Andre Drummond has a pair of All-Star selections, an All-NBA honor and three rebounding titles to his credit, but his best could be yet to come.
In case you hadn't noticed—the Detroit Pistons' mileage on the treadmill of mediocrity hasn't been the easiest on the eyes—the bouncy big man has added to his arsenal. Two seasons back, he climbed from atrocious to adequate at the free-throw line and dramatically improved as a distributor. This past year, he delivered his strongest defensive effort to date.
While it's hard to say what's next, it's easy to imagine something is in the works.
By declining his $28.8 million player option for 2020-21, he could enter free agency in a summer mostly devoid of marquee names. If he waited a year, he might be a forgotten face in a player pool that could feature Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James and more.
In other words, Drummond should approach this as a contract year. If he does, his numbers could continue to climb on a Pistons team lacking high-level talent beyond him and Blake Griffin. Drummond hit another gear down the stretch (18.6 points and 16.5 boards per game over his final 35 appearances), and first-year skipper Dwane Casey had previously praised his growth.
"He's trying to expand his game, and he's doing everything we're asking him to do," Casey said, per Rod Beard of the Detroit News. "He's doing a great job of screening, and you can't name me a better rebounder in the world than Andre Drummond."
This might be Drummond's best remaining chance to take a massive leap as the Motor City could soon see sweeping changes. Reggie Jackson is a free agent in 2020, and Griffin could be one the following year. If Drummond's surrounding cast changes—either in-house or with a different team—he may never again have this blend of support and a starring role.