Detroit Pistons: The Case for (and Against) Drafting Andre Drummond
This week, ESPN's Chad Ford released his first NBA mock draft.
And while there are sure to be countless more mocks in the months leading up to the NBA Draft, this one seemed to be a solid offering from Ford with no real shocking surprises. (But remember, Ford was beating the loudest drum in 2003 for Darko Milicic.)
That being said, Ford has the Detroit Pistons taking Connecticut's Andre Drummond with the sixth overall pick. Would this be a good move? Let's take a closer look:
Argument for Drummond
The Pistons have several team needs but not a lot of options on how to fill them. They are projected to be over the cap next year, and they have very few good tradeable options, provided of course that Rodney Stuckey is off the table.
Given that the most immediate hole that needs to be filled is another big to pair with Greg Monroe, Drummond at least fits that bill on the surface.
Drummond, despite being only a freshman this year, is built like a man. He goes about 6'11", 275 lbs. and certainly is not built like Oliver Miller.
Drummond is your classic high-flyer, and has been compared at times to Amar'e Stoudemire. He is durable and athletic and generally plays above the rim.
And while his offensive game is certainly not a finished product, he showed flashes of upper-echelon talent with three games of over 18 points, as well as 10 double-doubles.
That being said, UConn's offense is not built around the post, but rather relies upon the guards and a high-low post game. In this sense, Drummond played well, although had his coach not been laid up with an injured back most of the season, he certainly would have improved more.
Drummond never really became the consistent beast that many thought he would be, but again much of that has to be contributed to Calhoun's injury.
His athletic ability certainly will translate well at the next level, and he already has an NBA body that 90 percent of bigs would envy.
To be that athletic and that explosive while also being that big is truly remarkable.
If he gets paired up with Monroe, it is easy to fantasize about the possibilities.
Drummond is much more athletic, explosive and dynamic than Monroe. Think of him as the the sizzle to Monroe's steak. Monroe is methodical and fundamentally sound, while Drummond likely would become more of a roamer on offense, looking for putbacks and garbage points.
Obviously there is potential to Drummond's offensive game, but it would help him immensely to have another big that can score around him.
Argument against Drummond
Like I said above, Drummond never became the beast many hoped he would become, and never found any semblance of consistency.
Watching Drummond play this year was truly a hit-or-miss event.
One game he looked unstoppable, playing off the crowd and rattling the gym with a dunk.
The next game, the defense would completely take him out of the game, and you'd go long stretches without seeing him make an impact.
Sure, it is a lot easier to take a big man out of the game in college than the pros, but Drummond was a non-factor for much of the season.
His offensive game certainly needs work, but not just because of a lack of post moves. Often times, he just put himself in the wrong position and took himself out of the play as a result.
Drummond had solid rebounding numbers, but it really wasn't pretty all of the time.
His footwork, anticipation, and recognition truly need work. Too often he shies away from contact rather than holding his ground and asserting his will.
Drummond is nearly 300 pounds, yet he chose to go around players rather than into them on the offensive boards.
Maybe this is because he didn't want to pick up fouls, but he needs to at least force the issue some of the time or else he looks like a finesse player, not something a man his size should ever be.
Defensively, he has the athletic ability to be a dominant shot-blocker, but he lacks the instincts.
Next time you watch Kentucky play, keep an eye on Anthony Davis on defense. He stalks the ball, while keeping his feet in position to defend his own man, and nearly always puts himself in a position to block the shot regardless of whose man it is.
Davis does this by studying his opponent's movements and hunting them like a predator, timing his jump so that he goes up right before the opponent does, hence playing a proactive role as a defender.
Drummond is the exact opposite. His blocks either are a case of the offensive player playing out of control, or just plain being in the right place at the right time.
He is a totally reactive defender, which leads to him getting his hand up just a second late, resulting in a not so intimidating shot-blocker.
Sure, you see him contending shots, but the shot really is not in much danger of getting blocked.
Both are super athletic big men, but Drummond relies only on athletic ability, and not on instincts or intelligence.
Could he still develop into a good shot-blocker? No question. I'm sure all he needs to do is be locked in a gym with Ben Wallace for a few weeks and he will start to pick it up.
That being said, he did have 17 games of three blocks or more. Just imagine how great those numbers would be if he was actually good at blocking shots!
His defensive positioning also needs work, and leads opponents to get the better of him on occasion.
Now, he is not a totally disinterested defender, but he is not playing that side of the game completely proficiently either.
Like any trainer at the gym will tell you, "work smarter, not harder." Drummond needs to have that tattooed on his arm as a daily reminder.
Personally, I think that Drummond will probably be off the board when Detroit drafts, so this might be a moot point. But if he is still available, this likely will be a very high-risk, high-reward pick.
Let's face it, the only way that Detroit is going to get another good big man is through the draft, and everyone knows how important this draft is going to be as far as Joe Dumars' future is concerned.
What I really want to see is how he responds to good coaching. He was dealt a raw deal when Calhoun got hurt, and so we really never got a chance to see what he could do.
In the right environment with the right teacher, Drummond could become a beast. Players with his raw athletic ability and size don't come around every day.
But he also has a chance to be a big time bust. Will he always shy away from contact? Can he develop the instincts needed to become a dominant rebounder and defender? Can he learn to master a few post moves and become more than a putback machine?
If I were making the moves for Detroit, I probably would take a chance and draft Drummond, but only if Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Davis are off the board.
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