Take a Chance on Andre Drummond in the 2012 Draft

Ethan Sherwood Strauss@SherwoodStraussNBA Lead WriterJune 26, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06:  Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies in action against the DePaul Blue Demons during their first round game of the 2012 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 6, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

He's a bust already, before his first game. People are betting against Andre Drummond, the massive UConn big man who disappointed in his one-and-done year. Before last season, many thought him to be the No. 1 pick, ahead of Anthony Davis. In Chad Ford's most recent ESPN mock draft, Drummond has fallen to No. 7

He's chased down the draft board by the draft ghosts of Hasheem Thabeet and Greg Oden. It's understandable and unfair all at once. 

Drummond is 18 years old, 6'10" in socks, and 280 lbs. He's bigger than Dwight Howard, right down to the the 7'6" wingspan. Though his freshman year disappointed, it wasn't so bad. Drummond blocked 2.7 shots per game, and blocks are an especially important indicator in projecting NBA-ready athleticism (see: John Hollinger's draft roster).

Perhaps you saw Drummond's one miserable game in the NCAA tourney and became convinced that he'll never amount to much. But take his age into consideration before making such sweeping judgments. Damon Lillard, the guy zooming ahead of Drummond on many draft boards, is three years older and played against far worse competition at Weber St.

Andre Drummond has also made strides between the end of the college season and today. ESPN's Henry Abbott noted that the kid has lost a lot of weight since he last played a nationally televised game. As Kevin Love might attest to, fat is untapped potential in disguise.

An in-shape Drummond registered only seven percent body fat at the draft combine. While this is fairly standard for a basketball player, what's highly unusual is that percentage combined with the aforementioned 280 lbs. The guy is a physical specimen, with hops to spare.

So, in a relatively uninspiring field after Anthony Davis, why not take a risk on Andre Drummond? The league is not teeming with large, shot-blocking bigs. In free agency, the ancient Marcus Camby should be able to command a decent salary just based on that one skill. Also, if you take Drummond, you might just get to see a behind-the-free-throw-line dunk. 

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