Is Giving Andre Drummond More Minutes a Bad Idea?

The following is from Ben Gulker (@brgulker), who also writes over at Pistons by the Numbers He’s addressing a common topic among Pistons fans: What if Drummond got more minutes?
Andre Drummond Detroit

Pistons’ head coach Lawrence Frank was recently quoted as saying

Look, there’s credence to the numbers. There’s certain things the numbers don’t tell you that you really have to look deeper. It just comes down to how different units are operating, and sometimes, what may benefit us at one end may be a detriment on the other end. Sometimes, there may be some matchups that are to our favor, sometimes not to our favor.

The thing with the PER and that stuff is they’re projections. When those minutes are extended, you could project what those numbers are going to be, but it’s very hard to sustain those numbers consistently if you’re playing those minutes. It’s not rotisserie basketball. It doesn’t work quite like that. There are a lot of variables to that. Plus, he might be playing against different guys.

It’s not clear if Frank meant PER as in Hollinger’s creation or per as in per 36/48 minutes per game. But either way, his point is the same: Andre Drummond’s gaudy stats in limited minutes should be taken with a grain of salt, because it’s difficult to sustain that level of production with more minutes.

Is he right? Well, let’s use the NBA Geek’s amazing stats to find out.

I did a quick back of the napkin look at Drummond’s key boxscore stats – Points, TS% (True Shooting percentage, which accounts for free throws and three pointers), Rebounds (DRB and ORB), Steals, Turnovers and Personal Fouls. I also took a look at his “Points over Par”, which is a look at the edge in points his stats earned his team.

I broke this down into four categories based on minutes played in the game: under 15 minutes, 15-20 minutes, 20-25 minutes, and over 25 minutes. Let’s take a look!

Drummond’s per-36 minute stats for games under 15 minutes

G MPG Points over Par Points TS% DRB ORB AST BLK STL TOV PF
9 11.7 2.2 11.3 59.2% 5.5 3.4 2.4 3.8 2.1 2.7 5.5

Drummond’s per-36 minute stats for games between 15-20 minutes

G MPG Points over Par Points TS% DRB ORB AST BLK STL TOV PF
8 18.3 4.8 10.1 42.9% 7.9 7.6 0.7 4.0 1.0 1.5 3.7

Drummond’s per-36 minute stats for games between 20-25 minutes

G MPG Points over Par Points TS% DRB ORB AST BLK STL TOV PF
11 21.5 6.4 14.7 58.5% 9.0 5.5 0.5 2.2 1.7 1.2 3.2

Drummond’s per-36 minute stats for games over 25 minutes

G MPG Points over Par Points TS% DRB ORB AST BLK STL TOV PF
11 31.7 8.5 15.9 70.7% 7.6 5.0 0.4 2.3 1.5 1.5 2.3

Summing Up

Obviously, we’re looking at a very small sample of 32 games, and there certainly is
some variance.

However, what don’t see in the numbers is a significant drop off in productivity
when Drummond’s minutes increase. In fact, we see the exact opposite! And the truth is that regardless of his minutes played, Drummond has been making significant impact when he plays.

It appears that the Pistons have literally won the lottery with Andre Drummond, and the only thing holding him back is minutes.

-Ben

Comments are closed.