Friday, April 24, 2015

2014-15 Season Review: Centers

The starting Center position has been the only mainstay for the Pistons over the last two seasons.  Andre Drummond has played in, and started, 163 of the last 164 games for Detroit.  The budding superstar took a step back this season offensively, with hopes that he takes more steps forward in the next few years.  In the process, he remained the league's top offensive rebounder, and one of the overall best on the glass, and had a decent shot-blocking season.  When Greg Monroe wasn't claiming the backup C minutes, or whenever the team needed a defensive presence on the block, Joel Anthony provided valuable effort and energy.  Anthony lived up to his reputation as a consummate professional after being acquired in an offseason trade for Will Bynum, and Stan Van Gundy has already stated that he would like to re-sign the veteran big this summer.


Andre Drummond
GP
PER
PPG
TS%
TRB%
ORB%
DRB%
FG%
FT%
FTr
BPG
SPG
AST%
82
21.4
13.8
50.4%
24.0%
18.3%
30.1%
51.4%
38.9%
.380
1.9
0.9
3.9%

Drummond experienced a more involved role in the Pistons' offense in Stan Van Gundy's first season, as the coach endeavors to build around the talented young big man the way he did with Dwight Howard in Orlando.  Drummond's Usage Rate increased from 16.7% in his rookie season to a rate of 22.0% this season.  He was featured as a post-up option for the first time in his career, with mixed results.  Drummond attempted 192 more field goals in 2014-15 than the year before, with a dramatic decrease in field goal percentage.  Part of that was the increased role generating more difficult looks, and part of it appears to just be bad luck.  Drummond converted 55% of tip-in attempts in 2013-14, decreased to 45% in 2014-15.  Seeing as he's still large and athletic, expect that number to rebound next season, bringing his FG% back up with it.

As far as actual post moves are concerned, Drummond still appears raw, but made some progress.  Consistency was the biggest issue, as his footwork and decision-making weren't always crisp.  Drummond's conversion rate on hook shots decreased from 56% in his sophomore season to 43% this year.  That's to be expected, as he attempted 144 more hook shots in 2014-15.  There were bright spots though: Drummond had arguably his best "on-the-block" performances of the year against Roy Hibbert, who is a well-regarded post defender and large human being.  Drummond shot 58% in games against Indiana with Hibbert on the floor this year, including 8/11 (72%) on hook shots.  The overall picture still isn't pretty yet and we may still be a year or two from him being a reliable offensive option, but the progress is there if you look close enough and want to see it.

Drummond maintained his league-best offensive rebounding in 2014-15, actually increasing his offensive rebounding percentage by nearly a full point.  His 18.27 OReb% ranks 12th all-time in NBA history for a single season.  Drummond's defensive rebounding also improved from his sophomore tour, jumping from 27.7% to 30.1%, improving from 9th-best to 2nd-best in the league in that category.  Although he improved on both sides of the glass, Drummond ranked 2nd in total rebound percentage, finishing behind DeAndre Jordan.  His TReb% ranked 11th all-time among players with enough minutes to qualify for a single season.  Andre Drummond remains one of the two best rebounders in basketball, despite only being 21 years old.

It wouldn't be right to just pick one highlight for Drummond; he's too exciting to watch night-in and night-out.  Thankfully, wonderful people on the internet spent time compiling all of the great stuff he did this season into two videos:
Drummond is under contract through the end of next season, and is eligible for a rookie extension through the end of October.  Tom Gores has already come out and called Drummond a max player, so it's reasonable to expect an agreement to be reached.  It would take an outrageous offer for the Pistons to even consider dealing the young star.  Drummond will be anchoring the charge next year.

Joel Anthony
GP
PER
PPG
TS%
TRB%
ORB%
DRB%
FG%
FT%
FTr
BPG
SPG
AST%
49
14.7
1.8
60.7%
12.4%
8.2%
17.0%
58.1%
68.2%
.355
1.0
0.2
1.8%

Anthony was picked up as frontcourt insurance after it was announced that Aaron Gray would miss the season due to cardiac issues that may derail his career.  It only cost the team Will Bynum to acquire Anthony, in what turned out to be a heady trade by the front office.  Anthony only appeared in 10 games before Josh Smith was waived, as Greg Monroe ate up almost all of the backup C minutes.  Anthony continued to earn minutes thereafter, being trusted as a defensive stopper when Monroe or Drummond got in foul trouble or struggled defending a back-to-the-basket opponent.  There's nothing all that special or exciting about Anthony, other than the occasional highlight reel block.  He's just a reliable defensive frontcourt option who you hope you don't need on a nightly basis, and that's something every team needs.

Anthony is a bit short on YouTube-able highlights, but he did do some impressive things this season.  Despite only appearing in 49 games and playing limited minutes, Anthony had six different four block performances in the 2014-15 season.

Anthony is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.  Stan Van Gundy has made it known that he would like to bring Anthony back, due to his professionalism and defensive prowess.

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