Detroit Pistons: What Jalen Duren Can Learn From Andre Drummond
What if the Detroit Pistons drafted Andre Drummond during the Troy Weaver era? Instead of joining an organization in flux, imagine one catered to player development and a true rebuild.
In Jalen Duren, the Pistons face a similar task in developing a big with All-NBA potential. But fortunately for Duren he is in a much better situation. And despite how the Drummond era ended, there was more good than fans give credit for. Some of that ‘good’ involves learning from mistakes of the past.
There was a weird feel when Joe Dumars drafted Drummond. They already had young big man Greg Monroe, and neither one of them had a reliable enough shot to stretch the floor. And Lawrence Frank, head coach at the time, didn’t have a scheme to effectively play them together.
A lack of leadership and guidance were obstacles too large to overcome, and a lack of player development didn’t help either. Drummond needed someone to encourage him to play to his strengths. We saw the best in Drummond during the one season under assistant coach Rasheed Wallace.
He played direct, tried to dunk everything, and played with a ferocity we haven’t seen since. Jalen Duren has shown plenty to love, but he’s been at his best fulfilling what I call the ‘Big Man Triage’. That encompasses good defense, being active in the pick and roll, and rebounding ferociously.
Andre Drummond suffered a back fracture that slowed development early in his career. Like Drummond, Jalen Duren has also dealt with a few minor injuries that have caused him to miss games. I’m not against the idea of resting Duren more as the season ends. He’s proven a lot in year one and the team isn’t playing meaningful games, unless you are on tank watch.
For Duren, the latest injury was an ankle sprain that’s caused him to miss a few games. It’s been good to see the Pistons handle Duren’s injuries with extreme caution, understanding the bigger picture.
There is no need to rush Jalen Duren. In the case of Andre Drummond they might’ve given too much, too soon. He was drafted to be the franchise player, but they didn’t let him earn it. They didn’t smooth out the rough edges and ensure Drummond was the player worth the max contract.
Troy Weaver’s philosophy has been to model this rebuild after a restoration, and to do so at his own pace. And it’s been one of the more refreshing aspects of his time as general manager.
What’s Next for the Detroit Pistons
Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons face the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wednesday, March 4th at 7:30 PM.
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