David Thorpe: Andre Drummond ‘should have gone second in this draft’

David Thorpe of ESPN assigned superlatives to the rookie class, and Andre Drummond cleaned up:

Best shot-blocker(s): Davis and Drummond

To share this award with Davis says a lot about Drummond, considering what a special shot-blocker Davis is and will be for a decade-plus. Davis is more calculating, in part because he needs to play big minutes for his team, so risking fouls is something he has to be mindful of.

Drummond blocks more shots per minute, but he is less concerned about fouls, so he goes after more shots. Having Greg Monroe next to him helps him. It is fair to think that one day these two rooks will both be in the top four in this category in the entire league.

Best rebounder: Andre Drummond, Pistons

Some rebounders are tall and long, so they can get their hands on a lot of balls. Others have great hands, so the ball sticks when they touch it. Undersized players need a motor, along with good hands, to get to the ball and rebound. Then we have Drummond, who has combined all three components to become dominant on the glass. He has also added some craft to his art, deftly tipping the ball away from opponents to spots he can get to first. Drummond has the potential to one day lead this league in rebounding.

Biggest surprise: Drummond

Questions about his desire to play hovered around Drummond last June, as did concerns about his offensive game and feel. But it’s clear that Drummond should have gone second in this draft, which easily makes him the biggest surprise. Players like Drummond — glass-eating, shot-blocking, paint-finishing, lob-catching, quick-in-transition beasts — are exceedingly rare. He looks to be a franchise big man with very strong All-Star potential.

In a re-done draft, Anthony Davis, Drummond and Damian Lillard are definitely the first three picks. The order would probably vary based on the selector, but I’d take Davis, Drummond, Lillard in that order – and Drummond is closer to Davis than Lillard.

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