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Andre Drummond and Rasheed Wallace working on post-ups

Howard Megdal of Sports on Earth:

Drummond was out on the floor hours before the game, too, working with an animated Rasheed Wallace (is there any other kind?) on his post game. That’s the next big weapon for Drummond, and it is coming along nicely.

"He’s definitely been a big help for me," Drummond said. "He’s taught me a lot. My back-to-the-basket game is getting better. I’ve learned a lot of moves that before, I wasn’t doing. I’m actually doing — last night, or the night before, I think it was — I did a drop-step spin move into a layup. I haven’t done that, ever. It’s working on things like that, that get me really excited."

"My back-to-the-basket game, and my pick-and-roll defense," Drummond said of his biggest current challenges.

The biggest challenge Andre Drummond faces with his back-to-the-basket game might be Greg Monroe and Josh Smith.

On a basic level, those two are just better than Drummond right now at post-ups, and that’s why Maurice Cheeks calls their number more often. Here’s how many post-ups and points per post-up each player has had this season, according to MySynergySports:

  • Monroe: 201, 0.79
  • Smith: 163, 0.75
  • Drummond: 51, 0.73

For a team trying to win right now, it makes sense to give more post-ups to Monroe, and when the matchup dictates, Smith. Drummond might have the highest ceiling for that type of play, but the Pistons’ margin for error is too small to let him correct his mistakes during games.

The other issue is the Pistons’ well-documented spacing issues when Smith, Monroe and Drummond play together – which has happened for 57 percent of Drummond’s minutes this season.

Post-ups generally are not a reliable way to score efficiently, though I believe it’s possible Drummond some day becomes an exception to the rule. But they are helpful for getting the defense to collapse and kicking to open shooters. Drummond, a solid passer, can make that play.

Unfortunately, the defenses already collapses against the Pistons’ jumbo front line, and Drummond has few, if any, shooters to kick to.

I really like Drummond’s potential as a back-to-the-basket player. He’s looked brilliant posting up at times this season. But he’s also looked horrid, and it will be a while until that becomes a reliable part of his game.

As far as Drummond’s other focus, pick-and-roll defense, Synergy rates him very well already. He ranks 38th in the NBA in defending the roll man this and was 36th last year. This is an area where I believe Synergy’s numbers don’t tell the whole story, as there have been numerous cases of confusion in pick-and-roll coverage that would leave Drummond free of blame in the database but not reality. However, the numbers at least indicate someone with big potential here, too – which completely matches the eye test when you see such a huge man move so quickly.

If you read Megdal’s piece, much wider reaching than the part I excerpted, he tries to explain why Drummond has succeeded in the NBA despite so many doubting him entering the league. There are a lot of factors, but Monroe explains a prominent one:

"He’s just been putting in the work," Greg Monroe explained to me, sitting at his locker prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. "From the outside, you guys don’t understand it. But being around him every day, we’re not surprised within the organization."

At this point, none of us should be surprised anymore. And for that reason, we shouldn’t be surprised when Drummond steadily improves his back-to-the-basket offense and pick-and-roll defense, either.

23 Comments

  • Jan 20, 20146:53 am
    by gmehl

    Reply

    So until Monroe is traded for a close to equal value wing + fillers continuing our silly big 3 experiment is stunting Drummonds game. I know it’s not mooses fault but he’s the odd guy out. Smith, Monroe and Drummond playing alongside one other are making each other worse. I i like many envisioned this team being a decisive juggernaut that would struggle to score… how wrong we all were.

    • Jan 20, 20146:54 am
      by gmehl

      Reply

      *defensive juggernaut

  • Jan 20, 20147:48 am
    by Kaneda

    Reply

    Monoroe is not the odd guy out. The plan was and is for this team to contend in about 3 years time when Monroe will be in his prime and Drummond will be just a step behind (hopefully KCP can be added to the list).
    So, the odd man out is Josh Smith. Unless you are expecting to contend with a 30something Smith, who will start losing his athleticism, and from all the years we’ve seen Smith play, he is nothing without his elite athleticism.

    • Jan 20, 20147:52 am
      by Kaneda

      Reply

      forgot to add Mo Cheeks to the list of odd men out.

    • Jan 20, 201410:38 am
      by Tim Thielke

      Reply

      “The plan was and is…”

      You’re awfully optimistic there, assuming that Dumars actually has a plan beyond “get the best players I can”.

      • Jan 20, 201411:05 am
        by Kaneda

        Reply

        I like to think that’s what Dumars had in mind when signing Smith. He got two players that would, at least on paper, make us immediately better than the last few years. The goal was to start making the playoffs so our young guys can gain experience while not affecting our future. Don’t forget that Smith’s contract expires at the time we would need to extend Drummond.
         
        Don’t get me wrong, Dumars has made a lot of bad moves, but to think that Dumars has no plan is a bit extreme. As I’ve said in previous posts, I still think this year’s roster and team would be much better with a good coach. The Cheeks hire was the biggest offseason failure imo.

        • Jan 20, 201412:25 pm
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          Is there any evidence that “playoff experience” actually helps teams win? Having lots of talent helps teams win. And having lots of talent also helps to create playoff experience.

          But if “the plan” was to spend $20M/yr and a draft pick to get some playoff experience before hitting “the window”, that sounds worse than having no plan at all.

          • Jan 20, 20141:42 pm
            by Kaneda

            name me a team that has gone on to contend without any prior playoff experience.
             
            I’m not going to sit here and defend Smith or Dumars. But waiting to draft is no plan either. Yeah, we lost a draft pick because of Dumars decision to give Gordon an awful contract. The last time there was a stacked draft we ended up with Darko. Who is to say Dumars doesn’t botch this draft as well, even though the majority of his picks over the last couple of years have been solid

          • Jan 20, 20141:43 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            Name me a team without any prior playoff experience.

          • Jan 20, 20141:50 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            You completely missed my point. Of course most good teams have prior experience in the playoffs. Good teams are made of good players and good players get into the playoffs more often than not.

            Getting into the playoffs may make them better in some way, but how can we tell? When more than half of the league makes the postseason, most players get a taste of the playoffs on their rookie deals. Whether they do so or not, they usually improve because they’re young players.

            If I claim that eating oranges will make you smart because most smart people have eaten oranges, that’s weak. And the burden of proof is on me. Likewise, you have the burden of proof here to show the developmental value of being bounced from the playoffs. The null hypothesis, in most instances, is no effect.

          • Jan 20, 20142:07 pm
            by Huddy

            Dumars might not draft the right guy because he made a mistake and took a player who most had ranked right where he was picked so draft picks aren’t valuable…another sterling argument.  the team has lost a game before maybe they should stop showing up.

          • Jan 20, 20143:04 pm
            by Kaneda

            where did I say draft picks aren’t valuable? You are making up your own shit as the conversation goes along. I just hinted at the fact that a draft pick isn’t going to guarantee the franchise a great player.
             
            Did Dumars fuck up by giving away this year’s 1st rounder? Sure. But saying that this draft will benefit the team in the long run isn’t a guarantee.

          • Jan 20, 20143:27 pm
            by Huddy

            “Who is to say Dumars doesn’t botch this draft” isnt a good argument to try and defend your position.  Trying to defend one “plan” over another by making an obvious positive asset(a draft pick) seem less important by citing a Past failure doesn’t strengthen your argument.  Every plan has a chance to fail so pointing out that one could fail isn’t useful.  Is there any plan for the organization that is a guarantee?  Is paying josh and grooming the young players with him in the starting line up and then removing him and making a title run a guarantee?  No.   the question is what makes more sense.  I think drafting another player and then waiting a year for that player and the other young guys to get more experience and spending on a better fitting piece makes more sense than this current smith experiment, but hey it seems to be going great.
             
             

          • Jan 20, 20143:43 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            I’m still waiting for that illustrious example of any team that had no prior playoff experience. Obviously there are the teams from the NBA’s inaugural season. And maaaaybe it happened to an expansion team at some point. That’s gotta be about it.

          • Jan 20, 20144:14 pm
            by Kaneda

            First off I’m not defending Smith. I am a big Monroe fan. So, this situation is pissing me off as well. This conversation initially started with me stating that A) Smith is the odd man out, in response to gmehl’s post and 2) with a good coach, instead of Mo, this experiment could have turned out a lot better for us. That is my belief. Then I continued by saying that the plan for the team is…. (don’t want to repeat myself). Based on Dumars’ moves this past offseason that’s how I see/interpret it. Regardless of how it pans out, I can understand why he would do something like that. 
            @Tim: You still haven’t answered my question. Name me one team that has gone on to contend for a title without any playoff experience? We are coming off of 5 losing seasons and 4 of those with no post season presence. You expect us to go on to contend for a title without gaining any post season experience? The current Pistons have no playoff experience.

          • Jan 20, 20144:22 pm
            by Tim Thielke

            I haven’t answered your question because there are no such teams, contenders or otherwise.

            These current Pistons have playoff experience. Smith, Jennings, Billups, Bynum, and Stuckey have all played in the postseason.

      • Jan 20, 20144:46 pm
        by Kaneda

        Reply

        So 1 season of exiting (Bynym, Jennings) in the 1st round is considered playoff experience? Billups is done. So that leaves Stuckey and Smith. Yeah we are full of experience
         

        • Jan 20, 20145:09 pm
          by Tim Thielke

          Reply

          So playing in the playoffs doesn’t count as playoff experience?

          Perhaps you should define your term because maybe I can give you some examples of contenders who didn’t have any prior postseason experience if one-and-dones don’t count, players on the fringes of the rotation don’t count, and I get to write off at least two guys who have experience that would count even by your contrived perspective.

    • Jan 20, 201411:00 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      If the plan was to contend in 3 years why is Smith here?  So they can lose a draft pick by picking up meaningless wins?  The plan is to win now.  Not saying that’s the best plan, but the organization has made that clear.

      • Jan 20, 201411:13 am
        by Kaneda

        Reply

        As I said in the post above. The plan is to win now so our young guys can gain playoff experience. It’s not to contend now. There is a huge difference. I also think I explained my thoughts on why Smith is here now.

        • Jan 20, 201411:27 am
          by Huddy

          Reply

          So the team benefits by not acquiring more players via the draft because they play 1-2 play off series and lose?  Monroe benefits from playing second fiddle to Smith even though he’s already proven himself a capable starter?  If Dumars thinks a handful of losing playoff games is more important than a top 8 pick in this years draft then that is a horrible plan.  In addition, if Monroe/drummond are the future wouldnt it make more sense to have them play together and build chemistry for a couple years as opposed to putting Smith in and severely reducing their time together and then removing Smith and expecting the team to all of the sudden change it’s make up again?  if you are somehow right and this is Joes plan then it is worse than if he actually thinks the team is ready the way it is.

          • Jan 20, 201411:33 am
            by Kaneda

            I said that Monroe is the future of the team. Not Smith. The fact that Monroe is 2nd fiddle to Smith on offense is on the coach.

  • Jan 20, 201410:02 am
    by ITS OFFICIAL I HATE CHEEKS

    Reply

    I notice that spin move

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