Two of League’s Best Big Men Face Off When Sacramento Visits Detroit
Later tonight, the Palace of Auburn Hills will feature a showdown between two of the best big men in the NBA. Both DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond are among the League leaders in multiple statistical categories, and will be the key matchup as the Kings face the Pistons.
The former teammates from Team USA’s gold medal team in the 2014 FIBA World Cup are both enjoying outstanding seasons this year.
Drummond continues to be one of the best rebounders in the game. His 13.5 rebounds per contest are the second-best rate in his career and third-best in the NBA this season. With 10.1 boards per game, Cousins is not bad himself, cracking the top 12 with those numbers. Both have averaged double-digit rebounds the last four seasons.
While cleaning up the boards is one of their strengths, they are both multi-faceted players. This is prominently shown in their defensive numbers, with the two big men averaging one steal and one block per game.
Cousins is averaging 1.4 blocks and 1.4 steals, his fourth consecutive year averaging at least one in each category. It is also his fifth season out of the last six to achieve the feat. Drummond has accomplished the same achievement in four of his past five campaigns. This year, the Pistons big man is doing it on the back of 1.2 blocks and a career-high 1.6 steals per game.
Their scoring is another facet enjoying success this season. At 14.3 points per game, the big man from UConn is averaging the second-best scoring output of his career. The athletic post player is finding success through his best field goal percentage in three years and a career-high percentage from the free throw line. He is also helping his teammates, averaging the most assists per contest in his five years as a pro.
Like his counterpart, Boogie is enjoying a stellar offensive season. The Sactown center is averaging a career-best 28.1 points per game, top five in the NBA. Aided by a career-high three-point percentage, the former Kentucky standout has expanded his range, giving opponents fits defending him. Still drawing fouls at an elite rate, he is reaping the benefits of the second-best free throw percentage of his career. Like Drummond, Cousins is averaging a career-high in assists with 4.3 per game, making him second among all centers in the NBA.
When the two have gone head-to-head, Cousins has outplayed his complement. Apart from field goal percentage and a 0.1 advantage for Drummond in steals per game, he dominates the matchup.
In the past three meetings, Boogie has outscored Detroit’s big man 88 to 37. This reflects the overall statistical average, as DMC more than doubles Drummond’s scoring average at 23.4 to 11.1 points per game. This is helped with his excellent outside shooting when he plays against Detroit, making long distance shots at an outstanding 57.1 percent.
Cousins’ advantages in his matchups with Drummond don’t end there. He averages 12.4 rebounds, better than his opposite’s 11.5 per game when they play against each other. Boogie averages four times more assists and a tick more steals per game in their head-to-head competitions. His sizable advantage at the charity stripe is accentuated also, as he averages more than double the free throw attempts Drummond shoots per game.
In the winter chill of eastern Michigan, the Kings will look to Cousins to continue his hot play against the Pistons.