Andre Drummond has played a huge role in the Detroit Pistons’ battle for an Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The big man missed three games last month due to injury, but the 25-year-old has led the Pistons to eight wins in their last 10 games now that he’s healthy. Detroit is currently 29-30, which is the seventh-best record in the East.
On January 18, Drummond suffered a nasal contusion just seven minutes into the game against the Miami Heat. Since clearing the concussion protocol prior to Detroit’s game against the Dallas Mavericks on January 25, he has been absolutely dominant.
Drummond has played in 12 games since clearing the concussion protocol and he’s recorded a double-double in every one of those contests — and he grabbed at least 20 rebounds in three of those games. During this 12-game stretch, he is averaging 22.4 points, 16.0 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.1 blocks while shooting 65.7 percent from the field.
The two-time All-Star has shot 53.2 percent from the field during his seven-year career. But during this recent stretch, Drummond is barely missing during some games.
He was 11-for-13 (84.6 percent) against the Mavericks on January 31. He connected on 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) attempts during a win over the Denver Nuggets on February 4. Drummond was 12-for-15 (80.0 percent) in a victory against the New York Knicks on February 8.
This season, Drummond ranks in just the 37th percentile among all bigs on attempts near the rim, per Cleaning the Glass. But he has been especially lethal when scoring from the restricted area.
Since his return, he is shooting 92-for-122 (76.2 percent) in the restricted area, which ranks No. 1 overall during this stretch among those with at least 55 attempts in this zone.
James Edwards noted the change in one of his recent columns (via The Athletic):
“Drummond, instead of settling for the long post-up shots that have frustrated fans over the years, is taking his time, making an extra dribble or two and, of course, finishing at a higher clip. In addition, his offensive rebounding has helped in this department.”
Drummond is averaging 7.8 field goals per game in the restricted area since January 23, which trails only Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo (8.7) for the most in the NBA.
If Drummond can continue his recent hot streak, the Pistons may be able to finish the regular season on a high note and enter the postseason with some momentum.