drummond’s name on the All-NBA 1st, 2nd or 3rd team rather than complain about an All star slight.   All-NBA are where the real ballers reside. 
     
    A first half of the season commendation should be recognized and that is what the all star game is, but as pointed out in the article it has become a popularity contest.  All-NBA is not based on that whatsoever.

    • Dec 6, 201311:55 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      “All-NBA is not based on that (popularity) whatsoever.”

      You’re joking, right? Remember Kobe on the all-defense second team in 2012? After he put up a bad to very bad defensive season.

      • Dec 6, 201312:12 pm
        by Tyrell

        Reply

        That Kobe incident is more an exception than the rule.

      • Dec 6, 201312:19 pm
        by apa8ren9

        Reply

        Maybe using the word “whatsoever” was a bit strong as there are always exceptions, but I stand by my point.  The all-star game is perceived (IMO) to be a popularity contest.  I dont believe the same perception resides with  the All-NBA team.

        • Dec 6, 20134:31 pm
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          I think the voting portion of the all-star game is perceived as a popularity contest. But while that may mean the wrong guys start, rarely does that put someone on the all-star team who shouldn’t be.

          • Dec 6, 20134:44 pm
            by Max

            It might happen rarely but it still happens way too often.  

  • Dec 6, 201311:32 am
    by seenable

    Reply

    Drummond over Hibbert right now? I think that’s crazy. Hibbert might be the best defensive player in the league right now, and overall is the best center playing in the NBA, if you ask me.
     
    Drummond is great, no doubt, and has exceeded expectations yet again with his steady play this year, but I can’t put him in the same category as Roy Hibbert yet.

    • Dec 6, 201311:53 am
      by Turns

      Reply

      I don’t know man, Hibbert is pretty overrated imo.  He is a frustrating player because he’ll have a monster game and then 4 stinkers.  Drummond in his second year is already averaging better numbers across the board (except blocked shots) than Hibbert in his sixth.  I don’t think Hibbert has ever averaged more than 9 rebounds a game which is pretty sad for somebody that is 7’3″.  He swats a lot of shots but rather mediocre in the rest of his game.

      • Dec 6, 20131:21 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        There’s a few things you have to keep in mind when discussing Hibbert. First of all, this is the most minutes he’s ever played, and it’s still just 30.8 minutes a game. He’s just not on the court enough to get many more rebounds. He gets a pretty reasonable 10.6 rebounds per 36 this year, and that is pretty much what he did the two years prior to this as well. Those definitely aren’t Drummond type of numbers, but he is definitely a good rebounder.
         
        The other thing you have to take into account is system. They have Hibbert being pretty aggressive as a shot blocker, and make up for moving him away from the basket by gang rebounding. Seriously, look at the rebounding numbers of their starters. Paul George gets 5.9 a game, Stephenson pulls in 6.6, West gets 7.3, and Hibbert is getting 9.1. Oh, and even George Hill pulls in a very respectable 3.5. Hibbert is the leading rebounder on a very good rebounding team. They are the 7th ranked team in rebounds per game despite being 22nd in the league in pace. Of the 6 teams ahead of them in rebounds per game, 5 of them are in the top 6 in pace. Simply put, there are fewer rebounds available to the Pacers than those other teams because there are fewer possessions. The Pacers are a menace on the boards, and Hibbert does play a big role in that.

        • Dec 6, 20134:29 pm
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          For both mitigating factors you mention, how is Drummond in a different situation? He doesn’t get huge minutes (currently at a career high with 32.7) and his teammates are really good rebounders.

          • Dec 6, 20135:38 pm
            by oats

            To be honest, I’m not saying it isn’t a factor for Drummond. I’m more clarifying why Hibbert’s rebounding isn’t as bad as Turns seemed to think it was. The point was that Hibbert failing to get to 9 rebounds a game wasn’t all that big of a deal. I wasn’t actually arguing that Hibbert definitely belongs in ahead of Drummond, although I do think the two are close enough that I won’t be that upset if Hibbert makes it and Drummond doesn’t.
             
            If Hibbert’s candidacy were based solely on his scoring and rebounds then he doesn’t belong in ahead of Drummond. That really isn’t the case though. He is the backbone of the league’s best defense, and he’s a shot blocking machine. Drummond plays defense like a second year player. He is prone to mistakes and his shot blocking has dropped off quite a bit this year. Plus Drummond’s free throw shooting makes him a major liability at the end of a game while Hibbert makes a respectable 76% of his free throws this year. I’d say that’s a reasonable argument for proclaiming Hibbert the better player at least.

        • Dec 6, 20134:46 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          If PER really means anything than Drummond is at least a full tier better than Hibbert.  That said, I’ve never really been sure that PER does mean anything.  

          • Dec 6, 20135:50 pm
            by oats

            It’s a really flawed stat to be honest. I know I don’t have a lot of use for it. Even using stats I like I would come to the conclusion that Drummond is the guy. The argument for Hibbert is based on defense though, and unfortunately the stats don’t do a good job of measuring that side of the ball. It’s gotten better, but it’s just too complicated to really get a good feel for. I don’t see how it’s all that debatable that Hibbert is currently playing better defense than Drummond, but actually quantifying it in a way to compare it to what Drummond is doing as a rebounding and dunking machine is really hard to do. Is he a lot better or just a bit better? I really don’t know the answer to that.
             
            I think I’ll take Drummond as the best center in the East, but it is really close. Hibbert has the fact that his team is one of 2 Eastern Conference teams that actually matter and his show case in last year’s playoffs going for him. If only one of them makes the All Star game then I expect it will be Hibbert, and I’m ok with that. Drummond will get his recognition in time.

          • Dec 6, 201311:43 pm
            by Max

            Hibbert does play better defense than Drummond so far but Drummond’s steals are almost as gaudy as Hibbert’s blocks as he’s the best big by far in the league.  His steals are dynamic to boot as he gets out in passing lanes and goes the length of the floor for dunks and picks point guards pockets in the pick and roll. 

    • Dec 6, 20135:14 pm
      by T Casey

      Reply

      Drummond vs Hibbert is a good debate. I personally think Hibbert would be the safer choice at this point in their career’s because he’s got more experience and is more polished overall. Drummond is a more explosive and eye catching player, but he’s prone to making more mistakes and isn’t as sharp all around as a player. Looking ahead though, I’d take Drummond any day of the week. He’s still in his teens in the middle of his second season and he’s in the already discussion for best center in the east. He’s got far more potential than Hibbert does.
      Biggest thing that could derail Drummond is if his high flying play begins to catch up with him physically.

  • Dec 6, 201311:54 am
    by LT

    Reply

    I seriously doubt he will start. James, Anthony and George all seem like we should be writing in their names with a Sharpie. But, in a down Eastern conference, i expect both Drummond and Jennings to make the team.

    • Dec 6, 201312:03 pm
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      Jennings is an extreme long shot.

      I expect Wade and Irving to get voted in. Then Jennings would have to beat out at least 3 of D-Will, Wall, Johnson, Hill. Unless the Pistons start playing significantly better ball, he’ll get lumped in with Teague, Walker, Lowry, MCW, Beal, and Oladipo.

      • Dec 6, 20131:46 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        Don’t forget Afflalo and Turner. Afflalo should be a lock for the All Star game since he’s probably been the best guard in the conference. As I understand it, the coaches could actually put Turner in as a front court player if they wanted, but they might put him in as a guard like he appears on the ballot. The East has Afflalo, Turner, and Beal all putting up 20+ points a game, and Wall is putting up 19 points and 9 assists. Oh, and MCW is a rookie putting up 18 points, 7 assists, and 3 steals. If everyone keeps playing at this pace then I don’t see how Jennings makes it ahead of any of those guys.

        • Dec 6, 20134:24 pm
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          Yeah, I can’t remember everyone. The point is that either Jennings has to establish himself as the best player on a fringe playoff team (or maaaybe the second best best if the third best is far behind) or else the Pistons will have to start rivaling Miami and Indiana for Jennings to garner serious consideration.

          • Dec 6, 20134:48 pm
            by Max

            I don’t even see D Will, Johnson or Hill as candidates to make it ahead of Jennings but I still doubt Jennings will make the team.   On the other hand, Jennings assists keep going up and he could wind up leading the east in assists before too long.  

  • Dec 6, 201311:56 am
    by ZekeKhaseli

    Reply

    Drummond and Jennings making all-star appearance will be sight to sore eyes

  • Dec 6, 201312:14 pm
    by Brigs

    Reply

    Ive been thinking about the possibility of him gettin into the all star game since the begining of the season. If he keeps these numbers up I don’t think it will matter if he doesn’t get voted in because the coaches will pick him, as long as we are playing well he should be a shoo in for the bench at least

    • Dec 6, 201312:51 pm
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      How so? He’s the 4th best player on a .500ish team.

      • Dec 6, 20131:45 pm
        by Jon

        Reply

        for the past couple weeks he has been the best player on the team. if he keeps up his recent numbers, especially the slightly improved free shooting, he’ll be widely recognized as best on the team by seasons end

        • Dec 6, 20133:45 pm
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          The past 14 days bring us back to the 22nd. Over the 8 games played in that time frame, Jennings has not been close to the best player on the team.

          Drummond: 15.5 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 0.1 apg, 2.0 spg, 1.1 bpg, 1.0 topg, 64/0/43
          Monroe: 13.8 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.0 spg, 0.6 bpg, 1.6 topg, 52/0/69
          Stuckey: 18.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.8 topg, 48/27/83
          Jennings: 15.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 9.8 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.1 bpg, 4.5 topg, 37/35/85

          Let’s sum these up into “game score” just so we have a single number to compare (recognizing that that isn’t a perfect method): those four players get 16.4, 12.5, 12.2, and 11.5 respectively.

          Smith has struggled lately, so yes, Jennings has outplayed him. Stuckey vs Jennings is pretty much a wash. You want to say Jennings has been better? That’s fine. Monroe has clearly been better than Jennings. Their stats are nearly identical is you swap rebounds and assists, but Jennings turns it over almost three times as often. But a case for Jennings being better than Drummond is so bogus that Manti Te’o has probably already proposed to it.

          And that’s just the past two weeks, your self-selected span which gives Jennings an edge (especially over Monroe and Smith). I’ve got news for you, the first eleven games of the season count too.

          • Dec 6, 20134:50 pm
            by Trysdor

            Both Brigs and Jon are talking about Drummond, not Jennings. 
            Reading comprehension.

          • Dec 6, 201310:06 pm
            by Jon

            ^this

          • Dec 7, 201312:34 am
            by Tim Thielke

            My bad. Too much talk above about Jennings got me confused.

      • Dec 6, 20134:51 pm
        by Max

        Reply

        Assists are worth much more than rebounds and they are a much rarer stat.   Jennings assists numbers either are elite or at least much closer to elite than Monroe’s rebounding numbers.   Turnovers are also much more acceptable from a high usage point guard than a big of any sort.  

        • Dec 7, 201312:38 am
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          Assists are rare than rebounds. That makes them more valuable in fantasy. in reality, well, it’s kinda hard to say.

          High TO numbers are more common and therefore more acceptable from a PG than from a big, but they are just as hurtful from anyone. The reason they are more tolerable from a PG is because he is presumably passing and racking up assists. So,if nothing else, all those TOs really take a lot of the shine off of the assist numbers.

          • Dec 7, 20132:09 am
            by Max

            There are basically no starting point guards who don’t average 2 turnovers or more.   George Hill is the one exception I can think of in the last decade or so but he’s barely a point guard in the traditional sense in terms of how the Pacers play.   
            On the other hand, I don’t like for any big to average more than 2 turnovers so my point stands because if you’re not going to accept more than 2 turnovers a game from your starting point guard you are going to have to find a way not to play a point guard in the traditional sense.   Finding bigs who average less than 2 turnovers on the other hand isn’t really that hard to do.  
            Also, tying turnovers to assists is pretty artificial.   I prefer to think of turnovers in relation to total production and usage since my basic assumption is that almost anyone who gets the ball a lot will turn the ball over.
            As for your point about rebounding versus assists: you’re right about fantasy but would you really argue that all other stats being equal that you’d prefer to have a player who averages nine rebounds than 9 assists?   The rareness isn’t just significant in terms of fantasy but also in regards to looking at the number of players who put up such stats.   If you want a 9 assist point guard you’ve got about 3 -5 options right now who could achieve that number whereas there has got to be around 25-30 players who could achieve that number of rebounds.    And again, my point is that 9 assists is elite whereas 9 rebounds is not.    

          • Dec 7, 20135:19 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            If you are going to apply that logic, then Monroe’s assist rate is comparably valuable to Jennings’ because he produces well above average for his position. And his stealing and scoring rates are much more valuable.

            if you want to present what percentile both players are in for each stat relative to the position they play and make a case based on that, knock yourself out. But you can’t just pick out one stat and do that because obviously that selection will unfairly swing the overall analysis in one direction or the other. Either do it for all the stats or none. Personally, I prefer the latter because no matter the positional norms, it still hurts the Pistons just as much when Jennings turns the ball over as when Monroe does.

          • Dec 8, 201312:34 am
            by Max

            By your logic, Steve Nash never would have sniffed an MVP or earned many laurels whatsoever since he led the league in turnovers every year he was great.   To be honest though, I never thought Nash was even a top ten player anyway.  

          • Dec 8, 201312:37 am
            by Max

            Also, for what you are saying to be true Monroe would have to averaging over 4 assists a game or at least come close.   2.3 assists is not elite for a power forward and doesn’t even put him in the neighborhood of an elite passing center like Marc Gasol.  

  • Dec 6, 201312:40 pm
    by menten

    Reply

    horford is a better player than drummond right now

  • Dec 6, 201312:59 pm
    by Otis

    Reply

    Naturally I have some complaints about this. Namely that it comes off as paranoid and it’s at least a full season too soon to start getting our pubes in a twist about Drummond not getting the respect he deserves. If he continues to play the way he has been, he’ll make an All-Star team. It’s not even an issue. Settle down.
     
    Anyhow, believe it or not, I actually almost just bit my tongue and moved on, because Dan has been rather sensitive to my well-intended constructive criticism, plus Detroit Bad Boys just started doing this thing where they’re aggressively scapegoating Josh Smith on an institutional level, as if he landed here on his own rather than being signed by our Teflon GM, and as if trading him would solve any of our problems (ignoring the matter of who would take him, what could we get for him, etc). So yeah the more they do that, the more I appreciate this place, blemishes and all. That said…
     
     
    “The ball is in Drummond’s court to ensure that the voters, whether they’re fans or coaches, don’t drop it.”
     
    Wait, what? Who has the ball? Drummond or the voters? You can’t drop the ball if someone else is holding it. I swear man, you’ll be so much better off if you just keep it simple. Don’t force things. It’s like basketball; you’re better off playing within yourself. Embrace your limitations and you’ll maximize your potential. The harder you try to be cute or clever or whatever, the writing just suffers more and more. There’s probably an appropriate metaphor to sum up the situation, but that definitely isn’t it.
     
    PS: Thanks again for not being DBB. I don’t offer them any helpful critiques because I don’t believe in them or what they do. We’re not a perfect bunch, but we’re better than those guys.
     

    • Dec 6, 20131:19 pm
      by MIKEYDE248

      Reply

      Don’t force things. It’s like basketball; you’re better off playing within yourself. Embrace your limitations and you’ll maximize your potential.
      I guess this goes for everyone except Monroe, who needs to turn into Josh Smith and start jacking up bad shots to better the team.

      • Dec 6, 20131:33 pm
        by Otis

        Reply

        No no no. You got it all backwards. If he can’t do power forward-y things like shoot from 15 feet or defend power forwards, this team should stop calling him one and sandwiching him between another center and an actual power forward. Moose a center. He should play center and he should do it on someone else’s roster. The problem is that we’ve been told ever since Drummond got drafted that Moose was going to make the necessary adjustments to change position, but what do you know, he’s still the same ol’ center we drafted. Gosh.

        • Dec 6, 20131:50 pm
          by oats

          Reply

          This again. Moose is not a center in today’s NBA any more than he is a PF. He doesn’t protect the rim or defend centers well either. There are tons of other PFs that can’t hit that 15 footer, yet somehow Monroe’s failure to do it makes him not a PF. This is nonsense. Monroe doesn’t have a real position. He’s a big man, and he would play PF for quite a few teams in the league and C for a few more. The reason he’s more likely to play C is that it’s harder to find quality centers. That doesn’t change the fact that Monroe is not really a center though, just that it is the position he is most likely to end up playing if he weren’t in Detroit.

          • Dec 6, 20132:14 pm
            by MIKEYDE248

            Exactly.  Why do you think they got rid of the center in the All Star Game?

  • Dec 6, 20131:51 pm
    by pistons moribund

    Reply

    Perception is the reality of getting votes.  Until the Pistons start winning a lot of games, then the same old bums will get the nod.  Kobe will probably get in this year even though he hasn’t played a game.  A.I. got in the year he was with the pistons.  Its silly to discuss this based on merit simply because this is not a merit based system.  If this was hockey, then maybe there would be something to talk about, but alas, just enjoy the spectacle and be thankful that Dre will have time to rest and recover.

    • Dec 6, 20133:30 pm
      by apa8ren9

      Reply

      ^^ This

    • Dec 6, 20134:55 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      You’d be right if there wasn’t only two teams in the east who have separated themselves from Detroit.  

  • Dec 6, 20132:11 pm
    by oats

    Reply

    I honestly don’t know how convinced I am that Drummond is the best center in the East. Hibbert is the defensive backbone of the best defensive team in the league. Horford is arguably the best two way center in the conference and maybe the league. He is a very solid defender, a good passer for a big man, and a guy that score in a bunch of different ways. Drummond is a rebounding and dunking machine. If he could hit 50% of his free throws then I’d give it to him, but 37% is just atrocious. He’s a major liability down the stretch of a close game, and that seriously opens things up for Hibbert and Horford. I think I’m leaning towards Drummond as the best center, but it’s too close for me to get worked up with someone going another direction with it.

  • Dec 6, 20132:41 pm
    by Jacob

    Reply

    You’re right that the ball is in Drummond’s court, but only to a certain extent. Maybe even more important for him getting an all-star spot is the team’s success. I’ve thought the past few seasons that Greg Monroe deserved to be an all-star ahead of Roy Hibbert just based on numbers, but of course since the Pacers were winning it was out of the question to anyone outside of Pistons fans. But if the Pistons win and Andre keeps playing like he is (2 things that go hand in hand) then there won’t be any caveat to him being an all-star. 

  • Dec 6, 20133:01 pm
    by Vic

    Reply

    If they keep winning like they have the past week, they’ll have at least two all-stars: two out of Drummond Jennings and Monroe. Between Monroe and Jennings, it’ll be whichever one steps up to be the most consistent and help Drummond get the team wins.
    Smith misses too many jump shots, but I actually think he’d have a chance if they played him backup power forward. But I don’t think they do that until after the All-Star game, so that he couldn’t blame them for not making All-Star team.
     

    • Dec 6, 20134:45 pm
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      How could Smith blame the Pistons for his not making the all-star team? He didn’t make it in 7 tries with Atlanta.

    • Dec 6, 20134:57 pm
      by Max

      Reply

      Smith has no chance and isn’t in the conversation.   He’s the third best big on the Pistons so far and behind Drummond by miles.   At small forward, James, Melo and George are locks so there’s no room to even talk about Smith.  

      • Dec 6, 20136:34 pm
        by oats

        Reply

        To be fair, Smith’s not really competing against those guys directly. There is a lot of flexibility on how the coaches pick the roster around the starters. Smith doesn’t have to be thought of as a SF by the coaches, and neither do Melo and James for that matter.
         
        Still, you are right that Smith isn’t in the conversation. He is not a candidate because he has been pretty bad. 14 and 7 while shooting less than 40% and turning it over a lot is not an All Star candidate. Smith needs to play way better down the stretch to even enter the conversation for fringe candidates.

        • Dec 6, 201311:46 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          I was trying to express that Smith doesn’t belong as a big or a small forward so far.  

  • Dec 6, 20135:25 pm
    by Windy

    Reply

    I think Hibbert is better now but Dre be better mogilny forward…Dre will polish up his D in the years to come as well as get better from the line IMO…Dre is a beast and the foundation of this team no doubt…

  • Dec 7, 20131:33 am
    by Javell

    Reply

    If ppl think hibbert is better than andre than they dont know nba basketball… All roy do is use his 7″3 height to block shots… He not explosive at all… I can remember drose blocking his dunk attempt…. He soft and andre is a way better all around player..sets better screens. Run the floor harder and denfend ball handlers..(ask dwade) dre better

  • Dec 7, 20133:30 am
    by pistons moribund

    Reply

    Dre actually has a very similar game to Dwight Howard.  They both run the floor well, rebound, and block shots.  They’re both awful from the stripe and have no mid range game.  Howard has somewhat of a post game and may be a bit polished but also has a bit more experience.  But his drama and past success has anointed him a much bigger presence then his play actually deserves.  Hence perception vs reality.

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