RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Andre DrummondPosted by EJacoby on June 24th, 2012
The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.
Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
Player Name: Andre Drummond
Height/Weight: 6’11” / 275 lbs.
NBA Position: Center
Projected Draft Range: High Lottery
Overview: Andre Drummond is an unreal athletic specimen whose NBA intrigue stems from his unique physical profile, but not so much from how he performed as a freshman at UConn. The second youngest player in this draft, Drummond was a last minute re-classification to the 2011 high school class and joined the Huskies late, taking awhile to mesh with the defending National Champions. The 18-year-old had a rollercoaster season, dominating certain games and showing extended flashes of greatness while at other times looking lost on the floor without much to contribute. He averaged 10.0 points and 7.6 rebounds for the year on 53.8% shooting, getting most of his points on dunks from lob passes, putbacks, or cuts into the paint. He shot an unfathomable 29.5% from the free-throw line and yet finds the 15-foot jumper as one of his potential go-to scoring moves because he lacks post skills. On defense, though, Drummond was a consistent game-changing force, evidenced by his 2.7 blocks per game. Not only is he huge (6’11”) and strong, but Drummond is agile on his feet with a quick second-jump, all adding up to an elite post defender. He could even get out to defend high pick-and-rolls well and close out on perimeter shooters, results of a truly one-of-a-kind athlete. Drummond runs the floor with the speed of a swingman, and he finished with the 10th-fastest score at the Combine’s agility test drill, finishing behind mainly small guards. He also has an insane 7’6.25” wingspan, the best of any prospect. It’s easy to see Drummond’s massive potential, but he’s a project that needs time to refine his offensive skills and find ways to score besides dunks. He showed some refreshing personality during Combine interviews, but his drive to be great remains in question based on his in-game body language and passive nature.
Will Translate to the NBA: Drummond displayed great shot-blocking numbers as an 18-year-old rookie and should only get better as a rim protector. He also recorded an elite offensive rebounding rate, averaging about 3.5 per game, and that stat has a great track record of translating to the pros. He’s an intimidating factor in the paint, yet can also run the floor with the best of centers, something that’s key at the next level. Despite poor shooting numbers, Drummond shows a soft touch with his short jump shots and could develop into a decent mid-range shooter. He wants to dunk everything near the paint and usually succeeds when he tries to attack the rim. Drummond’s explosiveness will translate for sure.
Needs Work: Drummond is nowhere near ready for efficient NBA contributions, but he can get there quickly if he works furiously on his offensive game. He needs much improvement on his footwork and positioning so that he can use his body effectively on the low block. Once he gets it, Drummond must find some post moves – a drop step, jump hook, pump fakes – in order to create offense for himself. He also needs to show more assertiveness on offense, showing that he wants the ball and wants to beat his man. He also must obviously shoot it better from the free throw line and keep working on his mid-range shot.
Comparison Players: The reason why Drummond shows so much NBA potential is because of his rare athletic traits. The best comparisons for Drummond once he fills out are guys like Dwight Howard, Amar’e Stoudemire, and DeAndre Jordan. When you start hearing these names, you understand why he’s so hard to pass up on. At the very least, he should become Jordan – an excellent shot-blocker and ferocious dunker who has no post game whatsoever. But if Drummond’s offense comes around, we’re looking at Dwight Howard-like potential, although not that specific level of dominance. There are just so few big men with this level of explosiveness that a comp with Howard is the most logical one.
Best Case Scenario: There are very few athletes on the planet with Drummond’s combination of elite size, speed, strength, and mobility, so he has a chance to be special. Remember that he’s just 18 years old and would just be entering college next season if it weren’t for a late re-classification last year. If he shows new improvements on offense every year, proves a desire to be great, and avoids injury, Drummond can become an elite center at the NBA level. It’s all up to him, and it will take much work, but Drummond can become one of basketball’s most intimidating post players, but this is a very best case scenario.
Best NBA Fit: Drummond is a project; one that requires patience and full-time development. Think Andrew Bynum and how the Lakers groomed him slowly to become the dominant (but enigmatic) center he is today. The Charlotte Bobcats at #2 need immediate help and don’t seem like a great fit to be patient with his development. The Sacramento Kings at #5 already have their franchise post player in DeMarcus Cousins, and he requires plenty of attention of his own. Yet both of those franchises are rumored to be interested in the big man. Better landing spots for Drummond are the Washington Wizards at #3 to learn from Nene, the Cleveland Cavaliers at #4 to grow alongside that young nucleus, and the Portland Trail Blazers at #6 to complement their franchise player LaMarcus Aldridge, who is more of a stretch four.
Scout’s Take (from NBADraft.net): “His measurements backed up what many already knew. He’s an absolute physical specimen with a longer wingspan than Davis at over 7 and a half feet. Whether he has a ticker to tap into that great potential is the mystery that scouts must solve.”
*This post was contributed by RTC’s Evan Jacoby. He can be found on Twitter @evanJacoby.