As you have probably heard plenty of times by now, Andre Drummond is having a monster season at center for the Detroit Pistons. If he continues on the pace he has set through the first 23 games of the season, Drummond should be an All-Star selection. Few front court players can boast better numbers than Dre has, and while he probably will not be voted into the starting lineup by fans, he deserves a nod from the All-Star coaching staff.
This is the first season the NBA has implemented a voting format in which fans choose three front court players and two back court players instead of two guards, two forwards, and one center. This allows fans to be choosier with their selections. By now, everyone knows the All-Star starters are not chosen by merit, and fans just select their favorite players. It is nothing more than a popularity contest, and the first round of voting results are evidence.
The first voting results were recently released, and Drummond is slotted in 11th place among all Eastern Conference front court players. While many players with inferior stats are ahead of him, this has no bearing on whether Drummond deserves a spot on the roster. He is arguably having the best season of any center in the Eastern Conference so far this season.
Drummond leads the league in field goal percentage (.624). He is the top rebounder in the Eastern Conference and fourth overall in the entire league with 12.7 RPG. He leads all centers league-wide with 1.74 SPG, has significantly fewer turnovers than other centers playing similar minutes, and is fifth in the league in steals to turnover ratio. He currently ranks in the top 20 for blocks and is tied with Blake Griffin for the third most double-doubles (16). If only he could knock down a few free throws the Pistons would have almost zero reasons outside of fatigue to want him off the court for any length of time.
If All-Star starters were chosen based on performance rather than popular vote, choosing another center over him would be packaged with a tough sell. If he keeps playing the way he has through the first quarter of the season he will be among the favorites for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. Interestingly, he has shown only modest improvements in a couple of areas, but he has seen a substantial increase in minutes played. If Drummond is chosen for the award it would be a show of recognition to his high level of play in extended minutes instead of an actual improvement in play.
Receiving an All-Star selection would be a well-deserved show of recognition as well. Although he has played well enough to be on the league-wide radar, his voting numbers show how far he has to go before he has grabbed the collective attention of basketball fans. Whether or not he ever reaches that level, Drummond is at the top of his class and looks like he belongs in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.