The Rising Stars Challenge is only an exhibition game, but it’s still an entertaining affair that showcases some of the top upcoming talent that the NBA has to offer.
Many would argue that most of the players don’t take the game too seriously and it’s probably true, but that shouldn’t take away from the impressive performance by Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond.
The second year big man posted huge numbers as he finished with 30 points and 25 rebounds, en route to being named the most valuable player of the Challenge.
The 25 boards were an all-time record for the event, surpassing the previous record of 23 set by Dejuan Blair. Drummond was also able to finish with some reliable free throw shooting for once, as he finished 75 percent from the line, up from the putrid 41 percent that he’s averaged on the year.
Drummond was perhaps looking to make a statement after being denied a spot as an All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference. He certainly accomplished that and looked great as he went toe-to-toe against fellow up and coming NBA talent, such as Western Conference All-Star reserve Anthony Davis.
The Challenge is usually a stepping stone for players before they achieve that elusive All Star selection. It would be shocking if Drummond doesn’t find himself playing among the NBA’s elite next season in the actual All-Star Game.
However, tonight’s game was a bright spot for a Pistons team that hasn’t had much to cheer about as the season enters the second half stretch. These will be the players that Drummond will compete against for the next 10-12 years and it has to make Pistons fans feel good about the future.
The performances witnessed on All-Star weekend should be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s a great possibility that Drummond’s domination tonight in an exhibition game will be seen in more important circumstances for years to come.