After scoring 25 points and yanking down 29—twenty-goddamned-nine!—rebounds against the Pacers last night, Pistons center Andre Drummond’s per-game numbers are looking downright stupid. He’s averaging 20 points and 19 rebounds per game, and he’s the first player since 1985 to score at least 80 points and grab at least 75 rebounds through the first four games of a season.
Drummond’s work on the glass this season has been absurd. It’s not just that he’s grabbing so many rebounds—he leads the league in total rebounds and offensive rebounds by healthy margins—but that there’s really nothing anyone can do to keep him off the glass. So far this year, he’s averaging a league-leading 29.5 rebound chances per game, and he’s converting 66.1 percent of those chances into rebounds. Out of all players averaging at least 15 rebound chances per game, only Enes Kanter (68.8 percent) is grabbing more of those chances.
What’s really set Drummond apart from centers like Kanter is how much harder he’s fought for his rebounds. He’s scooped up his fair share of easy ones, but he’s also leading the league in contested rebounds per game at 8.5. He gets even more monstrous when you focus on just offensive rebounds; Drummond is grabbing a league-leading 6.3 contested offensive rebounds, nearly doubling Enes Kanter’s next-highest mark of 3.8. These are the numbers of a man who hasn’t been playing basketball so much as he’s been Godzilla-stomping opposing front courts into the hardwood.
The really fun thing about Drummond’s four-game run is how he’s managed to score 20 points per game without really having much in the way of an offensive skill set. According to Synergy Sports, he’s scoring just 0.462 points per possession on post ups, which makes him one of the very worst post players in the league. After post ups, Drummond’s second-most common shot type is put backs, and his 1.17 points per possession on those shots put him in the league’s 50th percentile. Nearly 94 percent of Drummond’s shots this year have been taken less than 10 feet from the rim, and yet he’s somehow shooting just 49 percent from the field. But it doesn’t even matter! When you’re grabbing 7.5 offensive rebounds per game and you never leave the front of the rim, you can headbutt the ball at the hoop and still end up with 20 points.
It’s just four games, but these numbers are fun to gawk at and consider as possible indicators for what Drummond’s season is going to be like. He’s just 22 years old and entering the second year of head coach Stan Van Gundy’s much-needed overhaul of the team. If there was ever a time to bet on Drummond becoming A Real Problem for the rest of the league, it’s right now.