Over the next two days, we’re going to be running draft profiles on six of the top prospects for this year’s draft, mostly so we know who these guys are when their names get called. No one wants to look like a dummy on draft night, not even David Kahn. We start with Oliver Macklem, a producer for our friends at RaptorBlog radio, taking on UConn center Andre Drummond.
Andre Drummond – C – 7`0, 279lbs.
Perhaps the most polarizing prospect in this year’s draft class is Andre Drummond. On the one hand, players with 7-foot-6 wingspans and strong builds are extremely rare. However, as individual workouts have progressed, the word is beginning to spread that Drummond is not an NBA-ready talent and may never become the all-round player that teams are hoping for.
In high school, at 6-foot-8, Drummond was able to outrun everyone on the court and could jump out of the gym. He was very raw, but appeared to be a potentially dominant forward. This reputation led to him being ranked as the top high school recruit in his class and probably also contributed to his current NBA draft stock. However, as his body continued to grow, he didn’t make the necessary adjustments to become a true center. He lost some of his quickness but didn’t develop a postup game, leaving his offense in limbo.
It will take years for Drummond to score consistently in postup situations in the NBA. In his lone season at Connecticut, he only converted 22 of his 68 postups (32 percent). The problems with his offensive game are widespread. Andre is rarely seen backing down smaller opposing players, seems awkward when trying to finish against any real length and doesn’t have a hook-shot, which is a necessity for seven-footers. He struggles to finish with his off-hand and his jump shot has an alarmingly low release point. That jump shot also has extremely limited range, as evidenced by the fact that he shot a paltry 29.5 percent from the free throw line at UConn. In his last 10 games, he shot just 18 percent from the charity stripe.
Thus, it is highly bewildering that Drummond seems content to settle for so many jump shots, while failing to develop other aspects of his game. Legitimate questions can be raised as to whether he wants to improve and whether he has the drive to maximize the potential of his freakish body.
Unfortunately for Andre, his weaknesses weren’t just limited to the offensive end of the floor. Defensive rebounding was also a major concern, as Drummond ranked 32nd among NCAA centers with just six defensive rebounds per 40 minutes. Tapes show that he often failed to box out, leaving lanes open for his man to crash the glass. He looked especially inadequate when matched up with players who could compete with him physically.
The main positives for Drummond are his youth and physical attributes. He is the second-youngest prospect in this draft class at just 18 years old. He has the height and weight that GMs crave from their center, and his vertical leap of just over 30 inches is impressive. He runs the floor exceptionally well for a person of his size, shows good hands when catching the ball and can find cutters with the occasional nifty pass.
Helped by his 7-foot-6 wingspan, Drummond is an elite shot blocker. He contested everything that came his way and wasn’t afraid to be dunked on. If all else fails, his shot blocking is a skill that will keep him in the NBA for years to come. He ranked seventh among NCAA players with 3.9 blocks per 40 minutes, and managed to do so while only committing 3.2 fouls per 40 minutes. His help defense and one-on-one defense should earn him immediate playing time in the NBA. His quickness allows him to hedge effectively on pick-and-rolls while still getting back to the basket in time. He shows a good understanding of pick-and-roll play on offense too, as he has a knack for rolling to the hoop at the right time and finishes things by throwing down alley-oops.
It is very unlikely that Drummond will slide out of the top-10, as his potential will be too much for GMs to pass up. However, he needs to prove that concerns about his work ethic are groundless and his lack of aggression was only a temporary problem as he grew into his body. An appropriate comparison for Drummond at this point is DeAndre Jordan, and the best case scenario for the team that drafts him is that he slowly develops into a top tier center. The worst case scenario is he becomes a defensive stopper off the bench, which is not what teams are hoping for when they select someone with a top 10 pick.
Drummond’s UConn teammate Jeremy Lamb summed up his teammate’s pro potential very succinctly: “It depends on if he wants to work”