Andre Drummond: Point Center, it's a thing, and it's working

Andre Drummond has become a hub of offense facilitating from the elbows with the Pistons this year.

The Pistons are off to a great start in the early going of the season, there are a lot of things that look different with the team and one of the biggest differences is Andre Drummond's role on offense. In the past, he has been almost exclusively used as a roll man in the pick and roll and occasionally running dribble hand-offs with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. His other involvement in the offense was the foray into posting up.

The Pistons have gone away from their pick and roll heavy attack in a big way early in the year, something that Stan Van Gundy (a longtime pick and roll guy) has admitted is a bit uncomfortable for him, but he is going with it at the advice of assistant coaches and his brother Jeff. Over the past two years, the Pistons have been one of the heaviest pick and roll teams in basketball, and it's usage has been nearly halved this year. Instead, they have replaced it with a much more motion-heavy offense, full of back cuts and dribble handoffs all over the floor. Even when they go to pick and rolls it is often after several other actions.

A key cog in the new motion-based offense is Andre Drummond facilitating from the elbows. For people who haven't watched much of the Pistons over the past few years, this would seem pretty absurd to imagine, in his career Drummond has averaged less than one assist per game and has never managed to shake the reputation from early in his career that he is a dunker and rebounder only. However, despite his low assist totals, he has shown an ability to pass before in his career but has rarely gotten a chance to use it. The Pistons as a team ran their offense almost exclusively from their point guards over the past few years, and the only time Drummond would get the offense through him it was usually in the form of a post up and no one ever bothered to double team him which combined with bad shooters and few effective cutters meant that there was never much opportunity for him to pass.

This year it is different, however. Drummond as a post up guy failed pretty spectacularly last year (although if his free throw shooting stays perked up it may be wise to re-visit the idea down the road) and the Pistons decided to get him involved in the offense in other ways, most notably by using him as a facilitator from the elbows.

The first way the Pistons use him is with simple dribble hand-offs like this one.