Published on April 9th, 2012 | by Bryant West, Columnist0
2012 NBA Draft Prospect Stock Watch: Andre Drummond
Name: Andre Drummond
Hometown: Hartford, CT
Physicals: 6′ 11″, 275 lbs, 19 years old
NBA Position: Center
Current Stats: 10.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 53.8% FG, 29.5% FT
In August of 2011, Andre Drummond changed his mind and decided that college was, in fact, the correct decision for him. After originally deciding that he would skip college and spend his necessary “year out of high school” at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Drummond’s change of heart was hailed by most as an excellent decision. After all, he was joining hall of fame coach Jim Calhoun and the champion UConn squad, and it was great to see Drummond make a decision that would certainly help his development as a player.
At least, that’s how it was supposed to work out.
Fast forward to March 15th, when Drummond’s Huskies were in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, playing against Iowa State. As they did against most squads all season long, UConn’s pure talent level drawfed their opponents. And while Iowa State had a potential first round pick in Royce White, Drummond had a distinct size advantage (and athletic advantage) that no one outside of Kentucky or Kansas could hope to match.
Drummond finished with just two points and three rebounds on 1-4 shooting, and was no only completely outclassed by his Cyclones counterparts, he was outhustled, outmatched and outran. White, a firebrand of enthusiam, dominated the Huskies for 15 points and 13 rebounds.
It was basically the crystallization of Drummond’s entire season. So much talent, minimal effort.
Hit the jump for the rest of Bryant’s report…
Drummond is cursed with the second worst red-flag a prospect can have, behind injury plagued, of course. He lacks a mental focus to the game. He has skills, and all the right tools, but most especially on the offense end, his failure to assert himself is maddening.
Certainly, it’s not all bad. He’s a very good defensive player already, and an excellent shot blocker (he averaged 2.7 a contest, and in the Huskies’ loss to Iowa State, he had four). He’s also a very good rebounder, and ranked ninth in terms of offensive rebounds.
And to be far to Drummond, it isn’t like he was the main focal point of UConn’s offense. After building beautifully around Kemba Walker last season, UConn tried to do the same for Jeremy Lamb this year, and their crazy half-court offense didn’t give him a ton of chances to score. In a per-40 minutes pace, Drummond would average just 12.3 shots a contest and score 14.3 points a contest. Compare that to Thomas Robinson (16.2 shots and 22.0 points) or Jared Sullinger (15.3 shots and 23.1 points) or even his own teammate Jeremy Lamb (14.6 shots and 19.4 points) and it’s easy to see he wasn’t at all a major offensive weapon.
But you can only blame UConn’s offense so much. He’s 275 pounds and 6’11, for one thing—he has all the tools that, even at the collegiate level, he should be able to out muscle and dominate against most defenders. It comes down to Drummond, who couldn’t – or wouldn’t – carve out the necessary space he’d need to score in the low post. He didn’t physically assert himself down low. And that is a mental problem, not a physical one.
The allure of potential is a heavy drug for NBA scouts (remember when Marvin Williams, a 6th man on his North Carolina squad, was picked above Chris Paul and Deron Williams?) but at a certain point red flags have to drag even the highest potential down.
And there isn’t like there isn’t evidence that teams will pass on high potential bigs they worry lack mental focus. Just sneak back to 2007, when DeAndre Jordan was expected to go lottery, and ended up a 2nd rounder. Of course, Jordan didn’t start taking off until 2009, when Blake Griffin joined the Clippers and got Jordan motivated—and yet still, with all his physical gifts, Jordan’s only offensive weapon is to dunk the ball.
Back to Drummond. He has the elite physical gifts of Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, Derrick Favors, or even Greg Oden pre-injury. You can’t help but look at him and think “yeah, there is a guy built to play basketball”. But then you watch him in any number of games for UConn last year, and it isn’t just that he’s young (second youngest prospect in the draft, only behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) and it isn’t just that he’s raw (he really, really is)—it’s that at times he seemed not to care.
Draft Watch: The thing is, I could realistically see any team in the lottery taking Drummond if they didn’t get the top pick.
Charlotte could panic at the loss of the top pick, and without Anthony Davis to bring in the fans, they could go for the high potential Drummond and pray he’s not just Emeka Okafor 2.0… or even worse, Kwame Brown 2.0.
Washington has Nene, but lack any other size. They could bring in Drummond and hope that Nene provides the proper leadership to develop him—and with John Wall to pass to him, they could slowly work Drummond into a higher focus offensively.
New Orleans doesn’t have any real talent, except Eric Gordon. Needing to generate some excitement, they gamble on Drummond and his size, advertising him as the next great big man and doing their best to make it happen.
Sacramento already has DeMarcus Cousins to provide the scoring, so Drummond comes in for his defense. With the dominating combination of size and power, the two could conceivably become of the better big man combos in the league—if they both keep their heads screwed on tight.
Toronto has Andrea Bargnani in the paint. To counter act that fact, they bring in Drummond to rebound and defend, something Bargnani seems incapable of doing.
Portland has LaMarcus Aldridge, but other than that lack size. They could take Drummond and hope he becomes everything Greg Oden was supposed to be.
Detroit, like Sacramento, has a great scorer in Greg Monroe but lacks a grand interior defender.
Golden State has no size outside of David Lee, and Lee is a laughably poor defender.
Drummond could go anywhere from the second pick to about the sixth or seventh pick. It depends on how much the teams love what they see in workouts. Hopefully for their sake, they’ll bring in some competent bigs alongside Drummond to make him work.
Conclusion: He’s a top pick in terms of physical and a second rounder in terms of mental. He’s a hole in one or a triple bogey. He’s Dwight Howard reborn, or he’s Kwame Brown. Would you risk it, in a class with some much talent? I would not.