Morning Shootaround

Andre Drummond embracing new role in Detroit Pistons' offense

NBA.com staff reports

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Two seasons ago, Andre Drummond averaged a career-best 13.1 field goal attempts as the Detroit Pistons made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. That field goal number dropped a tick last season to 11.2 and, this season, Drummond’s 10.7 FGA per game is his lowest since 2013-14.

All that said, the Pistons are off to a 5-2 start and have benefited from Drummond taking up a new role in the offense. Rod Beard of The Detroit News explains how Drummond is serving as a hub for coach Stan Van Gundy’s team and they are thriving off it:

For Drummond, it means fewer shots for himself and more usage as a creator in the new offense. He’s bought in, but it took some concessions to give up some of the traditional role for team success.

“It’s more of a maturity thing. Most guys probably would not like that very much, to step back from what you’re doing,” Drummond told The Detroit News on Monday. “Obviously, I was taking quite a few shots, and to sacrifice that to get my team’s offense going and the movement around us is something I really take pride in now.

“I take pride in trying to get 5-7 assists a game and it’s a lot more fun for me to run around and get my guys going.”

It’s already paying off, with 15 points and 17 rebounds against the Clippers — in what Van Gundy called one of Drummond’s best games since Van Gundy arrived. Drummond followed with another impressive stat line against the Warriors: eight points, 18 rebounds, five assists and five steals.

The transformation wasn’t easy for Drummond, who ran significantly more pick-and-rolls with Jackson in the previous two seasons. The new niche requires more versatility and focus from Drummond — and the mistakes are going to come with the ramped-up learning curve, but Van Gundy is willing to accept that.

“What we’re getting out of him in terms of what he’s doing to help our offense and an increased defensive effort on the boards has certainly been more important than the facts that he’s had more turnovers.”

His improved game comes with an acknowledged step forward in maturity from himself and his teammates. With the disappointing 37-45 finish last season, he learned a lot about himself and realized that some things needed to change if they were hoping to get back to the playoffs and turn things around.

And it started with him looking within to change his play on the court.

“It was just an acceptance and trying something new. We tried the other way, shooting the ball in the paint and this is something new to see if it works,” Drummond said. “If it didn’t work, we wouldn’t go back to it. Since it’s working, it’s something I’ve found a love for, which is trying to get my teammates open.

“(The change) is overall — my entire summer was so much fun, working on the mental aspect rather than physically trying to get after it. I took the time to mentally figure out what I needed to do to be the best basketball player I could be for my team.”

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