Andre Drummond is the future of the Detroit Pistons. We know this by now, and we think the same thing about Greg Monroe, Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. While each of these players will have a big role in the successes and failures of the Pistons for the foreseeable future, none of them mean as much to the franchise as Drummond does.
I recently explained why I think Jennings will be the Pistons’ most important player this season, and I still believe this to be true. Jennings will be the Pistons’ most important player on the floor, but looking at the bigger picture, Drummond is clearly the most precious commodity the Pistons have.
Upon drafting Drummond, the Pistons became immediately more interesting. The Pistons already had a franchise piece in Monroe, but he has never proven to build up much interest with fans outside of Detroit. Despite being arguably the second-best rookie of his class, he wasn’t voted to the All-Rookie first team. Despite having one of the best seasons of any big man in 2011-12, he was inexplicably snubbed from the All-Star team. Drummond, on the other hand, began gaining national attention almost as soon as he stepped on the floor.
The kid is an absolute freak of nature. He is way too athletic for a man his size. How many 6-foot-10, 270-pound men not named Andre Drummond do you know who can do this? You don’t have to answer that because I already know the answer is zero. Smith is pretty athletic for his size, but he is an inch shorter and 40 or 50 pounds lighter than his counterpart. Drummond has Dwight Howard’s frame with LeBron James’ athleticism. At least physically, he is truly a once-in-a-lifetime player.
On top of his physical attributes, Drummond appears to have a lovable personality. From his love of penguins, happy-go-lucky attitude and quirky Tweets and Vines to his most recent media splash involving his “woman crush” Jennette McCurdy, there isn’t much about Dre that hasn’t struck a chord with even the most casual of fans. He has a marketability factor that is off the charts and rising every day. Not only does this translate to greater exposure for the Pistons, potential new fans and more revenue for the team, but it also attracts other players. Before Drummond came along, they didn’t have much local interest, let alone national interest.
The mere presence of Drummond has created a buzz about Detroit. You can look to the Smith and Chauncey Billups signings as proof. The thought of Billups making a return to Motown has been floated out there in the past, but he appeared to have no interest in it. He and Joe Dumars apparently had some making up to do before he would consider it, but it’s curiously interesting that once the Pistons had a sensational young player on the roster, Billups suddenly became open to discussing the idea of a return to Detroit. The dollar signs were a pretty convincing argument to get Smith in the red, white and blue, but the thought of teaming up with Drummond to form “Lob City East” had to be just as enticing.
The thought of watching Drummond develop alongside Monroe, Smith, Jennings and Caldwell-Pope is exciting. You can take any one of those guys out of the equation and still be excited- – unless you take out Drummond. Think about this: imagine you can keep Drummond and three of the other four players. Regardless of which player you remove, you’re still feeling giddy. Now, keep the other four and take Drummond out. You’re still excited with the other four, but Drummond is clearly the gem of the group.
The Pistons have a bright future ahead of them. It all started with Monroe, but it is Drummond that makes the sky the limit for this team. Without him, they are just another young team with potential. With him, they are an intriguing group that basketball fans across the entire nation can’t wait to get a glimpse of.