Andre Drummond is an absolute monster.
Drummond is a freak, a beast, a rebounding machine, and everything in between. The writing has been on the wall for several years. Stan Van Gundy has wanted to use Drummond as a mini-Dwight Howard in a lineup that spreads the floor all for him. Drummond is the rebound eating vortex in Van Gundy’s master plan.
Early this week, Drummond was averaging 20.3 points and 20.3 rebounds per game. Small sample indeed. But, seriously? With averages as high as his, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Drummond leads the league in the base rebounding stats: rebounding (137), offensive rebounds (48), as well as offensive/defensive/total rebounding percentage (18.5%/36.5%/27.2%).
Against the Indiana Pacers, Drummond snuck out of the lane to avoid a 3-second violation and then got back into position as Stanley Johnson fired a 3-pointer in enough time to snag the offensive rebound.1 The relevant portion starts with about 15 seconds left on the shot clock below.
Drummond isn’t just collecting rebounds on a team that is spacing the floor and holding position away from the basket either. Of players averaging more than five contested rebounds per game,2 Drummond has the highest contested rebound percentage at 47.4%.3
On the offensive glass alone, Drummond is taking it to opposing bigs. The big man is leading the league with 6.9 offensive rebounds per game (2nd – Gobert 3.7), which is just .7 rebounds per game behind the Los Angeles Clippers as a team. What makes his offensive rebounding so special is not the overall number, it’s how he’s doing it. Drummond is right in line with the other top guys in uncontested offensive rebounds.4 But, at 5.4 contested offensive rebounds per game, he is 2.1 full contested offensive rebounds ahead of second place. Going with the comparing the beast to teams concept, Drummond has more contested offensive rebounds than six teams.5
To give full effect to both sides of the rebounding argument, it should be noted that Ersan Ilyasova, Drummond’s front court partner for 63% of his total minutes, leads the league in deferred offensive rebound chances.6 This is a two sided stat. It could show that Drummond is being given more opportunities by his front court partner. It could also, and possibly more likely, be that Ilyasova understands that Drummond is more likely to get the rebound. That’s all to say that Drummond is a monster on the glass. Period.
Let’s get this out-of-the-way first, Drummond plays close to the basket. See below:
Drummond is shooting above league average around the basket at 57.9%, but when that’s your bread and butter, it’d be nice to see Drummond above 60% with some of the more judicious dunk-only type players. Of course, Drummond isn’t a dunk-only player, he’s third in the league in post touches7 per game at an even nine. As expected under SVG, the Pistons are putting Drummond in the post and surrounding him with shooters.
If the Pistons want to keep doing this, Drummond should be more efficient with those post touches. He’s leading the league with 6.7 FGA from the post, but is only shooting 53.2% on those shots. The high volume in the post is good enough to put Drummond in second for points from the post at 8.0, behind only Hassan Whiteside at 8.4. But, volume scoring has obvious drawbacks.
A hook shot is a nice little move to have in the post and Drummond has worked hard on creating one for himself. Of course, on 34 attempted hook shots this year, Drummond is shooting just 38.2%, it’s certainly a work in progress. In a much larger sample, all of 2014-15, 196 attempts, Drummond did shoot 43.4%. If he can continue to improve, he is just 22, he could be a force with the hook shot.
However, Drummond is a pretty consistent black hole when given post touches. He’s averaging a pass percentage from the post of 11.1%, tied for third-worst in the league from players that average more than five post touches. Some of the players we associate with great post play have the highest pass percentages. Guys like Robin Lopez (surprise), Marc Gasol, Al Horford, Greg Monroe, and Nikola Vucevic. He doesn’t have an assist from the post yet this season either. Becoming a more able passer from the post could help two-fold by increasing the team’s effectiveness generally and offering another element for his defender to worry about, increasing his own efficiency.
Don’t forget that he’s also still shooting 40.7% from the charity stripe, something that may never get above the Mendoza Line.
From within six feet, Drummond is a net neutral in opponent’s shooting percentage so far in 2015-16. Players shoot just 0.1 percentage points worse when he’s defending than they shoot normally. Not bad, not good. He’s still working on his defensive game, but there are bright spots.
Drummond is tied for 11th in the NBA in blocks per game with 1.9, and for players that qualify as “centers” according to NBA.com, Drummond is second with 1.9 steals per game. On his latest podcast, Nate Duncan praised Drummond’s defensive prowess when it comes to steals and fast hands. Who am I to argue?
It’s an imperfect and very broad stat that probably shouldn’t be used this early in the season… but, Drummond is tied with Whiteside (someone I think he’ll be compared with a lot in the coming years) for Basketball-Reference’s Defensive Win Shares at 0.7 on the season.
The time is now for Drummond. He’s taking steps forward in every facet of the game and Detroit is built around the possibility of him becoming a low-post force, a rebounding savant, and a fear-inducing rim protector. One of those has already come true, another is arguable, and the last is yet to be decided. Drummond could be the best big man in the league in a few years. Could, Anthony Davis is in this league after all.
No matter who else is competing with Drummond for best big honors, he’s an absolute, certifiable monster.
I explain this because NBA.com’s embed features for actual play-by-play videos are…lackluster. You may be able to get an idea from the tracking data that is so easily embedded though ↩
and have played more than four games and 12 minutes per game ↩
Contested Reb % is the percentage of total rebounds that a player gets that are contested ↩
Not that surprising because uncontested offensive rebounds are fairly rare ↩
Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs ↩
Number of times that a player has a chance at an offensive rebound but let’s a teammate go for it ↩
Plays that originate from a pass followed by a reception by the player within 12 feet of the basket ↩