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IN THE D: Drummond, Pistons Start with a Bang

By: Ken Cross | November 6, 2015

On any given night, Detroit sports fans can turn on their televisions or buy a ticket to a game and watch some of the best professional athletes in the world compete for the Motor City.

Whether it’s Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera or Red Wings rookie sensation Dylan Larkin – among many others, of course – there’s no doubt that we’re lucky to have so many talented players call Detroit their home.

Just north of the city, in Auburn Hills, there’s another individual who’s making a strong case to be the best at his position in the NBA: Andre Drummond.

Drummond, who’s almost single-handedly carried the Pistons to a 3-1 start, is having a phenomenal beginning to the season.

Drummond has had four straight double-doubles and two straight 20-point/20-rebound games in the Pistons’ first four games, which means:

  1. He’s the only player since the NBA-ABA merger with at least 75 points and 75 rebounds in his team’s first four games.
  2. He’s the first Pistons player to start a season with four consecutive double-doubles since Ben Wallace did in 2004-05.
  3. He’s the first NBA player with multiple 20-20 games in his team’s first four games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did it in 1975.

Yes, phenomenal.

Drummond, the Pistons’ No. 9 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, is thriving under second-year coach Stan Van Gundy. With the addition of power forwards Marcus Morris and Ersan Ilyasova — who are much better compliments to Drummond’s inside game than Greg Monroe ever was — Drummond has the space he needs to operate in the paint.

And it’s paying dividends.

At just 22 years old, Drummond is continuing to develop his game every single year.  He’s improved his jump hook significantly and is a force to be reckoned with around the basket. He’s averaging 20.3 points and leads the NBA with 19.5 rebounds per game.

Those numbers helped Drummond earn the Eastern Conference player of the week Monday, becoming the first Piston to win the honor since Rodney Stuckey did so in 2009.

Although the Pistons lost their first game of the season Tuesday, Drummond was as impressive as ever, scoring a season-high 25 points and grabbing a career-high 29 rebounds.

“He was the one guy who really played well tonight, and that’s why we just sort of rode him the whole time,” Van Gundy said after the loss. “He had a really, really good performance, no question.”

If Drummond’s first four games are any indication of what’s to come, the center is on track to have a career year that will be exciting to watch.