For Andre Drummond and the Pistons, the numbers have to lie

Thanks to James Brocato, I have access to a really cool data set – complete box score and win score statistics for the Draft Express Top 100.

And because of that data set, I approached the NBA Draft with one thought running through my mind, “Anyone but Drummond.”*

Among Pistons fans, my perspective is among the minority. That’s not all that surprising, and honestly, it’s understandable. Drummond was a household name for NCAA and NBA fans before he even committed to Connecticut, he was ranked #2 overall ranking on Draft Express, and he is an exceptional athlete. He has all the things you can’t teach, as many coaches and scouts are fond of saying.

Here’s the problem – he is totally and completely unproven on the basketball court. In the NCAA at least, he didn’t produce anything close to what you’d expect out of the #2 overall prospect.

Normally, I would turn to Win Score to illustrate the point; however, in this case, the raw box score stats tell the story much, much better.

Because he is expected to play Center in the NBA, I’ll focus on the stats where you might expect a Center to contribute: Rebounds, Shooting Percentage, Blocks, Fouls, and Points (all stats per 40 minutes). And because I have complete data for the DX 100, I’ll compare Drummond to his peers in that group.

Here we go.

Let’s start with his main strength, blocks. Among the DX100, only three players averaged more blocks: Anthony Davis, Fab Melo, and John Henson. What’s more, Drummond doesn’t get himself in foul trouble when blocking all those shots; he averaged only 3.1 fouls per 40 minutes. Drummond excelled at blocking shots, and it didn’t take him off the court.

He’s also been good on the offensive glass - only Zeller and Plumlee were better.

Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends from a statistical perspective.

In terms of scoring, Andre Drummond ranks 78th in Points per 40 (and a meager 33rd out of 35 among Power Forwards and Centers).

In terms of total rebounding, Drummond ranks 42nd overall and right in the middle of the pack at 18 among PFs and Cs.

In terms of defensive rebounding, Drummond is 41st overall and among his peers at PF and C, he ranks 30th.

In terms of shooting percentage, we can look at it two ways, eFG% and TS%. In terms of eFG%, Drummond ranks 39th overall. In terms of TS%, Drummond ranks 76th (thanks in large part to a dismal FT%, which will keep him off the floor in crunch time if it doesn’t get much, much, much better).

Admittedly, college performance is not a completely accurate predictor of professional performance – especially for players as young as Drummond. We all know this, especially as Pistons fans. We have witnessed this with our beloved Greg Monroe, who has played much better in the NBA than he did at Georgetown.

But unlike Monroe, Drummond didn’t put up numbers that were anywhere close to good (Monroe’s NCAA Win Score averages were right around average, which projected slightly below average pro).

Quite the opposite, Drummond’s numbers are downright terrible, indicating that it is very unlikely that he will contribute anything to winning anytime soon.

Here’s hoping lightning strikes, and Andre Drummond makes a liar out of the numbers.

———————————————–

* Okay, I didn’t want any part of Barnes or Jones III either, but mainly, Drummond because the others weren’t high on the Pistons draft board.

Pistons acquire Corey Maggette, has nothing to do with Corey Maggette

Today, Joe Dumars made progress.

And that progress has nothing to do with what Corey Maggette may or may not bring to the Detroit Pistons in the 2012-2013 NBA season.

There was a time when Corey Maggette was an intriguing and productive NBA player who demonstrated a remarkable ability to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. But age and injury raise serious questions about his ability to do that while wearing Red, White, and Piston Blue. A quick look at his stats illustrate the point.

Stats courtesy of The NBA Geek

Yes, it’s possible (if very unlikely) that being traded to Detroit could rejuvenate Corey Maggette’s career. Antonio McDyess and Tracy McGrady both know a little bit about how injured veterans can rediscover their productivity under the careful watch of Arnie Kander.

But even if he doesn’t return to his pre-thirty-year-old form, acquiring Corey Maggette is an important step for the Detroit Pistons – if for no other reason than it demonstrates that the franchise is finally moving forward from its dismal failures of the summer of 2009.

Ben Gordon, signed in the summer of 2009 along with Charlie Villanueva, has been an enigma. By Wins Produced, Ben Gordon was never a star player, but since coming to Detroit, he hasn’t even played at a rotation-caliber level. A quick look at his numbers illustrate the point.

Whatever Ben Gordon’s problems have been, I sincerely hope he figures them out in Charlotte and realizes his full potential. He’s been an active member of Detroit’s community and seems like a genuinely good person.

From a basketball perspective, Maggette’s best has been better than Gordon’s, but that simply cannot be Dumars’ motivation. Likely, Maggette’s career is nearing its end, and he doesn’t fit any need the Pistons currently have.

This trade wasn’t about a talent upgrade, filling a roster need, or making an immediate improvement in the Win-Loss department. Corey Maggette the player doesn’t make the Pistons better.

But the financial flexibility that his expiring contract may provide might.

If Jason Maxiell picks up his player option, the Pistons suddenly have two expiring contracts that may be enticing to teams who will be scrambling to avoid the increasingly punitive luxury tax of the NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the summer of 2013.

But even if Maggette and Maxiel remain Pistons for the duration of the 2012-2013 season, this trade – I hope – was about cutting ties with a failed “retooling” strategy and starting a true rebuild around one of the game’s most promising young big men, Greg Monroe.

Here’s hoping that on draft night, Joe Dumars takes the next step in that reinvention.