Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond will start against the Toronto Raptors after missing more than a month of action due to a stress fracture of the fifth lumbar vertebra. The Pistons were mathematically eliminated from the Eastern Conference playoff race on Thursday night, but the news regarding Drummond's return is still exciting.
The 19-year-old rookie dazzled NBA enthusiasts with his athleticism and defensive effort in the first half of the season, but many wondered why head coach Lawrence Frank refused to pair Drummond with Greg Monroe in lineups more often. Frank told Keith Langlois of Pistons.com on Friday that he plans to do exactly that over the remainder of the year:
LFrank says one reason Drummond starts is to maximize his minutes together with Monroe over final 10 games.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) March 29, 2013
And this: LFrank says he'd told Drummond just before he got hurt he was going into starting lineup just before All-Star break— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) March 29, 2013
Drummond has averaged 7.3 points and 7.5 rebounds over 50 games this season (19.7 min/gm), and his 22.35 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) ranks No. 1 among the 2012 NBA Draft class -- just above Anthony Davis at 21.63.
At 24-48 on the year, the Pistons currently rank fifth in the NBA Draft Lottery standings.