Just six other players have matched the per-minute scoring, rebounding and blocking rates Andre Drummond posted last season (minimum: 400 minutes).
Most of them are in the Hall of Fame. Bill Walton did it ages 22 and 24, Robert Parish at 25, Hakeem Olajuwon at 27 and 28 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at 28. Another likely future Hall of Famer, Dwight Howard, did it at 23 and 24. Marvin Webster put together such a season, too, at age 24.
All in all, it’s pretty great company. Those are difficult marks to reach, and the few who’ve played so well have done so in their primes.
Drummond did it at 19.
So, it’s no wonder the Pistons hold him in such high esteem.
Joe Dumars, via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:
“There are guys who, a pecking order of things we would or wouldn’t do, Drummond is certainly one of those guys we wouldn’t move,” said Dumars, who wouldn’t claim anyone else as “untouchable”.
I don’t really like the idea of an untouchable player. What if the Heat offer LeBron James for Drummond? The Pistons wouldn’t say no.
Of course, Miami wouldn’t trade LeBron for Drummond, and perhaps I’m being too literal. Drummond has the potential to become the type of singular force teams don’t trade for packages of lesser players, and those top-end players are rarely traded for each other. So, obviously, finding a worthwhile trade involving Drummond would be extremely difficult, perhaps to the point of impossible, even if the Pistons were willing to deal him.
Regardless of the semantics, Drummond isn’t going anywhere. But what about Greg Monroe, whom Dumars didn’t mention?
some teams inquired about Monroe before the draft and were met with a flat “no” as to his availability.
Monroe has proven more than Drummond, but he’s older, heading into free agency next offseason and has shown few indications of defensive development. He’s the type of player who’s good enough to command a package full of valuable, but lesser, players, but not too good to preclude the Pistons from trading him.
The Pistons obviously aren’t rushing to trade Monroe, but it’s certainly more likely than them trading Drummond.
1. How much will these teams’ disdain for each other color the series?
Back in January, the Wizards wore all black for a figurative funeral while arriving for a game against the Celtics then buried Boston in a 123-108 win.
But the Celtics are still alive and ready for the next stage in a rivalry that has included:
- Marcus Smart hitting Bradley Beal with his forearm, causing a concussion
- John Wall and Smart having a heated exchange
- Jae Crowder telling Al Horford not to sign with Washington, because it couldn’t beat Boston
- Crowder and Wall getting into a postgame scrum
- Otto Porter saying the Celtics try to play dirty
- Brandon Jennings baiting Terry Rozier into pushing him over
2. Which team is actually better?
The Wizards outpaced the Celtics in my adjusted-for-playoff-rotation rankings before the postseason began. But getting a clear picture of who’s in the teams’ playoff rotations and counting the first round turns the tables.
Here’s both teams’ offensive, defensive and net ratings from the regular season to counting only lineups (regular season and first round) comprised of five players projected to be in the teams’ rotation this series:
1. Boston Celtics
- Offensive rating: 112.4 to 116.2
- Defensive rating: 109.8 to 110.4
- Net rating: +2.6 to +5.8
4. Washington Wizards
- Offensive rating: 111.7 to 115.6
- Defensive rating: 110.0 to 110.5
- Net rating: +1.7 to +5.1
Even with the flaws in these numbers – small sample sizes and no control for competition – the question of which team will put a better team on the floor in this series isn’t everything. Boston has home-court advantage, and that matters.
The complete updated playoff-rotation-adjusted ratings will be released Monday, after the first round ends.
3. How will the MVP-vote-getting point guards match up?
Both the Celtics and Wizards are reasonably deep, but good luck keeping your eyes off their star point guards. Isaiah Thomas and John Wall both received fifth-place MVP votes, tributes to their importance to their teams.
Thomas is Boston’s lone reliable scorer, and that brings a heavy fourth-quarter burden – which he has answered all year. Even when opponents know he’ll get the ball, they haven’t stopped him. Wall also drives Washington’s offense, though he does it with a more balanced passing and scoring attack throughout the game.
But Wall’s primary argument for superiority over other big-name point guards – including Thomas – is his defense. The 6-foot-4 Wall will have an opportunity to show that against the 5-foot-9 Thomas. Likewise, Thomas has a chance to pester Wall enough to show the defensive gap isn’t too wide.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors hope to get injured reserves Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes back from injuries for the second round of the playoffs after getting more than a week off between series.
The Warriors said Saturday that Barnes has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 1 and Livingston remains questionable but is hopeful he will be ready to return. Star forward Kevin Durant is expected to be a full go after missing two games and being limited to 20 minutes in Game 4 last round because of a strained left calf.
Barnes has been sidelined since April 8, while Livingston sprained a finger on his right hand in Game 1 of the first-round against Portland.
Golden State begins the second round at home on Tuesday night against the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. The Warriors have been off since sweeping the Trail Blazers last Monday, giving them more than a week between games.
“I’m trying to make sure I rest it as much as I possibly can, because when I do come back I plan on staying all the way back,” Livingston said Saturday. “Hopefully it will be ready for Tuesday.”
After taking Tuesday and Thursday off following their first-round sweep, the Warriors practiced for a second straight day Saturday. They plan to practice again on Sunday and then again Monday once they know their second-round opponent.
There is no update on the status of coach Steve Kerr, who missed the final two games of the first round because of complications from two back surgeries. Kerr talks daily with interim coach Mike Brown and took part in coaching meetings Friday but was not at practice on Saturday.
However, the San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets is much more than that.
It’s a battle of pace. It’s a chess match between two of the best coaches in the game. It’s about which team’s role players are going to step up.
I talk about all of that in this latest PBT Extra. Plus, of course, when Leonard will guard Harden.
There are no NBA playoff games Saturday night, the first night since the start of the postseason there hasn’t been one game. Don’t worry, there are two games on Sunday, including Game 7 between the Jazz and Clippers.
But if you need a Saturday night fix, this will have to do: 15 minutes of the best plays from last season, as compiled by NBA.com.
Go ahead, watch it. You’ve got nothing better to do.