Which NBA Rookie Big Man Has Brighter Future, Andre Drummond or Anthony Davis?

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Which NBA Rookie Big Man Has Brighter Future, Andre Drummond or Anthony Davis?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So you might have heard that the 2012 NBA Draft class actually produced two stud big men who should be considered long-term building blocks for their respective franchises.

While we knew Anthony Davis was going to special, we were unaware—as were seven other teams who went in a different direction on draft day—that Andre Drummond's game would translate very well to the professional level as well.

Both Davis and Drummond offer similar services, though they go about providing them in much different fashion.

This article will compare the two players in a multitude of categories in order to help decide which rookie phenom has a brighter future in the NBA.

Neither Davis nor Drummond project as 20-plus point scorers, but that doesn't mean that they don't have important offensive roles. Coming into the league, it was Drummond who was supposed to be the offensive beast and Davis who was expected to change games defensively.

It turns out that we may see the exact opposite of what we expected.

 

(Face-Up Game)

This is where Anthony Davis has a big-time edge.

Rarely does Drummond convert baskets further than five feet from the rim. While he's capable of overpowering anyone in the paint, the inability to use the dribble or face the rim puts a cap on his offensive ceiling.

Davis, on the other hand, has established himself as a versatile scoring option. He can catch the ball from 20 feet and attack the rim off the bounce. He's capable of making shots on the move as well, using touch and finesse instead of having to rely on size and strength at the rim.

The first play shown below at the 55-second mark illustrates Davis' versatility as a scorer.

Davis' agility makes him a more flexible offensive target. While Drummond's strength is catching and going straight up, Davis can shift east and west while eluding defenders on the way.

Davis also has a confident jump shot in the mid-range, and he is a viable pick-and-pop target in the half court. Drummond is not a candidate to attempt a shot outside of the paint—his 36.5 percent free-throw mark could tell you that.

Offensive Edge: Anthony Davis

 

(Interior Presence)

Though it was Davis who won the Defensive Player of the Year award as a freshman at Kentucky, it's Andre Drummond whose interior presence will be felt more in the NBA.

Drummond has a good 50 pounds of girth and muscle on Davis, so contact bounces off him, while the 220-pound Davis is vulnerable to getting pushed around from a stationary position.

In 28.4 minutes per game, Davis is pulling in 7.4 rebounds per game, which is not a bad number at all. But Andre Drummond's rebounding rate illustrates the strength of Drummond's interior presence.

In only 19.3 minutes, Drummond is pulling in 7.5 rebounds. He's also averaging 1.7 blocks per game compared Davis' 1.8, despite playing nearly a 10 less minutes per game.

Check out some of Drummond's blocked shots from this year. It's rare to find a player of his size survey the floor and get up the way he does.

Interior Edge: Andre Drummond

 

(Overall Analysis and Future Prediction)

Both Davis and Drummond should end up falling into the same NBA talent tier when it's all said and done.

But Anthony Davis' ceiling as a two-way player is higher than Andre Drummond's.

Because Davis was a 6'3'' guard just a few years ago, his instincts on the perimeter and mobility around the court give him a distinct advantage on the offensive side of the ball. He's showing that he can play inside and outside as a shooter, attacker or finisher at the rim. Drummond is limited to simply finishing down low.

Who has the brighter future?

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Drummond might have the edge on the glass and as a rim protector, though it's not as if Davis is a non-factor. He actually possesses more defensive range with the mobility to contest shots on the perimeter and guard quicker face-up forwards. 

You won't see Drummond out past the foul line on most defensive possessions.

While it's Drummond who has the opportunity to dominate the interior, it's Davis' versatility, both offensively and defensively, that can provide a team with a more extensive arsenal of weapons.

If I had to guess now, it will be Davis who eventually plays in more future All-Star games.

Brighter Future: Anthony Davis

 

If you would like to see more, here are highlights from both Davis' and Drummond's top games of the 2012-2013 NBA season:

January 29, 2013, Pistons vs. Bucks— Andre Drummond: 18 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks

December 28, 2012, Hornets vs. Raptors— Anthony Davis: 25 points, nine rebounds, three blocks

 

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