Detroit’s Drummond acknowledges need to improve this season

In this March 19 file photo, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond rebounds against the Phoenix Suns in the first half of an NBA game in Auburn Hills. (AP photo)

By NOAH TRISTER

AP Sports Writer

The Detroit Pistons are coming off a disappointing season — one that raised significant questions about whether Andre Drummond is the type of player they envisioned when they gave him a massive contract.

Drummond admits 2016-17 wasn’t good enough.

“It was like a roller coaster ride for me,” Drummond said. “Just an inconsistent year for us as an organization.”

The Pistons went 37-45 and missed the playoffs after making it in 2016.

There were plenty of reasons for the team’s decline — particularly an injury-riddled season for point guard Reggie Jackson — but Drummond is the player who may be under the most pressure to improve when the Pistons move into their new downtown arena later this year.

Drummond is set to play in Saturday’s NBA Africa Game in South Africa, and he took part in a conference call this week. It’s been an eventful year for the 23-year-old big man, who received a $130 million, five-year contract from the Pistons last offseason.

Less than a season after finalizing that deal, Drummond was already the subject of trade speculation.

“I never had to deal with that before,” he said. “I wasn’t playing the way I was supposed to play.”

The Pistons took Drummond with the ninth pick in the 2012 draft, and he immediately impressed with his athleticism. Detroit hasn’t been a destination for top free agents recently, and there’s only so much the front office can accomplish with trades, so landing a player like Drummond in the latter half of the lottery was exactly what the franchise needed.