The Detroit Pistons are one of the hottest teams in the first couple of weeks in this NBA season, led by Andre Drummond, dominating like no other big man in the league, and putting up some impressive numbers that haven’t been seen in some time.
The Pistons have just one loss so far this season, tied for second best in the league. They are 5-1 following their 120-103 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, having a huge fourth quarter (41-11) which included pulling off a huge comeback. Reggie Jackson, enjoying the same kind of offensive freedom he did last season under Stan van Gundy, finished with 40 points, while Drummond added 29 points and 27 rebounds, including nine on offense.
Into his fourth year in the NBA, Drummond might be the best true center in it. After three years of having to share the paint area with Greg Monroe, it’s his show now, with Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova, his frontcourt partners, giving him some room. He’s making the most of it so far, averaging 20.3 points and 20.3 rebounds per game, and that’s not all of it.
He’s had five 20-20 games through the first three seasons of his career, but he already has three this season after only six games. With his third 25-25 game of his career, he’s already the active leader in that category, and seems to be well on his way to not just being the most dominant rebounder in the NBA, but with his added post moves the best big man in the league. He leads the NBA in defensive and total rebounding percentages, and is second on the offensive glass.
Obviously it’s not just Drummond, and Van Gundy is slowly building himself a team similar to the one he had in Orlando around peak Dwight Howard. One fantastic center (although Drummond is probably still not what Howard was defensively) with as much shooters as possible around him, although Jackson is a lot more than just a shooter, creating a fantastic 1-5 punch, which isn’t something we see too often in the league these days.
After two seasons of the failed 3-big man concept that crashed and burned the Pistons until they got rid of Josh Smith and started quickly working around their mistakes of the past (Joe Dumars especially, before he got fired), it seems that Van Gundy’s basketball, which might be slightly primitive compared to the current trend but has proven to be effective time after time, is pushing the Pistons back towards competing in the East, and maybe even at some point becoming a contender.