Andre Drummond looked poised to become one of the best centers in the NBA two seasons ago, but that all changed last season.
After earning his first All-Star appearance during the 2015-16 season, while also finishing that season All-NBA third team, the 7-foot Pistons center struggled to find consistency last season.
Drummond finished the 2016-17 season averaging 13.6 points and 13.8 rebounds per game, but he shot an abysmal 39 percent from the free throw line, while also looking slow and timid on defense.
Jackson, who played with the Spurs in Summer League after spending his rookie season in New Jersey, recently relayed the story on the Ryen Russillo Show on ESPN Radio.
I remember playing great and after the last game, we were just sitting there and Pop was like, ‘I need to talk to you,’ Jackson said. He was like, ‘Jack, you had a great Summer League. You’re playing well. I really want you on my team, but there’s only one way that you gone make my team during the season, you can’t smoke weed, Jack. You just can’t do it. I need you focused. I need you on your game because you know we have a chance to win a championship. I need you focused.’
Once he told me that, I shut it down, Jackson said. The NBA was way more important than weed. Trust me.
It all worked out just as Popovich said it would. Over the course of the 2003 NBA postseason, Jackson started in all 24 of the Spurs’ playoff games, averaging 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds to help the franchise capture its second title. Passing on puffing weed wasn’t a concession Jackson would’ve made for just anyone.
Russillo: Does that mean that the next GM that signed you, if he didn’t ask you that question, that that wasn’t a rule you had to follow?
Jackson: We had to have that talk first. Let me know my role.