Jonathan Abrams of Grantland wrote a fantastic feature on Andre Drummond. Among the highlights:
- Darko Milicic wanted to tear off his suit Superman-style on draft night to reveal a Pistons jersey, but Joe Dumars talked him out of it.
- Drummond has wanted to be a guard for a long time.
- Drummond lived with his mom last year, but now they have separate places, though are still close enough that he frequently goes over for dinner.
These excerpts about Drummond’s draft stock particularly resonated with me:
Questions about his "motor" and "desire" continued to follow him. According to those close to Drummond, there are several possibilities for the rumors’ origins. Maybe it was because he smiled when he played, rather than scowled. Or maybe it was the AAU teams Drummond chose not to play for that floated the rumors out of jealousy. Or maybe Drummond knows the real reason.
"Honestly, I think it was just because of the way I played at UConn," Drummond said. "I didn’t have the best year. We lost in the first round and I think there was a lot of weight on my shoulders knowing that I didn’t play the way I was supposed to play."
Kudos to Drummond for his answer, both because he accepts personal responsibility and because it’s the correct assessment.
Whether or not AAU coaches were petty or scouts were unreasonable about smiles, the fact doesn’t change: Drummond had a dissapointing year at Connecticut. Drummond wasn’t bad, but given expectations, he underwhelmed.
Drummond fell in the draft because his potentially for busting was higher than the average prospect of his ability. His performance at UConn certainly contributed, and so did his profile as a raw big man, a profile that didn’t change much during his year in college. Joe Dumars, via Abrams:
"Whenever you take a raw, young player, there’s a risk to it," Dumars said. "I don’t know if you can ever eliminate the risk of taking young big men. I just think you have to have faith that if you take a young big and it doesn’t work out, I don’t think you can be gun-shy about the next young big that comes along, like an Andre. There’s no foolproof method to this. There’s no exact science to this. We saw Andre and the thought of not taking him because Darko didn’t work out never entered the equation. Not even remotely. It’s a part of this business."
But Drummond never should have fallen as far as he did. (I had him pegged No. 4 on my draft board, as did this site’s readers.) Teams lost track of how great Drummond’s upside was. Instead, they dwelled on the possible downside.
Thankfully, Dumars didn’t make that mistake.
Drummond answered the call by working hard to fix the issues that hindered him at UConn, and now, he’s a much better bet to reach his potential. I’d venture to guess that wouldn’t have happened if he blamed others for his draft stock falling.