You tell me: could a guy who averaged just 5.9 points a game as a senior at Miami really make an NBA roster? In Orlando, it would make for a cool story, but alas, even after DeQuan Jones ripped off a scalping of Andre Drummond‘s head at the rim in Detroit’s ugly 112-86 win last night, the 6-8 guard is competing with Christian Eyenga, Justin Harper, Armon Johnson and Josh McRoberts for the final roster spot. And even though he scored 22 last night, Jones’ chances of making the Magic’s final roster are pretty slim.
With that said, Jones might’ve left us all with a nice parting gift: perhaps the best dunk of the entire preseason. LeBron‘s “I do this in my sleep” reverse put-back is the only one that compares, and while James’ highlight was nice, it did not come in traffic. Jones caught everyone by surprise – Drummond ducked out of the way, the Orlando bench jumped off their seats, even all 17 fans in the building were wide-eyed.
On a related note, going into this preseason, I expected a lot more of this from Drummond: sleepy defense, getting on the wrong side of highlights, being mentally unprepared to compete with enough intensity to not turn into nighttime grub for the competition. But guess what? He’s actually been awesome. He’s already developed a chemistry with Will Bynum, and the two hooked up on a trio of lobs in one earlier preseason game. As Piston Powered pointed out, “it’s becoming harder to make a case that Drummond shouldn’t start.”
In four preseason games, the UConn product already has nine blocks in just 71 minutes. The rest of the team has 11. Ironically, five of those come from Terrence Williams, which isn’t expected to continue. The Pistons were 26th in the NBA last year in blocks (4.2 a night), and their best big man (Greg Monroe) has never been a stellar defender. Last season, the team gave up 9.4 points per 100 possessions less with him off the court, a huge number considering he is the team’s top big man and supposed inside anchor. They NEED Drummond’s shotblocking and defensive presence, and if he shows any type of consistent effort at all, it’ll be virtually impossible to keep him from playing at least 25-30 minutes a game.
My gut tells me Drummond will still go through growing pains this year – his foul rate will probably be through the roof – and he must earn the respect of the officials. But he presents something Detroit hasn’t had in a while, even if he didn’t show it against DeQuan Jones.
Will Jones make Orlando’s team this year?
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