Andre Drummond’s Rising Stars Challenge MVP says a lot about his future, even more about his present
The Rising Stars Challenge Trophy split in two, and its presenter, the president of the company that sponsors the game, looked flummoxed. He quickly jammed his microphone into someone else’s hands, picked up the trophy and tried in vain to screw the pieces together.
Andre Drummond smiled and laughed. Calmly, he took the trophy from the presenter and held the pieces together proudly over his head.
It was as if Drummond had done this a million times before.
Of course, he hadn’t. Whether it was accepting a broken trophy or his insane output – 30 points and 25 rebounds in 28 minutes – Drummond had an exceptional Friday.
But here’s what’s most amazing about Drummond’s breakout performance: It wasn’t a complete anomaly.
Drummond didn’t hog the ball like so many other MVPs in these exhibition games. Though he took 21 shots, 50 percent more than anyone else on his team, half his points came on putbacks. Drummond was simply just beating everyone on both teams to unclaimed balls.
His field-goal percentage in the game (57.1) was actually lower than his season mark (61.1). Though his impressive (for him) 6-for-8 free-throw shooting boosted it his true shooting percentage to 61.2 Friday, he’s bested that in 24 games this season.
His rebounding was more exceptional, but even that wasn’t totally out of line for the NBA’s best rebounder. Based on a quick back-of-the-envelope estimate, Drummond grabbed about 40 percent of available rebounds Friday. As incredible as that is, he had a rebounding percentage of 46.1 in the Pistons’ win over the Heat in December. He grabbed 18 rebounds in that one, his total rising Friday thanks to the faster pace, but the percentage is more meaningful.
This is who Drummond can be on a team that features him prominently. Right now.
He won’t produce numbers like this every night. That’s not reasonable. But he can play like this.
“I had the mindset this year of coming out here … and showing the league that I could play in Sunday’s game and that I’m able to hang with the big guys,” Drummond said after the game.
That is absolutely true. Drummond should have been an All-Star this season, but he left the door too wide open for others to be selected ahead of him.
Soon enough, Drummond will make the big game, and I look forward to it. More than that, I look forward to the time Drummond plays like this frequently for the Pistons.
It could come any day now.
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