Andre Drummond's Max Deal Was a No-Brainer for Detroit

Detroit's big man becomes the NBA's newest max contract. How good can he be?

Earlier today, Andre Drummond became the fifth player to sign a max contract this offseason after signing a five-year deal worth $130 million to stay with the Detroit Pistons.

Drummond is arguably the best rebounder in basketball and one of the top interior defenders in the league.

Check out where he ranked in several categories last season:

Category Stat Ranking
Total Rebounding Rate 24.5% 1st
Offensive Rebounding Rate 15.6% 2nd
Defensive Win Shares 5.5 4th
Defensive Rating 98.0 6th

Any big man who grabs nearly 25% of all available rebounds and defends very well is a player a team can build around. In addition, he is just 22 years old and posted career highs with 17.7 points and 16.2 rebounds per 36 minutes last season.

However, there are a few issues with Drummond in terms of his limited offensive arsenal. Also, some of his more advanced statistics fell last year while his usage rate increased.

For the 2016 season, Detroit’s big man owned just a 49.9% true shooting percentage and an Offensive Rating of 103, which were both career lows. Also, he posted just 2.0 offensive win shares, another career low.

One of Drummond’s primary issues on the offensive end is his inability to make free throws. He shot a horrendous 35.5% from the charity stripe last year. This issue sometimes forced Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to sit Drummond down the stretch of close games because the opposing team would just foul Drummond and dare him to make free throws.

Now, take a look at Drummond’s player efficiency ratings (PER), win shares, and nERD scores over the past few seasons.

Year PER Win Shares WS/48 nERD
2013 21.6 4.5 0.172 4.2
2014 22.6 9.9 0.182 9.0
2015 21.4 7.7 0.147 4.9
2016 21.2 7.4 0.133 3.6

While these performances are impressive and well above average, Drummond is now a “max” NBA player. He will have to show improvement on these numbers to justify his huge contract.

For perspective, now “max,” center Hassan Whiteside posted a 25.7 PER and 10.3 win shares last season, which were both higher than Drummond’s. Also, Al Horford, who is expected to get a big contract this offseason, registered 9.4 win shares this season.

Using our nERD metric, Andre Drummond owned a 3.9 score last season. This means, a team full of league-average players would win about four games more over the course of a season with Drummond on the team. But Drummond’s nERD of 3.9 ranked 30th in the NBA among players who logged significant minutes at the power forward or center positions. His free throw shooting and offensive rating really impacted his efficiency.

Again, Drummond is a very young player with plenty of success in the NBA through his first four years, and the Pistons are absolutely justified in giving him this contract.

Keep in mind he will be 27 at the end of this contract, right in his prime. Drummond has shown tremendous promise and has shown promise to get even better over the next few seasons.