Apparently, the fourth time is the charm. At least it is for Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond.
Slowly but surely, the 22-year-old has become a fixture at NBA All-Star Weekend. But this year, when he takes his talents to Toronto, he will do so to participate in the main event on Sunday.
“It was an overwhelming feeling for me, it was a happy day for me,” Drummond said of being selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career. “Ever since I’ve been a little boy, I’ve always dreamt of playing in the All-Star game. I’ve been involved in All-Star Weekend for the first four years of my career and to make it to that Sunday game, there’s no better feeling than that.”
Somewhere, Stan Van Gundy is smiling.
The veteran head coach has quickly reversed the fortunes of the team that he inherited. Back when he assumed the helm in Detroit, the team was coming off of a 29-53 season and was saddled with pieces that didn’t match and a few players that were malcontents.
Now, in the center, indeed, Drummond benefits from Van Gundy’s genius. Seemingly overnight, the Pistons are entering play on February 2 with a 26-23 record, the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and one of the more formidable, young, one-two punches in the Eastern Conference.
If Drummond is in the center of it all, then Reggie Jackson would be flanking him.
Still, Drummond’s rise is inspiring not only because he is a young player fulfilling his potential before our very eyes, but also because he happens to be one thriving while playing a style of basketball that many foolishly believed incapable of producing wins in today’s NBA.
When faced with the tough prospect of allowing Greg Monroe to flee for Milwaukee last summer, Van Gundy gambled that his team would be better off without the young big man, just like he famously did when he let go of Josh Smith last season.
And as Drummond packs his passport for Toronto, the man whose name doesn’t get called much around NBA circles—that would be Stan Van Gundy—is quietly looking like a genius. It is with his experience and tutelage that the young duo of Drummond and Jackson are learning how to play winning basketball in the NBA.
“We’re moving in the right direction, I feel like we’re moving in the right direction,” Drummond said when asked to evaluate where the Pistons find themselves near the 50-game mark.
“Despite the losses that we’ve had, we’re starting to come together. We can’t win them all but we don’t allow the games to get us down and allow the losses to pile up.”
To Drummond’s point, the Pistons have lost as many as three straight games only twice this season. Compare that to last season when the club had an early 13-game losing streak before enduring a 10-game slide that spanned from late February to early March.
For the most part, we tend to pay most attention to the teams at the top. Often, we forget the simple fact that those that are at the top usually had to spend time ascending. The way it looks right now is that the Pistons could be one such team. Aside from Drummond and Jackson, Van Gundy’s team also boasts a few other impressive youngsters who may lay the foundation for a formidable core: Stanley Johnson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Ersan Ilyasova and Marcus Morris immediately come to mind.
Of the group, only Morris seems to have had issues in Detroit, and that harmony is usually what winning teams are made of. Well, that and a dynamic duo.
As Drummond enters play on February 2 having averaged 17.3 points and 15.1 rebounds per game, he also does so leading the league in double-doubles. The center has recorded 40 double-doubles in the team’s first 49 games, leading both Russell Westbrook (33) and DeMarcus Cousins (28) by a comfortable margin.
Aside from his coach, Drummond, by his own admission, routinely picks the brains of some of the former “Bad Boy” Pistons that still work for and around the organization. That list includes Rich Mahorn, James Edwards and Hall-of-Famer Isiah Thomas.
Being the throwback that he is, some have begun to wonder how Drummond would have fared against the likes of some of the bigger and tougher players of yesteryear.
“I definitely wouldn’t have played back at that time, that was a little rough,” Drummond said before admitting it was in jest. “I would have loved to play with them back in the day, they’re the ones that really started all this physical play, so I’m ready for what they started.”
It seems that Drummond is also ready for what he started—and what Van Gundy continued. Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago (it was back in 2012-13) that Drummond was a rookie who was playing behind Greg Monroe.
With one thriving in Detroit and the other being featured on a team that is struggling, one can fairly ponder just what else Drummond, at just 22 years old, is ready for. Still raw and with appreciable upside, the NBA doesn’t often see young big men become this productive, this quickly.
So yes, for Drummond, the fourth time is the charm. For the first time in his career, he will suit up to play in the NBA All-Star Game.
Odds are, it won’t be his last.
Report: NBA All-Star Game Starters Announced
LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and rising second-year stars Luka Doncic and Trae Young headline the star-studded group of present and future superstars who make up the starters for the 69th All-Star Game.
James, the catalyst for the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers, will captain the Western Conference team for the second straight season. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ star and reigning Kia MVP, captains the Eastern Conference team for a second straight season as well.
A fresh face in the starters’ mix this season is Dallas wunderkind Luka Doncic, who joins Houston’s James Harden as the two starters in the backcourt. Clippers forward and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Lakers forward Anthony Davis round out the All-L.A. frontcourt.
Boston’s Kemba Walker is joined by Atlanta’s Trae Young in the East backcourt. Like Doncic, Young is a first-time All-Star and starter in just his second NBA season. Antetokounmpo will be flanked by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, another first time All-Star and starter, in the East frontcourt.
Adam Silver Believes Next Year’s ASG Draft Will be Televised
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he was pleased with the new format for the league’s All-Star Game and believed that next year’s player draft would be televised.
“I thought it was incredible. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of the players,” Silver told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne following a 148-145 win for Team LeBron over Team Stephen at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
2018 NBA All-Star Sunday Recap
Michael Petrower recaps the All-Star Game from Sunday in Los Angeles.
The 2018 NBA All Star Game had some added appeal this year, with Captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry selecting playground style from the pool of All-Stars. Although it was not televised, it drew a lot of interest to say the least.
Team Lebron was headlined by Kevin Durant (the alleged first pick), Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving. Sadly, Team Lebron suffered big losses with John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Kevin Love and Kristaps Porzingis going down with injuries. Team Stephen was led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Joel Embiid and Demar DeRozan.
NBA fans were ready to indulge on the highlight real of plays to commence…That was, until the NBA inflicted a marathon-like performance that seemed a bit unnecessary, to say the least. Kevin Hart was at the center of theatrics that had NBA fans scratching their heads questioning what was on their television screen. Fergie topped off the saga with what was one of the more questionable national anthems we’ve seen in recent years. However, if you stuck around long enough, the game started at 8:40 PM EST and the flashy plays that we hoped for, began.
Joel Embiid made his first A;l-Star game appearance and kicked off the scoring festivities for Team Stephen with a ferocious and-one dunk. Team Stephen led all of the first quarter and won the quarter 42-31. Karl Anthony Towns led the first quarter scoring with 11 points. Team LeBron, however would storm back and cut the lead to two, 78-76 at half. LeBron came into his 14th straight All-Star game and lead his team at the half with 15 points. Klay Thompson also lead Team Stephen with 15 points at half.
The second half ensued and after some back and forth between the two teams, Team Stephen was leading by three going into the fourth quarter, 112-109. Team Stephen grew their lead to 11 while LeBron and KD got some rest. But after the two came back in, the 11-point deficit was erased after a LeBron three and the teams were now tied at 144 with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter.
DeRozan would make a free throw to put Team Stephen up one point, but Lebron followed with a strong two-pointer to put his team up one. DeRozan tried to answer, but threw away a pass which resulted in an easy two points for Russell Westbrook to ice the game. Team LeBron was the 2018 All Star Game winner with a score of 148-145.
LeBron James went on to win his third All Star MVP after finishing with 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds, eigh assists and a steal on 12-17 shooting. DeRozan and Damian Lillard lead Team Stephen with 21 points each.