With an 8-foot wingspan and the ability to jump out of the building, Andre Drummond has the tools to be an elite NBA defender. He’s not. Drummond is improving slowly on defense, better recognizing how to handle pick-and-roll angles and where to be for help, but he has a ways to go.
Stan Van Gundy has a model for him — DeAndre Jordan.
“The step, to me, for Andre is to do a little bit of what DeAndre Jordan does and dominate the game at the defensive end of the floor. Become that All-Defense type of guy. Because he’s already a historically great rebounder and to add to that becoming a great defender and build his game from there and everything to be built around the basket – his pick and rolls, going to the rim, running the floor, all of that.”
Drummond is the best rebounder in the NBA right now, and a good pick-and-roll big man. However, last season 27 percent of his possessions came in the post and he scored just 0.73 points per possessions on those plays, struggling when he faces up. He is efficient when he can get to the rim, but he did that less last season. Offensively the Pistons need to be better as a team (and that is more about shooting around Drummond than the big man himself). Drummond’s offseason surgery to remove a nasal blockage could help his endurance and get him putting up more 20-10 nights.
Van Gundy is right, however, the big stride for Drummond needs to be defensive. He can and should be elite. The Pistons were a top 10 defense last season, but if the goal is a return to the playoffs — and for Drummond to return to the All-Star Game — he needs to be a defensive force. Van Gundy has laid out the challenge, we’ll see if he can live up to it.