The NBA’s 3-point revolution is spreading to centers.
Even ones who’ve shown no mid-range game and an awkward stroke on free throws.
Pistons center Andre Drummond, via Joseph Casciaro of theScore:
“I don’t do stuff (on the court) just to have fun,” Drummond told theScore when questioned about his 3-point shenanigans. “If I’m taking those shots, (it’s because) I’m working on it for the upcoming season. Those are shots that I’m gonna be taking.
“I make at least 200 corner 3s every day before I leave the gym. I’m getting them up. I’m getting the same shot up over and over again, so I’m getting more comfortable with it. It’s been great so far,” he explained.
Drummond, like most players, likes to be involved offensively. For years, that meant terribly inefficient post-ups. Last season, Detroit found a clever solution – using Drummond in the high post as a passing hub. But then the Pistons traded for Blake Griffin, who pushed Drummond out of that role.
So, Drummond spotting up for 3s could get him shots that keep him engaged in other aspects of the game, like defense. He could also pull a big out of the paint and make it easier for his teammates to attack the rim. He needn’t hit a high percentage of shots to make this strategy worthwhile, but he must hit enough to warrant taking them and to draw a defender to him.
Drummond loves to take halfcourt heaves at the end of quarters, and maybe that somewhat translates. His problems on free throws are partially mental, and he won’t necessarily bring that block to 3-pointers. New Pistons coach Dwane Casey had success turning Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas into more of a 3-point shooter.
But I’m skeptical. Drummond’s stroke free throws, even massively improved last year, is still often so ugly. Other bigs showed more propensity from mid-range before expanding their shot selection beyond the arc. This could be another situation like post-ups, where Drummond’s eagerness far outpaces his ability.
Drummond has made himself a star by leveraging his awesome combination of size and athleticism. Adding reliable 3-point shooting could take his game to a far higher level. The upside is so high.
But, for now, I’m in wait-and-see mode.