Drummond gives thumbs up to Casey hire: ‘Everybody’s excited for it’

Andre Drummond said Dwane Casey has arranged for him to work out this week against retired great Kevin Garnett.
Chris Schwegler/NBAE/Getty Images
by Keith Langlois
Web Editor

LAS VEGAS – Andre Drummond can’t really avoid people giving him their opinions of Dwane Casey’s impact on the Pistons, but he isn’t going out of his way to solicit them.

“I don’t want to hear anybody else’s opinion. I want to experience it for myself,” Drummond said as he watched the Pistons Summer League team go through practice on UNLV’s campus. “Obviously, people give me their opinions of Dwane Casey and everything has been nothing but positive words about him – just the way he coaches, the way he is as a human being. From what I’ve heard, he’s a stand-up guy.”

They’ve had several conversations already, three or four a week, Drummond said. Casey has let Drummond know he wants him to become ready to handle a wider array of responsibilities in the offense and, perhaps toward that end, he’s arranged for Drummond to have an intriguing workout partner.

“We communicate at least three or four times a week, shooting ideas at me,” he said. “I’m about to work out with Kevin Garnett this week coming up. He set that up for me. Our conversations have been really organic. I enjoy speaking to him all the time. He always asks me for my input, which is definitely huge for me to just really have my opinion on whatever goes on with the team.”

Drummond said he’s “finally found a blueprint that works for me” as far as when and how hard to condition in the off-season. He’s spent a good chunk of time with yoga instructor Dan Gottlieb, who began working with the Pistons two summers ago.

“I’ve always done yoga but I never really spoke about it,” he said. “My yoga teacher is a guy from Michigan. ‘Yoga Dan’ – that’s what he calls himself – he’s been a big help for me. I feel great – really, really good.”

Drummond has posted Instagram pictures of himself shooting perimeter shots in recent weeks and Casey has given him no indication he’ll dissuade putting it into his repertoire. Toronto center Jonas Valanciunas came into last season with four career 3-point attempts, then averaged one per game in 2017-18. Drummond’s 30 career attempts have been almost exclusively end-of-shot-clock or end-of-quarter heaves, but that figures to change next season.

“He told me to work on ballhandling, work on the corner three,” Drummond said. “I’ve obviously worked on my post work and free throws. Just adding stuff to my game. I’m really excited for it. Looking forward to doing this part of the game, being more involved in the offense and I think he’s going to use me the right way.”

About shooting 3-pointers – something Casey said the Pistons must do with greater frequency next season than the 28.9 per game of last season, which ranked 17th in the NBA – Drummond said, “I’ve been shooting them for the past five years, so it’s about time I’m able to put a couple up. It’s not something I’ll just jump the gun and shoot like 10 threes a game; it’s something that I’ll just continue to work on and take it when it’s there.”

Drummond has been in frequent contact with teammates and said the vibe since Casey’s hiring has been encouraging.

“Everybody is excited for it,” he said. “Everybody’s excited to have him, excited for the new coaching staff. We talk all the time. We’re excited to come out here and watch these guys play and able to work out together. It’s going to be good.”