From the opening moments of the Rookie Showcase, it was clear Andre Drummond had a little something extra for draft mate Anthony Davis, the first pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Drummond tried to dunk on Davis, member of the host New Orleans Pelicans on the game’s first possession before being stripped on his way up by a defender. Another instance, he tried to back the lighter Davis down before being fouled. For Drummond, it was the closest thing to Tiger Woods’ famous “Hello World” Nike commercial nearly two decades ago, as his 30 points and 25 rebounds in the showcase drew the attention of virtually everyone —especially Davis, who’s playing in the All-Star Game Sunday. “Yeah, he was playing hard,” Davis said. “I was trying to save my legs for tomorrow, I didn’t want to use my energy and not having any for tomorrow.” Drummond isn’t exactly toiling away in anonymity in Detroit, but he doesn’t have the benefit of playing on national TV every week, even if he’s long proven the predraft concerns about his game are completely unfounded. Earning the respect amongst his peers is likely Drummond’s greatest victory from the weekend. He barely missed being selected as a reserve for the All-Star game (13.1 points, 13.0 rebounds, 1.9 blocks), and people are taking notice. No longer just one of the guys who has next, he’s pushing his way through the door quicker than anyone has expected. “He’s up and coming. He’s not too far away from being in the Sunday game,” said Pacers All-Star forward Paul George. “His talent is off the roof. You saw it, 30 and 25, that’s putting up (Shaquille O’Neal) numbers. He’s got a bright future. He’s gonna be in the league a long time.” George was the 10th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, and it took a couple years before he emerged like a supernova in his third year, when he averaged 17.4 points and 7.6 rebounds as the Pacers advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The spot Drummond is in now, the road to stardom, is one George is familiar with. Every big game was a chance to introduce himself to those who didn’t know his name, and he had an extra gear of energy — like Drummond did Friday night.
Pistons' Andre Drummond rises to fore and beyond among peers
Detroit News | Feb 16