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The Polarizing Andre Drummond

Fri, 06/22/2012 - 5:22am

Andre DrummondAndre DrummondEach year around draft time, there seems to be one prospect that shows all kinds of promise but elicits polarized responses from teams and analysts. This year, that prospect is Connecticut’s Andre Drummond.

Drummond is an absolute beast when it comes to sheer size, standing just under seven foot in shoes and packing 278 pounds of muscle on to that large frame. With a larger wingspan and lower body fat percentage than Anthony Davis, he is, far and away, the most physically imposing specimen in this draft class and is looking to enter a league devoid of quality centers. As if that wasn’t enough, he has a very high skill level, with the ability pass the basketball and shoing touch while moving towards the basket. Why then, is he being questioned and scrutinized more than just about any prospect in this draft?

It starts with his one year in college. His UConn team had as much talent as any team in the country not named Kentucky or North Carolina. Despite this, the team underwhelmed, resulting in a 9 seed in the NCAA tournament. The team was quickly dispatched by the buzz saw Royce White and the Iowa State Cyclones. In that season ending loss, Drummond tallied 2 points, 3 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 5 fouls in 26 minutes of apparently uninspired play. That game wasn’t a statistical anomaly either, as he averaged 10 points and 7.6 rebounds in a highly inconsistent freshman campaign. If that’s the case, one might wonder why in the world there is talk of him going as high as number 2 overall in the draft. His season was not totally bereft of big performances, though. Against West Virginia he tallied 20 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. Against a very good Syracuse team he decimated their zone for 14 rebounds (7 offensive) and 20 points.

UConn’s team last season looked as if they didn’t even want to be there, as their two most gifted players (Jeremy Lamb and Drummond) never looked genuinely engaged in the games. With UConn unable to take part in the NCAA tournament next season and a mass exodus of players, it was an easy decision for Drummond to go pro (he likely would have anyway). Now, NBA executives are picking him apart. He’s not a head case in the mold of a Renardo Sidney, but some significant concerns exist for NBA teams.

Drummond may be the definition of a high-risk, high-reward player. He seemingly lacks the heart and motivation to be an all-star, despite possessing all the physical characteristics you could ask for. Many NBA coaches are going to believe that they can be the first coach to get through to him and transform him unlocking his potential to be one of the top centers in the league. He’s got excellent size, but adds to that excellent athleticism, which could result in him being similar to his idol, Dwight Howard. In this draft class, he could go as high as second overall to the Bobcats, or fall out of the top 5 completely. With the draft quickly approaching it is still difficult to get a true read on where he’ll end up.

Once he is in the league, how hard will he be willing to work to achieve the stardom that he seemingly hasn’t scratched the surface of yet? That will be what NBA teams will have to figure out when determining if he’s worth their draft selection. In the book 7 Seconds or Less, Mike D’Antoni is quoted as telling his coaching staff that Boris Diaw is “Just good enough to get us all fired.” When Drummond is selected June 28th, something tells me there will be a coaching staff having the same discussion. Drummond is a double-edged sword for general managers on draft night. On one hand, if they draft him and he doesn’t pan out, they just wasted a top ten pick and the owner will be none too happy about it. On the other hand, if they decide the risk is not worth it and pass him up, he could become a star and if they passed on him for the 2012 version of Marvin Williams (a very real concern with this draft class, as there are no certainties past pick number one) their owner will not look too kindly upon that, either.

There is no prospect in this draft with as many questions surrounding him as Andre Drummond. He’s been saying all the right things, saying he is unconcerned about where he gets drafted and that he will work as hard as he can to achieve everything possible at the NBA level. However, every prospect in the history of basketball has said the same thing. Some made good on those promises, others did not. So, it will be interesting to see if he ends up the next Kwame Brown, Dwight Howard version 2.0, or somewhere in between, maybe in the same class as a DeAndre Jordan. With all the questions surrounding Drummond, one question will be answered very soon: what team is willing to take a chance on the supremely talented young big man?

Gronounours
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I've got the impression I've

I've got the impression I've been reading the same article on Drummond for months: "tremendous body... blablabla... not enough passion... high risk/high reward..." and that's about it. Apparently, nobody has anything new to say, so why not wait and see? Is it a deadly sin to just chut up?

sheltwon3
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It is actually crazy that no

It is actually crazy that no one can figure out what to do with this guy. I remember Cousins slipped to 5 because of questionable stuff. His plays has been great and he has probably showed more promise from that draft than anybody despite some of the issues he has had. Drummonds could wind up doing the same thing except he has to learn how to score but he may be of a above the rim player than Cousins.

benjo34 (not verified)
If this guy become a player

If this guy become a player that he have potential to be,a lot of teams will regret. I Remember they said that Derrick Favors was inconsistent and right now we see that Favors is very good at this level and will get better when he had chance to start

NashyMing
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Andre Drummond would

Andre Drummond would definitely be better than Kwame Brown. I consider him and MKG the best prospects behind Anthony Davis.

He's inconsistent and raw, but he has way too much talent. He needs to get into a good situation and whoever drafts him should get a good big man coach (Clifford Ray - the guy who developed D12 and Kendrick Perkins).

I think he could be as good as Andrew Bynum in a few years.

nevdoggy
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What ever happened to "bigmen develop slower?"

It's weird how people expect a 19 year old to be the beast now. It takes time for bigmen more then guards and wings. Everyone expect Durant & Beasley type freshman no numbers which is tough in a college setting.

stoneyisland
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Absolute beast?? Festus Ezil

Absolute beast?? Festus Ezil has better measurements and if I had to win now, I'd take Festus over this kid because of his work ethic. Drummond has been compared to a young Amare, which in my books means he's all flash and has little real game.

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