All-Star moment will make Drummond’s mother proud
Auburn Hills — It’s never as good as the first time. The second time is going to be pretty good, though.
Pistons center Andre Drummond is going to make his second All-Star appearance on Sunday night, his second selection in the last three years. It’s something of a rite of passage, as he’ll get to play among his peers, as one of the NBA’s elite.
Drummond is having his best season overall, with 15.1 points, a league-best 15.7 rebounds and career highs in assists (3.6), steals (1.6) and free-throw percentage (63 percent). He was deserving of the selection with the jump in production this year, but he was disappointed when he didn’t make it with the initial coaches vote.
After the Washington Wizards’ John Wall was injured, it opened a spot on LeBron James’ squad for Drummond.
“For me, it felt like it was expected this year. I knew what it would take and I would need this type of year to build my confidence back and my team’s confidence,” Drummond said. “My play throughout the year has really shown that I am an All-Star-caliber player and I have to play like that the rest of the year.”
Drummond, 24, has done well for himself in his sixth season, but the selection is as much an achievement for him as for his mother, Christine.
“When a person like that in your household is (pushing) you to make it,” Drummond said. “(She says) you have to be an All-Star and do this and do that. It’s a goal we set at the beginning of the year, so I really strived for it.
“She was really upset when I didn’t make it. It took a toll on me as well because I knew how bad she wanted me to be in it. When we got that phone call that I got in, I was excited for all of us.”
Drummond received his All-Star jersey at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday from Pistons general manager Jeff Bower in a pregame ceremony. He reveled in the joy with his teammates, who mobbed him at midcourt in celebration.
Drummond also will participate in the Skills Competition on Saturday night, one of four big men and four guards in the contest. It’s a far cry from the Slam-Dunk Contest appearance he had two years ago — one of the best dunk competitions in history — and finished in fourth place.
The skills competition will be a little easier, highlighting his all-around skill.
“I just have to hit that top-of-the-key 3-pointer — that’s it. everything else, I should be fine with,” Drummond said. “I can pass the ball well and handle the ball well. I have faith in myself so I don’t need to work on that. If I get to halfcourt, it’s going in.”
More than that, it’s an opportunity to be in the NBA’s elite company, with chances to play with the best and be in the spotlight as well.
“You meet different people in all different aspects of life: acting music,” Drummond said. “You go down the list of people who come out for this event, it’s a good marketing and networking thing as well.”