Originally posted on Around the Arc  |  Last updated 8/23/13
Next season, Andre Drummond’s second as a professional will be big for him. It seems cliché to say that someone’s sophomore season is important, as obviously continual development is important for any athlete, especially an NBA center. But for Drummond, who SB Nation recently predictedwould be the league’s third best overall player come 2017, it is time to let the league at large know just how good he can be. With his combination of size, speed, and athleticism, Drummond has the potential to be a franchise-caliber player, and this season will be an excellent opportunity for him to demonstrate what he can do for Detroit (or another franchise for that matter). A back injury cut his rookie season short, and in the 60 games he did play in, he logged only twenty minutes per contest. Still the University of Connecticut product averaged a solid 13 points and 13 boards and almost three blocks per 36 minutes. Not too bad for a rookie considered “raw.”  Image from: Thatnbalotterypick.comOn top of playing only about 20 minutes per game, at 17% Drummond’s usage rate was extremely low as well, meaning, in short, he wasn’t the focal point of Detroit’s offensive attack. Instead, he was able to score a lot of his points on put-backs and offensive rebounds. This makes sense, as Drummond was not yet developed enough to be a consistent offensive option. Throughout last season however, Drummond demonstrated an ability to score with his back to the basket; an invaluable asset for a big man. While this skill was prevalent in the big men of the 1990’s, it seems to have faded away somewhat with the popularization of the European style of play. Roy Hibbert showed an uncanny ability to consistently score with his back to the basket throughout the Pacers’ playoff push, and he left fans and franchises swooning; it is simply a rare, and potentially dominating, skill set at this point. This season, Drummond will have an opportunity to demonstrate that he can be a go-to guy for Detroit, and develop into a go-to-guy at the center spot. The Pistons have put a lot of new parts around him, and they may even be borderline exciting this season. Drummond has all the tools to develop into the league’s next great center. He showed some flashes of that ability last season. This season should serve as the next stop toward solidifying his status as one of the league’s premier post players. Stalled development or a ‘sophomore slump’ will bring up a whole new set of questions and concerns.
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