Who is the man behind the mask?
You guys have finally pushed me to really commit to this. Keep in mind that I am in no way saying that Andre Drummond definitely needs to be the pick with the fourth selection in the draft. Instead, I am merely saying that it ought to be an option. The Cavaliers should (and appear to be) considering the possibility of taking Andre Drummond with their first first-round pick.
Why? Mostly because Andre Drummond offers the possibility of something that no other prospect (after Anthony Davis) in this draft offers: dominance.
If we were going to take a hard look at the population of people on earth and pick out how many of them were 7-feet tall with 7-foot-6-inch wingspans, we'd get a very small sample. Narrow that list down to those guys who are actually coordinated enough to play basketball and it's even smaller. Now consider the fact that Andre Drummond weighs 280 pounds, has 7.5% body fat, and a vertical leap of 33.5 inches. At this point we're talking about a very very very small number of people. He isn't like Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet was just tall. He wasn't a muscular, athletic freak of nature. That's Andre Drummond.
The biggest knock on Drummond is clearly his relative lack of production in his one season spent at UConn. During the 34 games that he played with the Huskies, Drummond averaged 10 points per game on 53.8% shooting with 7.6 rebounds per game (3.4 offensive). He also averaged 2.7 blocks per game and shot a miserable 29% from the free throw line. Those numbers will raise some concerns, and rightfully so. Why didn't he put up dominant numbers if he has such a ridiculous physical advantage over everybody else? Well, there's a couple of reasons. (via ESPN)
Drummond, who was ranked No. 2 in ESPNU's Class of 2012 Top 100, was supposed to be a big prospect for the '13 draft, not the '12 one. Earlier this summer, he told reporters that he was going to skip college this year and attend prep school for one more season before going to college. Before Friday, he was expected to spend the year at Wilbraham & Monson Prep Academy.
It wasn't until a month ago, when he dominated summer camps like the adidas Nations, that scouts began raising the question of whether Drummond would technically be eligible for this year's draft even if he skipped college.
Drummond wasn't going to go to UConn until he committed very late and then once he got there, the program was in shambles. I know these all sound like excuses, but I believe they are valid points that can't be overlooked. The head coach at UConn, Jim Calhoun, wasn't with the team for much of the season. They had guards in Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright that were pretty terrible at running the offense. As a result, both Drummond and Jeremy Lamb's numbers suffered. Neither Lamb nor Drummond were as aggressive as they should have been, but the fact that the veteran leadership on the team somewhat seemed to ignore their best players remains a factor. Here's a bit of a scouting report from DraftExpress.com
While Drummond played over 28 minutes per-game this season, his minimal usage rate indicates just how small of a factor he was in UConn's offense. Part of this is due to the chaotic nature of his team's highly unscripted half-court offense, which relies heavily on the whims of their very trigger-happy guardsShabazz Napier,Ryan BoatrightandJeremy Lamb, and their ability to make contested fade-away jumpers in isolation situations. However, the lion-share of the blame for this falls on Drummond himself, though, as he rarely looked like he actually wants the ball.
To add to the situation, Drummond broke his nose and suffered a concussion in a practice during October. He then played with a protective mask on his face for the beginning of the season and was obviously uncomfortable with it. People can go ahead and talk about how Anthony Davis clearly had a better attitude and drive to succeed during his freshman year, but to ignore the differences in their situations would be foolish. One entered a premier program that had other blue-chip prospects and great veteran leadership. One committed late to a program that was coming off a national championship, going through some transition, and lost their coach for much of the season.
I guess my final reaction to Drummond's productivity at UConn his freshman year would be this: Disappointed? Yes. Condemning him as a bust? No.
Now, let's play a little game. I'm going to give you a portion of a scouting report and you'll tell me what player it describes.
An excellent defensive player. He's an aggressive rebounder and shot-blocker who can guard both the 4 and the 5. He also has a high basketball IQ (especially in his passing ability out of the post) and shows an array of skills on the offensive end of the floor. He can face the basket, take his man off the dribble and even has emerging post moves.
That's the description of someone that you'd definitely want to draft, right? That's part of a scouting report about Andre Drummond.
At his size, he can do just a little bit of everything. He dominates in the paint but also has the ability to step out and hit shots on the perimeter. His ball handling is very good. He's murder on the fast break. He's quick off the dribble and off the floor. He's not afraid to crash the glass and is an excellent shot blocker.
What about this one? That's Dwight Howard in 2004.
"He could be Kwame Brown," one GM said.
Who did the GM say that about? They said it about Andre Drummond, of course. But....
Is he the next Kevin Garnett as he claims? Or is he the second coming of Kwame Brown, as another scout warns in hushed tones?
Oh wait, they ALSO said that about Dwight Howard. (I think we're starting to see a theme.)
Last comparison, I promise:
The biggest complaint from scouts is a perceived lack of passion. "You hate to claim that a guy might be too nice for the NBA, but that's about the most that I can come up with," one scout told Insider. 'I'm not sure he really has the edge that the great ones like Garnett and [Amare] Stoudemire had." Every other scouting report is pretty similar. Comments like "he needs time to develop" or "he needs to be a little nastier" are about the only negative things you hear. When Insider saw him in a workout in mid June a few more things stood out. He wasn't in great shape. His shot was all over the place and he seemed to struggle to pick up some basic low post moves.
Those are all of the complaints about Andre Drummond, right? Ah, yet that paragraph is lifted directly from a scouting report of Dwight Howard before he was drafted.
The Bad: Drummond doesn't always act like he wants to be a dominant player on either end. He can disappear for long stretches. He can shy away from the rough-and-tumble physical play in the paint. In short, he's maddeningly inconsistent.
Here's what I'm getting at: yes, there are concerns about Andre Drummond. But at a certain point, the insanely unique abilities that he possesses outweighs those concerns. The same concerns surrounded Dwight Howard in 2004 and the Magic could have simply drafted Al Horford and Joakim Noah and gotten a solid big man that was productive in college. Instead, they swung for the fences.
In the NBA, sometimes you've got to take a chance in order to reap enormous rewards. The sense I'm getting is that most of the people commenting on this site would be satisfied taking Thomas Robinson and being assured a good power forward. I have doubts about his ability to play alongside Tristan Thompson, but there are a lot of people around the league that assure me the Cavaliers could make it work. With Drummond, you're potentially getting a dominant center. After Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, are there any centers that can be anchor of your offense AND defense? Drummond could be that guy. He might not be, but he could be.
The Cavaliers have an environment that could help him thrive. Put him with a competent point guard that can get him the ball in good position. Let Zydrunas Ilgauskas help develop his post skills and shooting form. Let him pick up that infectious hustle fromAnderson Varejao, a guy who gives nothing less than 100% on every single possession. Have a hard-nosed head coach in Byron Scott push him to stay in peak physical condition and expects complete effort.
In the end, I believe Drummond's floor is understated and his bust potential is much lower than more people tend to think. At worst, you have an athletic big man who can defend and block shots. You have a guy who can catch alley-oops, run the floor, and help Tristan shut down the paint. At best, you have a dominating force in on the low-block and one of the rarest commodities in the league. At a shallow position, you're looking at multiple all-star teams and a DPOY candidate. That might be a risk that I'm willing to take.
Here's the full video scouting report from DraftExpress.com