BY THE NUMBERS: Averaged 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game. Shot 53 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from the free-throw line.
SEASON IN REVIEW: A year after making his first All-Star game appearance, Drummond saw his numbers tick down slightly in scoring (16.2 to 13.6), rebounding (a league-leading 14.8 to 13.8) and blocked shots (1.4 to 1.1, a career low). He also played about three fewer minutes per game. Drummond finished a close second to Miami’s Hassan Whiteside (14.1) among rebounding leaders.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS: Stan Van Gundy felt Drummond made progress this season with his defense away from the basket, especially against the pick-and-roll plays that dominate NBA offenses. Drummond’s field-goal percentage also improved slightly despite doing more of his scoring further from the rim as he developed more range on his hook shot with either hand.
AVAILABLE ANDRE: An old bromide of NBA coaches is that “the best ability is availability.” In other words, they appreciate guys who aren’t always in the trainer’s room nursing nagging injuries. Drummond has been a marvel of durability over his five NBA seasons. Since missing 20 games with a lower-back injury as a rookie, Drummond has played in 81, 82, 81 and 81 games over the past four years, missing only two – one in 2013-14, one this season – due to injury. A twisted ankle caused Drummond to miss the Nov. 14 win over Oklahoma City.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The Pistons have Drummond under contract for the next three seasons. At 23, he remains among the NBA’s elite big men yet still has many areas of improvement ahead of him. His free-throw shooting showed improvement before the All-Star break, when he shot .439 after applying virtual-reality technology to his routine, but sunk to .266 in 25 games after the break. Getting a healthy Reggie Jackson back next season should give Drummond more opportunities for lob dunks and easy put-backs at the rim as Jackson’s penetration ability draws defenders away from Drummond.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He needs to have a sense of urgency to elevate his game. He’s been in the league five years now. He’s still young; hasn’t turned 24. He’s got time. He’s a very talented guy and he’s been one of the elite rebounders in the league, but there’s more there. The sky’s the limit for him and we think he’s got a chance to be really, really good to great. But he needs to do some work to get there. He needs to improve. He needs to have a greater sense of urgency this summer to get where he needs to go.” – Stan Van Gundy