Andre Drummond Gave The Injury-Laden Pistons The Lift They Needed In A Win Over The Nets

The Detroit Pistons went into Saturday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets without their All-Star forward Blake Griffin, who has yet to make his season debut, and all three of their point guards: Reggie Jackson, Tim Frazier, and Derrick Rose. What they did have, though, was Andre Drummond, and that turned out to be enough for them to get the win.

In 38 minutes and 51 seconds of action, Drummond nearly ended the night with a “5×5,” posting 25 points, 20 rebounds, six assists, five blocks, and three steals. It marked the fourth time in seven contests that Drummond has had a game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds — the last player to go for that many 20/20 outings in the first seven games of the season was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, per NBA.com.

His dominant night was a big reason the Pistons were able to get past the Nets, who had one of their stars put up an impressive stat line as well. Kyrie Irving posted just his third career triple-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. He tallied a triple-double in March, and prior to that, his last one came all the way back in 2014. Saturday night did, however, mark the first time Irving posted a triple-double in a loss, and he has Drummond to thank for that.

Drummond hasn’t evolved into the three-point shooting center that so many teams covet — and not for lack of trying — but when he’s stuffing the box score like he did against the Nets, he doesn’t need to be. In fact, Drummond’s most impressive development from the offseason may be his improved handle.

Drummond already moves well for a guy who’s 6’10 and 279 pounds, but his newfound knack for beating defenders off the dribble makes him more of a threat when attacking the basket and making plays for his teammates, as evidenced by the six assists he dished out against the Nets, which fell two short of his career-high. With the team’s primary ball-handlers out, the Pistons needed someone to step up and make plays. Bruce Brown’s seven assists led the team, but it’s safe to say few people expected Drummond to help with playmaking to this extent, who is regarded as a traditional, back-to-the-basket center.

It’s unclear how much longer the Pistons will be without a few of their key guys, but until they return, Drummond has showed so far that he’s capable of taking care of business. I’m sure that will be talking point when the free agent in the summer of 2020 enters contract negotiations with Detroit’s front office, whether that be within the coming months or next summer.