Over the last two weeks, readers of this weekly feature have let it be known that I am undervaluing Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond.
A couple of those readers have cited Drummond’s PER, which is the highest of any rookie. PER is a nice stat because it reduces a player’s value to one tidy number that can easily be compared to other players and allows folks to say, “This guy is better than that guy.”
However, I do find PER somewhat simplistic at times. What I really like about Drummond thus far is that his improved play of late has translated into wins for the Pistons.
In his last six games, Drummond is averaging 9.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 24 minutes. He has three double-doubles in that stretch. But most important, Detroit is 5-1 including a win over Miami and an overtime loss at Atlanta.
Drummond is far from perfect. He couldn’t score in a brothel and isn’t doing himself any favors by shooting 41 percent from the line, which makes him DeAndre Jordan with training wheels. But he has answered the questions about his motor with impactful play in the paint.
Drummond doesn’t turn 20 until August. His ceiling is frightening. It’s hard to imagine GM Joe Dumars even thinking about including him in a trade for knucklehead poster child DeMarcus Cousins.
This week, I would ask readers to direct complaints about the intrinsic value of Drummond to the NBA, which inexplicably gave the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honor for December to Washington’s Bradley Beal.
Beal did lead all East rookies with 13.4 points per game for the month. Conveniently unmentioned in the league’s release were (a) Washington’s 3-11 record in December; (b) Beal actually averaging less points (12.0) in the wins; and (c) Beal’s atrocious .368 shooting, including .184 from the arc.
Winning isn’t the be-all and end-all for claiming Rookie of the Year; in fact, it is probably less of a factor than in any other individual award, as we have pointed out. But any NBA player can score points if they are given carte blanche to hoist at the expense of wins.
Both Beal and Drummond remain in this week’s table, which you can figuratively tear to shreds in your inimitable fashion after the jump. But we think we have both players properly placed.
On to the rankings.