Long gone are the days of dominant post up big men. Guys like Shaq, Kareem, Wilt and other greats don’t come around anymore because of how the game has reformed over the last few seasons. Guys like Kevin Love, Anthony Davis and the Gasol brothers have had values skyrocket because of their ability to space the floor; even DeMarcus Cousins has started to shoot more threes. However, there remains one guy who is playing at a level so high that it looks like the old school big men aren’t all totally gone.
When Andre Drummond was drafted by Detroit at number nine in the 2012 NBA Draft, it was all based on his potential to excel in the NBA. His numbers in college weren’t impressive – only averaged 10 points on 53% with 7.3 RPG – but now, four seasons later, he’s emerged as one of the league’s only true centers and is the best rebounder the league has seen in a long time. And he’s only 22 y/o.
Drummond currently leads the league in every rebounding category and he does so by a landslide, having 61 more total rebounds than second place DeAndre Jordan and 28 more offensive rebounds than Kenneth Faried. His size and tenacity when attacking the offensive boards are rivaled by few, if any, in the league today. Almost seven feet tall and 280 pounds, Drummond attacks the glass on every offensive possession no matter what the outcome is.
He currently averages 19 total rebounds/game and 6.5 offensive rebounds/game which is, you guessed it, leading the league. There’s no getting around how astounding those statistics are and what adds to it are the names that are associated with putting up numbers like this. Over the course of the NBA’s history, only six men have had a season where they’ve averaged 19+ RPG: Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Bob Petit, Nate Thurmond, Elgin Baylor and Jerry Lucas. All of these men are in the Hall of Fame and if Drummond continues rebounding at this rate he’ll be the seventh player to ever average 19+ RPG. Not only that, but it would be the first time since 1971-72 that someone averaged that many rebounds for a season (Wilt Chamberlain). But where Drummond truly separates himself is on the offensive glass.
Not only will he be the first player in 40+ years to average 19 rebounds a game, he’ll be the first player ever to, officially, average 19 total rebounds & 6+ offensive rebound a game (I say ‘officially’ because the offensive rebound stat was recorded until 1973-74). The departure of Greg Monroe seems to be benefiting Drummond more than everyone thought because he and Monroe aren’t clogging the paint and getting in each other’s way; the acquisition of Marcus Morris adds to that as well because of Morris’ ability to space the floor and give Drummond even more room in the paint.
Right now Drummond is on his way to becoming one of the league’s most dominant big men but his offense is still rather non-existent aside from put backs. Recently he has displayed a rather nice jump hook around the basket, but not much else. Will he ever be a super-dominant post up player? He could be, but it will definitely take time. Rumors are floating around that he’s been working with Hakeen Olajuwon and God bless him if he has. Luckily for Drummond and the Pistons, he’s still only 22 years old and has a lot of time left in the league.
Quick Stat: There have been four games of 20+ rebounds so far this season, Andre Drummond has three of them.
*All stats via Basketball-Reference*
*Featured Image via Jesse Johnson / USA Today Sports*