Entering the new NBA season all eyes were on familiar names like: Steph Curry, LeBron James and James Harden to see who would first set the league on fire. For the most part these guys have lived up to their hype, but they still haven’t been the league’s most dominant. No, that title goes to Detroit Pistons centre Andre Drummond.
It might seem strange saying that a guy who casual fans mightn’t know of is out performing superstars, especially considering that Curry and LeBron are putting up insane numbers, while leading their teams to the top of their respective conferences.
But what Andre Drummond is doing right now is a throwback to the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain.
For starters, the 22-year-old put in three 20 point and 20 rebound performances in his first six games of the season. A feat that no other player since Wilt and Kareem has managed.
More than that, through his first seven games, Drummond scored over 135 points, while also collecting over 135 rebounds – another herculean feat that hasn’t been done since Chamberlain in 1970.
Think about that, the Pistons anchor is currently dominating his position in a way that hasn’t been seen since the respective eras of the NBA’s two greatest centres.
Aside legendary comparisons, looking at the big man’s other stats, his impact on the floor is driven home.
Drummond leads the league in offensive, defensive and total rebounds, collecting nearly 70 per cent of Detroit’s rebound opportunities.
While rebounding at this absurd level, he is still able to rule the paint and back down any defence on route to over 19 points per game.
This dual ability has meant that Drummond has had a double-double every game this season.
In the modern era, where there is a huge focus on, high scoring guards and wings, Big’s that can stretch the floor, and team rebounding, Drummond is a throwback to a time when the big men ruled.
Most importantly, Detroit is reaping the dividends of Drummonds dominance boasting a 5 – 2 record, with signs already indicating a huge improvement from last season’s dismal 32-50 finish.
This dominance has been recognised with Drummond claiming both of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards handed out this season.
So where has this dramatic improvement come from?
Perhaps the most obvious answer is an increase in production from a talented youngster who went pick 9 in the 2012 NBA Draft.
With his abundant athleticism and strength there have always been signs of his ability to dominate throughout his NBA tenure.
This is of course part of the answer, but some credit must go to the visible improvements in the intricate details of his game.
For one, Drummond has become a tenacious defender and used his strength, size and athleticism to become the focal point of the Pistons at both ends of the floor.
A newfound confidence at the defensive end is overscored by his new offensive arsenal that has finally found consistency.
In the past, Drummond would be able to bully opponents, however he often lacked the skill or patience to finish.
This issue seems to be addressed with improvements to his jump hook and overall rim finishing.
Without these improvements the NBA world wouldn’t be buzzing about the potential of what could be a new member to the long line of dominant centres.
Right now Drummond looks to be the best centre in the league, with guys like: Tyson Chandler, Deandre Jordan, Marc Gasol and Demarcus Cousins not having anywhere near the same influence on games.
The sky is the limit for this guy. Is he the next Dwight Howard? Even the next Shaq? He has all the potential that these guys had and more.
Jimmy Butler was the breakaway Most Improved Player last year and look what happened to him – he has become a legitimate superstar – the writing is on the walls for Drummond to do the same.
Centre’s in the NBA need to be on notice, keep your feet planted firmly or the unstoppable bulldozer that is Andre Drummond will crush you.
Written by Juan Estepa @EstepaJ