It’s never a good idea to jump to a conclusion about an NBA rookie after just one preseason game.
But Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe, who gave his own preseason expectations when he emerged as a successful rookie two seasons ago, couldn’t help but flash some wide smiles after watching Andre Drummond in the preseason debut vs. Toronto.
Drummond was very impressive in 22:37 of action, hitting 6-of-8 shots for 12 points.
“I think he played really well,” Monroe said. “He did everything we were looking for, rebounding, blocked a couple shots and he was strong in the paint. For his first time in real NBA action, he did really well.”
Of course, it helps a rookie when he scores early in the game, as Monroe well knows.
“When you get a bucket or two early in the game, like he got right at the rim, it helps build a lot of confidence,” he said. “I think he carried that momentum throughout the game.”
Drummond agreed with that assessment.
“I was a little nervous and my teammates saw that, but they talked to me before the game and said just play the game and do the things you need to do and help us on the defensive end and things will start coming to you,” he said. “When I got in the game I just played hard and ran the floor, blocked shots and grabbed rebounds, so things started going my way.”
Drummond electrified the Pistons crowd with a dunk against Toronto, but took pride in his shot blocking.
“That turns into an extra possession for us and that’s when I get to dunk. Without a blocked shot, I don’t get a dunk,” he said.
Drummond gave credit to veterans like Corey Maggette for taking him under his wing.
“He talks to me every second of the day and just tells me ‘don’t let it scare you, just go out there and do your thing,’” Drummond said. “Go out there and just play the game, do what the coaches tell you and then everything will fall in line for you.’ That’s what I did today. Tomorrow I have to get better. Today is over.”