Detroit Pistons select Andre Drummond with ninth pick in 2012 NBA Draft


Everything seemed to be falling into place for Detroit. Charlotte in a mild surprise took Michael Kidd-Gilchrist second overall. The in a huge surprise, Cleveland took Dion Waiters fourth overall, the Kings obviously jumped on the good fortune of getting Thomas Robinson at five and Portland took the guy they’ve long coveted in Damian Lillard.

It was all up to Golden State and Toronto. The Warriors took Harrison Barnes, not too surprising. The Raptors … well, they did a Raptors thing. They took Terrence Ross. Eighth overall. Detroit, once again, benefited from teams in front of them making unconscionably bad decisions and they come out of this draft with Andre Drummond. Drummond certainly needs time if he’s going to develop, but his physical tools are so, so intriguing that Detroit couldn’t possibly pass him up. Drummond is not a perfect player by any stretch, but at this point in the draft, in need of another impact player, Detroit had to roll the dice.

More on Drummond throughout the next couple days, obviously, but for now, here’s the Draft Dreams profile we ran on him. Feel free to celebrate in the comments or complain about how you’d rather have Tyler Zeller or make fun of Toronto (seriously … make fun of Toronto a lot).

Info

  • Measurables: 6-foot-10, 270 pounds, freshman center from UConn
  • Key Stats: 10.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks per game, 54 percent shooting
  • Projected: Lottery
  • Hickory High Similarity Score

Why I like this guy

Yeah, I know, Andre Drummond said earlier in the season that he was leaning towards staying at UConn another season. But Greg Monroe once said that he planned to stay at Georgetown rather than enter the NBA Draft, yet somehow, he ended up playing for the Pistons instead of playing his junior season in college, so maybe the Pistons will have a similar stroke of luck and add another Big East big man.

The merits of Drummond are obvious. He’s big, athletic and blocks shots — nearly three per game in about 28 minutes a night. The Pistons have a notable deficiency in guys who are big, athletic and block shots (you may have noticed). But with those skills, Drummond is also incredibly raw, which is why he’s listed anywhere from two to six in most mock drafts, including Chad Ford’s recent one that had the Pistons landing Drummond at the six spot. After getting perhaps the best player in the 2010 draft in Monroe in the second half of the lottery and landing Brandon Knight later in last year’s lottery than most predicted he’d go, picking up a prospect of Drummond’s caliber at No. 6 would be another steal for Joe Dumars.

Pros for the Pistons

I don’t agree with this line of thinking, but there is a segment among Pistons fans that firmly believes Monroe needs to play power forward while being paired with a big center. Personally, the Pistons just need to add talent to their frontcourt, regardless of whether that talent is technically a power forward or a center. Fortunately for fans clamoring for a center, though, Drummond happens to be huge AND also has the shot-blocking/above the rim capabilities that the Pistons need.

Drummond finishes well around the basket on offense, he’s a good offensive rebounder, he can move without the ball and, on defense, he swats a high percentage of shots. All of those are things on the checklist for what the Pistons would like to add next to Monroe. With Drummond, there’s also the added bonus of him already being a little bit bigger than Monroe. Potentially, if he gets stronger and improves defensively (he’s already pretty solid on D) to the point where he can handle guarding opposing teams’ best big man, Monroe’s defensive problems become less of an issue (although he certainly needs to keep working on improving at that end of the court).

The Pistons, like every team in the lottery, are dreaming of Anthony Davis. But short of getting Davis, Drummond would be a pretty nice consolation prize.

Cons for the Pistons

Drummond didn’t have the dominant season many predicted for him as a heralded prep prospect. He was inconsistent for a UConn team that fell below expectations. This quote by Drummond about Seton Hall center Herb Pope, himself a pretty good player, is funny but also might give an indication as to why Drummond and another elite freshman big man prospect, Anthony Davis, didn’t make close to the same impact on their respective programs this season:

Seton Hall senior Herb Pope averages 18.6 points and 10.9 rebounds, he has eight double-doubles and he is a leading candidate for first-team all-Big East.

All those accomplishments, however, apparently weren’t enough to make a future Big East opponent aware of him.

On the eve of Connecticut’s matchup with improving Seton Hall on Tuesday night, Huskies freshman center Andre Drummond admitted to local reporters he didn’t know much about Pope.

“I don’t even know who that is,” Drummond said. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful. They said the name to me in practice and I was like ‘Wait, who’s Herb Pope?’”

“I haven’t watched Seton Hall so I wouldn’t know who’s on their team or anything like that.”

Drummond is young and that comment is more humorous to me than anything, but any team that drafts him will have to most likely wait for him to mature a bit before he’s a reliable, consistent contributor. He also needs to improve his dreadful free throw shooting (29 percent this season) as NBA teams will definitely exploit that weakness and send him to the line if he doesn’t. Drummond is physically imposing and athletic enough to be a dominant rebounder. He also occasionally struggles if he holds the ball too long — his seven turnover game vs. Rutgers was a good example of that. Despite his imposing size, Drummond is also hesitant at times to mix it up and play physically. That would be an issue for the Pistons considering that same thing can be said about Monroe, particularly on defense. The Pistons have a glaring need for more toughness up front, and that’s something Drummond is still developing.

None of his weaknesses should prevent a team from betting on his upside, he just has some work to do if he’s going to be an immediate impact player as a pro.

What others are saying

Chad Ford:

The Good: God gave Andre Drummond the body of an NBA big man. He’s big, quick off his feet and moves incredibly well for his size. When he wants to be, he can be a dominant player on both ends of the floor. He can be an awesome finisher around the basket. He can be a dominant shot-blocker and rebounder.

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.

The Upside: Drummond reminds me a lot of another potentially elite prospect, Derrick Favors. If he ever gets it together and shows a passion for the game, he could be the best player in the entire draft. But there are serious questions about whether he’ll ever get there. He could get an NBA GM fired, too.

DraftExpress:

Whoever drafts him would surely be well-served hiring an experienced big man coach who can work with him on a daily basis and help him learn how to play with more toughness, confidence and aggressiveness. Such attention should help him a great deal, as he clearly has far more potential as a back to the basket threat than he was able to show this season.

NBADraft.net:

Man child. A physical specimen type of athlete with a huge wingspan, long legs and strength and agility at a young age … He’s already a beast inside the paint with his rebounding and shot blocking ability and shows the toughness and tenacity to be a dominant inside player … Shows a natural feel for the game with good timing on shot blocks and explosive leaping ability … Has a huge wingspan (7-feet-plus) … Born in August of 1993, and with size 18 shoes, Drummond could have another growth spurt in him and could end up well over 7-feet … Right hander who shows a solid form on his shot … Right now he scores a lot of points around the basket on ally oops and put backs. He’s also beginning to show some ability to create offense for himself and his post skills show a lot of potential.

Sheridan Hoops:

“He runs the floor as well as any 6-10 you’ll find on any level,” (New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski) said. “He has terrific athletic ability.”

The Republic:

The good: He has had nine double-doubles (10 or more points and rebounds in a game), which is more than any UConn freshman ever, including Emeka Okafor, who had seven. Drummond broke out in flashes, especially against Syracuse, the best team that UConn has played.

The not-so-good: Drummond, who averaged 10.2 points, has yet to develop the post moves that would make him a consistent scoring threat. The coaches are trying to teach him how to seal off his defender and move to the basket, for instance.

What is the best thing Andre Drummond does for his team?

Kevin Meacham (follow him on Twitter) writes for The UConn Blog, SB Nation’s UConn site:

The best thing Andre Drummond brings to any team right now is his freaky athleticism. He has a ways to go before he’s a well-rounded player, but right now Drummond will give you incredible quickness for a 7-footer and tremendous leaping ability; he also proved to be a very capable Jim Calhoun shot-blocker (that is, he’ll challenge anything near the rim while avoiding fouls and he’s quite good at weak-side help). All of that made Drummond an excellent college big-man defender. There were also times this year where Drummond would stride into a passing lane for a steal at the top of the key, leading to a fast-break dunk, and in those moments, Drummond looked like a seven-foot guard. He’s very much a “toolsy” (to borrow a baseball term) player right this second, but he had flashes that were absolutely breathtaking.