Barely 20, Andre Drummond growing into Pistons leadership role
“I got Peyton (Siva) to come to town, Tony’s (Mitchell) coming in the next day or two and Kentavious (Caldwell-Pope), too,” Drummond said. “I’m making sure all the rookies come in. Last year, I was here real early. I’m like, ‘You guys need to get here early. Just because you made it to the league, don’t think you can come back when all the veterans come back.’ ”
After Siva experienced his first brisk workout, he acknowledged to Drummond that he felt winded and was happy to have the six weeks until training camp opens to acclimate.
“And I told him, ‘It’s only going to get worse. As soon as training camp comes, it’s running times 10.’ So I’m glad to have him out here with me and the other rookies will be here soon, too.”
It’s been a busy, productive summer so far for Drummond with more to come as he settles in to Auburn Hills in the run-up to the October opening of camp. He participated in Summer League and then spent four days in late July, alongside Greg Monroe, at the USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas.
“It was fun for me,” Drummond said of that experience, potentially a pathway for him to join the United States national team at next summer’s World Cup in Spain or for the 2016 Olympic team. “Just being out there with Greg was great. I think we got a lot from it – just how bad guys really want to be a part of the USA team and represent their country. It was exciting for us to go out and do that.”
Drummond said he received positive feedback from several Team USA officials over the course of the week.
“They were really impressed with Greg and I, very excited to see we were two of the better-conditioned bigs out there. We were running at all times, so it was good for us. I just think they were impressed that we both ran the floor really well and were grabbing the ball off the rim. I think we kind of opened eyes with that.
“Coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) talked to me a lot throughout the week. He always found time to come over and talk to me, give me his input. Of course, Chauncey (Billups, who serves on the board of USA Basketball as an athlete representative) was there, too, so he always came by and talked to me, too, and coach (Jim) Boeheim. So it was good that the top guys had a lot of things to say to me throughout the week.”
Drummond probably will learn a thing or two about leadership and everything else from Billups, his new teammate, and he’s very much looking forward to the growing familiar with the new additions to Detroit’s backcourt. Drummond proved a devastating force on the receiving end of pick-and-roll lob passes a year ago, experiencing his most notable success with Will Bynum. Adding Billups’ savvy and Brandon Jennings’ explosive turn-the-corner speed and vision to the mix expands the possibilities for success.
“I think it’s going to be good,” he said. “Brandon’s going to be just like me and Will are. Of course, nothing can beat how me and Will are – that’s just a duo you can really break. Just the feel we have for each, you can’t break.
“I think Brandon will take a lot of pressure off Greg and I and Josh (Smith), too. Everybody knows him as a scorer, but from what he’s been saying he’s not coming here to do that, so it’ll throw off a lot of teams. He’s going to get us a lot of easy baskets this year because he can score if he needs to, but he can definitely pass the ball, too. I’ve known Brandon for a little while, played against him a few times in high school. I always played up in high school and AAU and I just got a chance to watch him play. He was a different kind of player.”
Drummond plans to make use of each week between now and camp opens as he works under new Pistons assistant coach Rasheed Wallace.
“We’re getting after it,” he said. “It’s August and we’re going hard. We’re not taking any days off. It’s 100 percent, full speed.”