The Starting Lineup: Drummond Beasts In Preseason Debut

Andre Drummond was unsuccessful in his lone attempt at individual offensive creation, but he did prove to be quite capable of applying his size and athleticism against NBA-caliber competition (that is, of course, if we’re going to consider the Raptors frontcourt “NBA-caliber competition”). He also scored the game-winning basket.  How many guys can say they did THAT their first time out?

Encouragingly, Drummond began to make his presence felt as soon as he took the floor.  Just moments after removing his Pistons warmups for the first time, Drummond had already gotten busy carving out space in the painted area, resulting in his first professional field foal on a two-handed tip dunk.  About a minute later, he slipped away from Amir Johnson on a pick-and-roll and fielded a lob from Will Bynum.  If I remember correctly, this was just the first of three alley-oop dunks for the imposing 19-year-old, whose physique certainly appeared more gargantuan than NBA.com’s 6’10″ listing would lead one to believe.

At the defensive end, where the Pistons hope Drummond can complement Greg Monroe, he looked similarly intimidating.  Observe one his two blocked shots…

While there’s obviously more to becoming an outstanding NBA player than size and athleticism, Andre Drummond’s brand of physical ability is the type that ought to make him a defensive presence right from the get-go.  On offense, well… it looks like he’ll provide Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Knight, and Will Bynum with a nice, big target around the cylinder.

In an impressive display of athletic versatility, DeMar DeRoZan nearly became the first player not named Blake Griffin to Mozgov a defender.  I’m telling you, when DeRoZan rose up off of two feet and cocked back the hammer, he looked just like a miniature version of Griffin with form that was truly flawless.  Unfortunately, a Greg Monroe foul prevented the play from being completed, but it was still an extraordinary attempt by a guy who stands about 6’6″.

In a not-so-impressive display of athletic versatility, Timberwolves’ mascot Crunch got hung on an attempted reverse dunk off the trampoline.  Poor Crunch went down flat on his back, but fortunately there was a mat in place to cushion his landing.  After playing it off about as cool as one possibly could, Crunch did redeem himself with a flying right-hander over the cheerleaders.  After the game, he contacted me on Twitter to explain what went wrong during the failed attempt:

Derrick Williams, Brandon Roy, and Chase Budinger performed well as the Wolves defeated the Pacers 84-70.  Williams knocked down a three-point field goal and caught a spectacular alley-oop from the rookie Schved (9 points)… Roy made a couple of drives to the rack, scoring the majority of his five field goals around the rim (13 points)… Budinger dropped 14 to match Nikola Pekovic (!!!) for team-high honors.

It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!  It’s… Eddy Curry?!

E-City’s flying tip jam accounted for just two of his 11 points, which he scored on 4 of 7 from the floor.  Playing the role of San Antonio’s starting center, Curry helped lead the Spurs to victory by corralling 8 rebounds in 25 minutes.  Nando De Colo preserved the triumph with a cold-blooded jumper that spared all those in attendance a preseason overtime.

Jeremy Lin experienced the misfortune of facing off against Russell Westbrook in his Houston Rockets debut.  I didn’t see the game, but Westbrook apparently lit Jeremy up like a Christmas tree, scoring 16 points in the opening period.  Despite the fact that a lone preseason game means little to nothing, you know that Westbrook—the uberly-talented basketball narcissist—wasn’t taking the match up lightly, fully understanding the hype and expectations which revolve around Lin.  I imagine Russy was pretty gassed up about the whole ordeal, and his first-quarter numbers certainly seem to confirm my assumption.  Lin finished with 3 points, 6 assists, and 3 turnovers in 19 minutes of play.

I think it’s safe to say DeShawn Stevenson and Deron Williams are no longer friends. To make a short story shorter, Stevenson is angry at Williams for publicly accusing Nets players of quitting on the team during the series of losing streaks that was their ’11/12 season.  Stevenson, responding to Williams’ comments via Twitter, has demanded that Deron use names next time he wants to criticize other players in ESPN Magazine.  Personally, I think this is all a master plan of Stevenson to get his name in major publications such as ESPN Magazine.  There’s a method to my dude’s madness.

Rasheed Wallace has offered up some curious reasoning behind his comeback with the Knicks.  Via the New York Post: “Passion, just sitting watching the way some of the guys you call great post players not playing in the post,’’ Wallace said. “It’s the passion to come back and show y’all how post players really need to play — old-school basketball. Y’all are used to all this new, young stuff, high-flying and dunking. That’s not basketball. Terrible footwork by a lot of young guys out here. Let’s go back to old-school basics.’’

So… has the post been relocated to an area outside of the three-point arc?  Must have been, because that’s where ‘Sheed had been spending the majority of his time since the latter part of his tenure as a Piston.  While I am certainly not going to question Rasheed’s ability to score near the basket, I will question his willingness to go there.  So, unless getting back to “old-school basics” means teaching young big men how to shoot twice as many threes as Dirk Nowitzki, then I’m not exactly sure what in the hell Rasheed intends to do this coming season.

If anyone has a video of Gerald Green dunking on Nikola Pekovic, please send it to admin@nba247365.com so I can use it for Poster of the Day.

Houston’s Terrence Jones is responsible for nearly one third of NBA.com’s Top 10 plays.  One could say he was on the ’05 D-Wade tip…

Box Score Observations: John Lucas III scored 16 points for the Raptors.  Greg Monroe led the Pistons to victory with his 17 points and 10 rebounds.  Hasheem Thabeet, who now fills Gatorade cups for the Thunder, recorded 10 points on 5-6 from the floor.  Paul George dropped 16 on the T-Wolves.  Former Laker Josh Powell pitched in 14 off the bench for the Spurs.  Michael Beasley had already dropped 10 at the end of the first, but he finished with just 14 in 24 minutes.  Wesley Johnson (of all people) led Phoenix with 18 big ones.  However, the Suns fell to the Kings, who received 21 from DeMarcus Cousins.

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