Drummond adding 3-pointer to arsenal: 'Those are shots I'm gonna be taking'

Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

LAS VEGAS - One of the most fascinating sights of last week's Team USA minicamp could only be seen after Gregg Popovich's practices had ended.

While media scrambled to join scrums with players who had already sat down to rest, and others recorded the one-on-one, post-practice battles between apex superstars like Kevin Durant and Paul George, something lower key, but doubly intriguing was taking place on the other end of the court inside the Mendenhall Center.

There, you could find Andre Drummond trading step-back threes with Detroit Pistons teammate Blake Griffin on Thursday, and a day later, engaging in a 3-point contest of sorts with an assistant coach.

Given the laughs that were had between Drummond and his competitors, and the relatively informal nature of the two-day event in Las Vegas, perhaps the 24-year-old big man was simply enjoying some offseason downtime on the court.

Think again.

"I don't do stuff (on the court) just to have fun," Drummond told theScore when questioned about his 3-point shenanigans. "If I'm taking those shots, (it's because) I'm working on it for the upcoming season. Those are shots that I'm gonna be taking.

"I make at least 200 corner 3s every day before I leave the gym. I'm getting them up. I'm getting the same shot up over and over again, so I'm getting more comfortable with it. It's been great so far," he explained.

The thought is staggering.

Drummond - a big man who's made only five 3-pointers on 30 tries during his six-year career, who's seen 95 percent of his career field-goal attempts come within 10 feet of the rim (according to Basketball-Reference), and who struggled to flirt with a 40 percent conversion rate from the free-throw line before knocking down 60 percent of his freebies last season - is now sinking more than a thousand triples per week in preparation for the upcoming season.

To put that in perspective, the second-to-last time Drummond drained an NBA triple - of the step-back variety, no less - writers needed to add caveats like "in real life" to describe the play. Now, Drummond wants to make it a nightly occurrence.

"It's something the coaches and I talked about it," Drummond expanded. "Working on the corner 3-point shot, working on my ball-handling, still working on my touch around the basket, too, but opening my game up a lot more. It's going to be a lot of fun."

Drummond envisions reigning Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, who will be his fifth head coach in seven seasons, encouraging such experimentation.

"He's a player's coach, so he's going to let us have a lot of freedom on the court, but still ask for structure, as well," Drummond told reporters Friday. "I'm looking forward to it. Every person I've spoken to about him has nothing but good things to say. We're looking forward to playing under his wing."

Andre Drummond Secs. per touch Dribbles per touch AST per 100 poss.
2013-14 1.4 0.38 0.7
2014-15 1.63 0.55 1.1
2015-16 1.82 0.68 1.3
2016-17 1.93 0.73 1.9
2017-18 2.07 0.82 4.5

Stats courtesy NBA.com

Drummond already looked more comfortable than ever with the ball in his hands last year - nearly matching his career assist total up to that point (277) in one season (237) - and the combination of that newfound playmaking ability with the prospect of more time spent hovering around the 3-point line is what gets him excited.

"I see the floor very well, so I'm able to make different plays - on the dribble, dribble kick-outs to the 3-point shot, be able to beat my defender to the basket," said the 6-foot-11 center.

"It's endless, the opportunities I have up here," Drummond concluded, gesturing toward what's become the most unlikely of office spaces for him this summer - the perimeter.

Drummond adding 3-pointer to arsenal: 'Those are shots I'm gonna be taking'
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