Drummond slam dunk repertoire 'very top secret'

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Andre Drummond said one of his dunks for the Slam Dunk Contest will involve another player, but not a Pistons teammate.

Toronto — There’s not much of a pattern for Andre Drummond to follow.

Dwight Howard, in 2008, is the only big man to win the Slam Dunk Contest.

But there’s plenty of intrigue surrounding what the 6-foot-10 Pistons center, in the event for the first time, might have in his bag of tricks Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.

And plenty of secrecy.

“It’s very top secret,” Drummond said Wednesday.

He did reveal, though, one of his dunks involves another player — not a Pistons teammate.

Could it be Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, in his last All-Star weekend? Or Warriors guard Steph Curry? Or maybe Thunder forward Kevin Durant?

Drummond is trying to keep everything under wraps until Saturday’s contest, one most analysts believe his chances of wining are slim.

“If he really wanted to win it, he could win it,” said Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson, who has been working with Drummond preparing for the event. “He can catch it off the side of the backboard, put it through his legs and windmill it.

“I was just giving him some hints because I’ve been in dunk contests before.”

Drummond sees weekend as way to raise profile

The competition is tough, with defending champion Zach Lavine (Timberwolves), Aaron Gordon (Magic) and Will Barton (Nuggets).

While many of the wing players have an advantage because they get higher off the ground, Howard showed that with some creativity, a big man can win.

In 2008, Howard dunked and placed a sticker on the backboard — at about 12 feet six inches — and excited the crowd by donning a Superman cape before taking off from the free-throw line and throwing the ball in to win the title.

Last year, Lavine made a name for himself with the victory, and Barton, much like Drummond, is a dark horse.

“I just told him to go first; you don’t want to go behind Aaron or Zach,” Johnson said. “And if you miss the dunks, you miss the dunks.”

Johnson did reveal one dunk that could be part of Drummond’s repertoire — Drummond tossing the ball off the side padding of the backboard, catching it in the air, raising it over his head before going between his legs before hitting a reverse dunk.

But, doing it during practice instead of a tension-filled competition will have a different feeling.

“He’s a great lob-catcher,” Johnson said. “When we worked on the dunks, I told him to just catch lobs because he gets up very, very high and dunks very, very hard. He’s not going to beat them just off the ground.

“Zach is definitely one of the best dunkers ever to do it. Aaron is going to make his name this year.”

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson had some simple advice for Drummond.

“Win,” he said. “Go out to win and entertain and get into your package — whatever you have to put on a show, go out and do it.”

rod.beard@detroitnews.com

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