Auburn Hills – Let's put something into perspective. Andre Drummond had a season-low 11 rebounds during the Pistons' 96-86 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night. He was in foul trouble and was bothered by a cold that slowed him down.
Eleven rebounds is a bad night for Drummond. However, if he grabbed just 11 rebounds each night, he'd rank fourth in rebounding behind the Los Angeles Clippers DeAndre Jordan (12.8 rebounds a game), Kevin Love of Cleveland (12.1) Hassan Whiteside of Miami (11.3) and Utah's Rudy Gobert (11.1).
"Getting double-figure rebounds is not an easy thing to do every single night," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "You are almost shocked when he has 11 like last night. He didn't get many. It is a hard thing to do. It is a pretty incredible start for the year."
Drummond's streak of double-doubles ended at 11 during the Pistons' 97-95 loss to the Washington Wizards Saturday at The Palace. He finished with eight points and 13 rebounds. He also failed to record an offensive rebound.
Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat is a good center in the second tier of big men in the NBA. He is no All-Star but is big (6-foot-11 and 240 pounds) and is a lot different player than when he came into the league backing up Dwight Howard.
He gives much of the credit to Pistons assistant coach Brendan Malone who he called "dad" while in Orlando. He never flourished offensively but the Magic was willing to match a five-year, $34 million, with the Dallas Mavericks in 2009 because they saw his potential.
Now Gortat is a starter and has averaged double digit scoring the last five seasons. He is on his way again, averaging 10.9 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 46.6 percent from the field.
Gortat — now in his eighth season — was a role player under Van Gundy in Orlando, but he flashed signs of greatness while getting his feet wet.
"Marcin is a guy who put in as much time to become a good player as anybody I've seen," Van Gundy said. "He really worked from the moment we brought him over in Orlando. He was really committed to become a good player and he continued to get better and better. His work ethic is as good as anybody I've seen and he deserves the success he has."
Reggie Jackson is splendid when he is moving off the pick and roll and finding teammates. He is not as effective when he is pounding the ball and stalling the offense. Those are moments are diminishing but they still happen. Van Gundy said he will step in sooner to tell Jackson to pick things up when they do happen.
"I tell him right away in games," Van Gundy said. "He knows what he is supposed to do and what he wants to do. At times it is tough. Defenses are good. You don't see openings and you want to create something. You end up dribbling a little bit."
There were pranksters in the house and rookie Stanley Johnson was the target. The Pistons bench was one chair short a couple times and late in the second quarter Johnson had to stand until a kind usher found him a chair. Johnson thanked him with a fist bump.