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Andre Drummond thanks Dwight Howard for dominating him

Dec 22, 2013, 3:30 PM EDT

Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard posted up Andre Drummond.

Howard rebound over Drummond.

Howard passed around Drummond.

When it was all over, Howard had 35 points on 13-of-18 shooting, 19 rebounds and five assists in the Rockets win over the Pistons on Saturday.

Any talk that Howard has lost his place as the NBA’s best center should be iced for a while. Drummond, one of the top young challengers to the mantle, was completely overwhelmed in the matchup.

But the 20-year-old Pistons big man made his mark while talking to Howard after the game. Drummond on what he told Howard, via Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

“I thanked him. I told him thank you for teaching me something,” Drummond said. “It was my first time playing him, it was definitely a learning experience for me.”

That’s an, um, interesting way to go. I can’t imagine Howard has been thanked many times by an opponent he just dominated.

But that’s just Drummond. He plays with good feelings rather than ill will. He doesn’t use a faux hate of his adversaries to motivate him. It just works for him.

And if getting dominated by Howard on Saturday works for him, Drummond should be in great shape going forward. He’s already, for my money, the best center in the Eastern Conference, though Roy Hibbert and Al Horford are close. Drummmond needs fine-tuning – Saturday proved that – but his physical skills give him such a head start.

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Drummond’s attitude, though? That’s just fine and dandy already. Refreshing even.

Drummond acts how he wants to act, even if it’s unconventional. He’s clearly not emulating other players just to emulate them.

Plus, it appears his cheerfulness is spreading. Howard, via Goodwill:

“I love Andre,” Howard said. “The way he’s been playing this year, I told him before the game, he’s having an amazing season, keep doing what he’s doing. He’ll be fine.”

That is true. If Drummond keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be fine.

But if he stops doing what he did Saturday, he’ll be great. And then rest of the league certainly won’t be thanking Howard for preparing a budding star to play even better.

  1. peterjohnjoseph - Dec 22, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    I’ve been criticizing Dwight Howard for years because I always thought a guy with his size, wingspan, and ability was just loafing around and not taking advantage of his god given gifts. I really hope that this is he him getting it. That was the type of game I expect out of Dwight. I’ve gone off on long tangents before about how it would be waste if he didn’t live up to those expectations.

    Drummond will be fine. He’s young, and talented. He needs some strength. Hell, Jared Sullinger pushed him around, and Drummond admitted before the game he couldn’t keep up, and didn’t.

    • patsfan92 - Dec 22, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      agreed. with his ability dwight should be destroying the league and being LBJ’s #1 threat

  2. frankyvito - Dec 22, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    That’s the most underrated story of the yr. Dwight Howard’s post game is the best its ever been. Which wasn’t hard to do cause he never had one. But his work with Hakeem has been obvious.

    • casualcommenter - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      Yeah, his low-post game got off to a slow start this season, but it’s been getting better recently as he gets more comfortable in live-game situations.

  3. stayhigh_247 - Dec 22, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    C’mon Dre, did you think he wasn’t gonna show up at all? But hey, everybody has to get spanked sometimes to get back focussed, lets just hope he’s ready whenever they rematch.

  4. scalfor3 - Dec 23, 2013 at 12:43 AM

    I’d still take Hibbert over Drummond right now, but the kid’s time is coming.

  5. muhangis - Dec 23, 2013 at 2:23 AM

    Aww man Dre ruining my fantasy stats!

  6. rjthakid - Dec 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Respect to Andre. He didn’t whine like a little girl, which is what I see a lot of players do.

    “He was getting all the calls!”
    “He’s a dirty player!”
    “I wasn’t 100%!!!”

    I’m glad he responded like an adult. Use it as a learning experience. Hell he’s only 20. NO 20yr old has ever been the best at their position.

  7. bux1022 - Dec 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    C’mon. Drummond is not better than Hibbert. Close but no cigar! And he does talk trash to pump up his game, did it against Hibbert earlier this year. He was dominated in that game too. So much for the best center in the east that shoots 40% from the charity stripe!

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