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Andre Drummond, aspiring pick and roll smotherer

As with any Q and A Zach Lowe does, you should go read his entire chat with Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley on Grantland. But if you’re looking for a cool Pistons-related piece, Lowe was talking with Conley about big men who are great at defending pick and rolls, and Andre Drummond’s name came up:

Flip it the other way. When you’re running a pick-and-roll on offense, which defender concerns you more: the point guard covering you, or the big man covering the screener and helping on you?

The bigger concern is the big guy, and then the help-side defense. That’s what I’m reading most of the time. I trust my big guy to get me open with the pick, so I’m more worried about their man and the guys coming to the weak side — so that I know who I might be able to hit with a pass, or if I might have the opportunity to score myself.

Which big man has given you the most trouble in your career?

I always thought Kevin Garnett was the best. He probably still is. Andre Drummond is pretty good at it.

That’s a surprising name to hear.

Oh, he’s long, and he’s so quick with his hands. He’s really agile.

He does get a lot of steals.

Yep. You have to watch for that every time you come off of pick-and-rolls.


  • Mar 6, 20144:50 pm
    by pistonspoland


    The best thing is that Dre is terrible P&R defender 

    • Mar 6, 20145:00 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Fundamentally, yes — I loved Lowe’s politically correct “that’s a surprising name” response, because I believe he’s actually written about Drummond’s poor P and R defense before.

      But Conley’s point is a good one too — Drummond is so long and such a freak athlete that, even when his positioning is bad, he still makes plays and disrupts offenses because he can get deflections and steals.

      If opposing players already think of him as a P and R obstacle, imagine what they’ll have to deal with when he actually figures out how to play fundamentally sound defense? Scary.

      • Mar 6, 20148:44 pm
        by Oracle


        Totally agree with that statement, Drummond is a true budding star by almost any measure!

      • Mar 6, 201411:42 pm
        by Max


        One thing though, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a big with Drummond’s flair for picking point guard’s pockets in the pick and roll or when he winds up isolated against a guard following a pick and roll.   Remember when he stole the ball from Wade twice in a row?   He does have some special skills in terms of defending that play but he’s not well rounded and he doesn’t have enough smarts.  

        • Mar 7, 20141:14 pm
          by Tom Y,


          There’s absolutely nothing I’ve heard from Dre that tells me he lacks smarts. Dude’s intelligent, positive and has already improved incredibly since coming to the league. He’s just raw and needs good coaching. Unfortunately I’m not sure the coaching staff is focused enough on making him an elite defender. BTW, it’s very hard for a big (especially a young and raw big) to play good D when the coach has poor defensive schemes and the perimeter is so porous.

  • Mar 6, 20144:52 pm
    by sebastian


    Yo, Patrick, and the rest of the PistonPowered staff, more power to you’all at working to coming up with interesting and compelling topics, as the sun sets on this pitiful 2013-2014 NBA season for OUR Detroit Pistons.
    What a huge, f@ckin’ disappointment. (Please pardon my use of profanity.)
    Thanks for you and your colleagues work on the PP Board.

    • Mar 6, 20145:02 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      No apologies necessary for profanity around here.

      And after the last five years, let’s just say we’ve become experts at trying to find any little thing possible to write about to make this franchise seem interesting. I have hope that next year will be our first chance to write about a playoff team here.

  • Mar 6, 20145:14 pm
    by gmehl


    Even though it wasn’t in a P and R situation the first thing I thought of when I read this article was last season when Dre picked Wade’s pocket twice. I’m sure we all right then and there saw that this kid all the tools in the world to be something special on that end of the floor.

  • Mar 6, 20149:18 pm
    by I HATE LOSING (Predicting A Strong Finish)


    It’s all fundamentals….he has gotten better and better at defending the pick and roll this year

  • Mar 6, 20149:39 pm
    by frankie d


    Drummond needs to take a grad-level course in defending the P&R from ben wallace over the summer.   Stick those two guys in a gym with enough guys to run drills and drummond could become a bigger, badder version if ben.  He could terrorize offenses.  He just needs some good, solid coaching.  Lets hope he gets it.

  • Mar 7, 201410:36 am
    by ryank


    Seems like he defends guard penetration well, but doesn’t show all that much.  

  • Mar 7, 20142:08 pm
    by Zdwtr


    These guys hit the nail in the head: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eMZRrK62W9c

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