Boston Celtics

Dumars, Pistons hoping patience pays with Drummond

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Dumars, Pistons hoping patience pays with Drummond

ORLANDO, Fla. Former UConn big man Andre Drummond, the youngest member of the 2012 NBA draft class, has already figured out some old school tricks of the trade.

During a time-out against the Orlando Magic summer league team, Drummond, drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the first round with the No. 9 overall pick, stayed right next to Magic forward Kyle O'Quinn who tried to go to different parts of the court, only to find Drummond right there with him.

"I did that purposely," Drummond said. "It's a part of the game, try and get in people's heads; get them out of their rhythm. I kept following him around and it looked like he got annoyed, so I kept doing it. It kind of threw him off a little bit."

Drummond has already taken strides towards the mental aspect of the game which is kind of scary when you consider how physically gifted the 18-year-old is right now.

While Drummond certainly has played well in the Pistons' first two preseason games, the Pistons plan on being as patient as possible when it comes to his development.

"We said from Day 1, that we are absolutely not going to judge his immediate impact on the floor," Joe Dumars, Detroit's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com. "The big thing about him, is his work ethic, getting him to be a pro and how to grow into becoming a pro. We're not so much worried about production on the floor right now or immediate impact. We're simply looking at his growth pattern."

Said Drummond: "I'm a young guy, soak up as much as I can and wait until year two to make that next step. Right now, I'm just trying to have a great learning process."

Because of his youth, most agree that the upside to Drummond's game is huge. But with that youth comes a high degree of uncertainty as to the kind of player Detroit would be getting.

"I was concerned about learning as much as I could about the kid," Dumars said. "That was the main concern for us. We did a tremendous amount of background on this kid. We talked to more people pertaining to the background of this kid, than any kid we ever drafted. Because he was so young. We wanted to make sure that we had a feel for this kid. Is he going to come in and work? Is he receptive to tough coaching? Is he receptive to being patient?

"We needed to find out all those things before we decided to draft this kid. We did a lot of homework on this kid. Very smart kid, very bright kid. The only thing now is, half is on him to continue working hard. The other half is on us to bring him along at the right pace."

Part of that is allowing him to grow without the necessary pressure that comes with being a top-10 pick.

"When you're dealing with an 18-year-old, it would be unfair of us to judge him on his immediate impact," Dumars said. "He's so young. We realize that. We're not just going to throw him out there just because we took him with the ninth pick. But we like the growth potential in this guy."

In Detroit's 76-73 win on Monday over Utah, Drummond had eight points, five rebounds, four steals and two blocks.

The Pistons defeated Orlando 79-74 on Tuesday, but Drummond's impact was nearly as great. He had three points, three rebounds and a blocked shot.

Whether you're a lottery pick or a free agent pick-up, there are going to be stretches of up and down play. But the potential for greatness - and the fact it comes in such a young package - gives the Pistons hope that the best days of Drummond's career are indeed ahead of him.

"We feel he's going to be a very good player in this league," Dumars said. "But it's going to take a little time. Of course we'd love if he came out and just dominated, but we know it's a process that we are absolutely not going to rush."

Dumars added, "The one thing about him, he listens. And he takes in everything you say to him.The fact that he's listening and he's willing to learn at 18 years old is great for him and his future, as well as for us with him part of that future."

30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

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30 teams in 30 days: Another struggle in New Orleans for Boogie and The Brow

We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: The New Orleans Pelicans. 

Anthony Davis has waited patiently for the New Orleans Pelicans to assemble a cast around him that could be competitive in the West.
 
Still waiting...
 
The Pelicans have more big-name players on their roster this season, but those players, by and large, are well past their primes. And that will likely result in yet another playoff-less season.

 
New Orleans’ best hopes of bucking the odds and become a competitive, playoff-caliber team will hinge on how a couple of former Celtics perform.
 
Tony Allen and Rajon Rondo, both members of Boston’s 2008 championship team, will be looked upon to provide solid play as well as veteran leadership.
 
Rondo, now 31, a four-time All-Star, was in and out of the Chicago Bulls lineup last season before emerging in the playoffs with a pair of strong performances against the Celtics, which put Boston in a 2-0 series hole despite the first two games being at the TD Garden.
 
However, the point guard broke his right hand in Game 2 and was unable to return, which proved to be a major turning point as Boston went on to win the series in six games.
 
In Allen, the Pelicans add one of the best perimeter defenders in the game. And while he is 35, he doesn’t come with the kind of wear and tear you typically associate with a player his age.
 
That’s because Allen has not ever been a player to log major minutes. This past season in Memphis, Allen averaged a career-high 27.0 minutes per game.
 
Despite playing limited minutes, it still didn’t keep him from being recognized for his defense, which has led to him being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first or second team, six times (first team in 2012, 2013 and 2015; and second team in 2011, 2016 and 2017).
 
Those veterans will be important, but the key to making this work for New Orleans lies in how well Davis and DeMarcus Cousins mesh.
 
Acquired just before the trade deadline in February, the Pelicans were just 7-10 with Cousins in the lineup and 4-4 when he did not play.
 
However, that came on the fly, which is why there’s optimism in New Orleans that Davis and Cousins will work together even better with a training camp under their belts.
 
Ultimately, the Pelicans have to field a team that can be competitive, if for no other reason than to appease Davis.

While Davis has shown no signs of wanting to play elsewhere, you have to wonder just how much patience will he have with a New Orleans team that has made just one playoff appearance in his five NBA seasons.
 
Of the other 13 lottery picks from his draft, only one (Kendall Marshall) has made fewer playoff appearances.
 
Anything short of a playoff appearance will only lead to more questions about Davis being traded.
 
"I understand it's a business, but if I don't hear anything from Dell [Demps, the Pelicans general manager] or my agent, I don't pay attention to it," Davis told reporters this summer, regarding the rumors about being traded to Boston. "Once I first heard [the rumors], then I heard it again, then I heard it again, I just wanted to make sure. I found out it wasn't [true], and that was the beginning of the summer, so I haven't paid attention to it since."
 
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Tony Allen (Memphis); Rajon Rondo (Chicago); Ian Clark (Golden State).
 
Key losses: Tyreke Evans (Sacramento); Tim Frazier (Washington); Terrence Jones (Qingdao Doublestar of Chinese Basketball Association); Langston Galloway (Detroit);
 
Rookies of note:
 None.
 
Expectations:
31-51 (fifth in the Southwest Division, 14th in the West).