The look on everyone's face when Andre Drummond's name is mentioned reflects awe. The center for the Detroit Pistons averages 19 points and an NBA-leading 19 rebounds per game and they'll be the Wizards' opponent tonight (CSN+, CSNmidatlantic.com and NBC Sports Live Extra, 7:30 p.m. ET).
The Pistons (7-5) moved on from Greg Monroe and have gone to a system that coach Stan Van Gundy prefers -- and that the Wizards now use, too -- of one big inside and four perimeter players.
"He's a specimen. Good Lord don't make a whole lot of those. When he does it's good to get one," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said of Drummond who is 6-11 and 280 pounds. "It opened the floor from him. They basically went four out, one in. For a guy like him that can run that can jump, very athletic, probably the most athletic big man in the league. He can do a lot of things, rebound, score, block shots. I think that's really helped him without another big down there clogging it up. It's what Stan did in Orlando when they had Dwight (Howard), Rashard Lewis, Ryan Anderson, and those type of players they put around him to spread the floor."
The formula for the Wizards' success last season was to get Drummond, who is prone to picking up cheap fouls, into trouble early. In a 107-103 win, Drummond only had two points and five rebounds. In a 99-95 victory, Drummond was held to 13 points and nine rebounds. In between those wins, a game in which Drummond avoided foul difficulty and had 18 points and 16 rebounds, Detroit won 106-89.
Marcin Gortat began his career under Van Gundy and assistant coach Brendan Malone, also in Detroit, with the Orlando Magic. He'll be matched up with Drummond.
"They're going to clog up the paint I'm quite sure. I already know how Stan is. It's going to be a tough game for me," said Gortat, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds, 24 points and 10 rebounds and 16 points and 17 rebounds in the three meetings. "I don't think he even changed the calls. He's got the same calls. More or less, I'll remember half of the plays. I know what to expect."
Gortat's first game with the Wizards after being acquired just before the season began in 2013 was in Detroit. Drummond battered the Wizards in that game. After a shaky start to this season, Gortat can't be too concerned with his stats vs. Drummond's. As long as he's doing the dirty work, he's doing he'll be doing his job.
Throwing a lot of bodies at Drummond, such as Nene and DeJuan Blair, to make him work and earn his points at the foul line could end up being the plan especially if the score is close down the stretch. Drummond shoots just 42% from the stripe.
"He looks like he's overweight sometimes but he's quick. He's explosive and sometimes you can turn around and you can see the guy standing straight and stop moving then all of a sudden he crashes the boards quickly when you turn your head back. You got to stay alert," Gortat said. "Probably, I'm going to stick to him and try to box out. I don't want to even focus on going for the rebounds. The guy is grabbing 20 rebounds per game for average.
"The guy has already had 20-plus rebounds four or five times. You can't miss that. Dwight back in the day was putting PlayStation numbers but this guy is just ridiculous also. We got to put him on the foul line. He can't shoot free throws."
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