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.
This is why.
“The most important thing is that we played tough,” Bismack told cleveland.com. “Cleveland is a good team, but when they come in here, they feel like we are the tough ones and that’s what we want to accomplish as the definition of the Toronto Raptors.”
Those are harsh words from Biyombo. It’s one thing to say you believe your team is tougher than the opponent. It’s another to say you can tell the opponent believes your team is tougher.
Privately, though, I bet LeBron appreciates this comment.
The Cavaliers are not soft, but their goal is nothing short of a championship. They need to get tougher if they’re going to beat the Warriors, whom LeBron said look hungrier than Cleveland. So, LeBron has already begun challenging his teammates. He wants them to believe they have far to go, because that will pay off in the long run.
Biyombo’s answer furthers the Cavs toward that goal.
Plus, if the Cavaliers and Raptors meet in the playoffs, it’ll make it much easier for Cleveland to find motivation. But Toronto is a tough team. That series would be no walkover unless the Cavs use this criticism constructively.
Jerry West is smarter than you. And me. Put together. This guy is more than just the logo, he helped assemble the Showtime Lakers, he was a vocal advocate of not trading Klay Thompson for Kevin Love, he has been right far more than he has been wrong making basketball decisions.
“I think honestly we have two of the top 10 players in the league — Draymond Green is the second one. He’s the most underrated player in the NBA, period. There are very few players, I think, anyone in our organization would trade for him. He’s just a remarkable player. Watch him handle the ball, watch him make passes, defensively he’s everywhere. If he’s not a top 10 player in this league, I don’t know who is.”
West is right.
If you’re shaking your head no, then you don’t realize how 29 other teams are trying to find their own Green right now. Name the players who can step into the Warriors’ system and do what he does right now? It’s a short list. He is at the heart of what makes Golden State so dangerous; he’s more valuable to their style than Klay Thompson.
Well, we can add one caveat — Green is top 10 if your team is playing small. If you’re just going to play him as a four next to a traditional big all the time he’s still good but not a game changer. However, Green is a game changer at the center spot and the reason that the Warriors are so feared when they go small.
What is usually discussed about Green is he’s a fierce defender who can hold his own with a big inside, make a traditional center work, get rebounds, and still switch out on a pick-and-roll and harass a quick guard. Golden State doesn’t suffer defensively when they go small — they allow 9.1 points fewer per 100 possessions when they go small than their season-long average. Green makes it happen; that’s why he was second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season.
What often gets overlooked is how great he is as a pick-setting big when Golden State goes small. No defense has figured out the Stephen Curry/Green pick-and-roll. In part because Curry is Curry and almost indefensible. But Green can roll and finish in the lane, pop out and knock down a three, or do a half-roll to the free throw line and when the help defender closes on him he finds Andre Iguodala alone in the corner for a three (or Klay Thompson at the arc, or a slashing Harrison Barnes, you get the idea). Green is a skilled playmaker in his own right and plays with a high IQ, making the Warriors tough to defend.
In Golden State’s system, there is no doubt Green is a top 10 player.
Lakers coach Byron Scott has said plenty of ridiculous things lately:
- Kobe Bryant settles the Lakers’ offense
- Kobe has earned the right to take bad shots
- D'Angelo Russell wouldn’t benefit from fourth-quarter minutes
- Kobe’s legs are fine
Maybe Lakers fans ought to hope Scott is wrong about this, too.
Scott said he still senses support from Kupchak and Lakers executive vice president of basketball personnel Jim Buss. Scott is in the second-year of a four-year contract worth $17 million, with a team option for the final season.
“We still understand that this is a process,” Scott said. “We have a lot of young guys on this team that we feel will be very good players. But it’s not going to happen in a month. It’s going to take some time. It might take a year or two.”
The Lakers are 2-12, better than only the 76ers. Scott has allowed Kobe to hijack and cripple the offense, and the defense might be even worse. Player development is suspect, at best.
Scott does not deserve job security, let alone multiple years of it.
So, what are Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss thinking?
There are a few possibilities:
1. Management isn’t as sold on Scott as he says they are.
2. Management is using Scott – with or without his knowledge – to tank to keep the Lakers’ top-three protected first-round pick.
3. Management is as lost as Scott appears to be.
Good luck sorting out which is the case.
Golden State has a ring, and that came with accolades about them ushering in a new era, a new style of basketball in the NBA. But if they are going to have a legacy as one of the game’s legendary teams, they need more than one ring. They need more accolades and accomplishments.
Such as starting the season with a record 16-game win streak.
But what about the all-time win streak mark of 33 (set by the 1972 Lakers)? Stephen Curry says they talk about it, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We talk about 33,” Curry said in a conference call with international reporters. “I think I’ve probably talked about it more than anybody else on the team, just because I know about the history and just really how hard it is.
“We’ve had like two 16-game winning streaks the last two years, and those are pretty special feats. For us to have to double that output, I mean we’re going to play hard and hopefully close in on that record, but it won’t be a disappointing effort if we don’t get there. Because there are so many talented teams in this league and for us to just be playing at a high level right now, that’s what we’re worried about. And if we close in and get to 29, 30 games, we’ll talk about it a little bit more.”
Considering they are not even halfway there yet, talking about this outside the locker room seems premature (much like talking about 72 wins already). The Warriors have had some less than stellar outings of late (the Brooklyn Game, for example), and they have a seven-game road trip with a couple back-to-backs coming up. There are a lot of places to trip up.
What this shows is that the Warriors have a little vanity, they have concern for their legacy.
And I love the confidence — this team is going to be disappointed when they do eventually lose. They are on a mission this season; they have not lost their hunger. Which may be the most impressive thing about their start.