Andre Drummond is considered the top center available in the 2012 draft. He was highly-touted coming in as a freshman this past season, but struggled to get things going and did not live up to expectations. He wasn’t terrible, but was hardly the dominant force some were expecting.
For a look at how Drummond compares to other players at a similar time in their careers, here are NCAA freshmen centers who played at least 500 minutes who posted a R40 of at least 10.0 and B40 of at least 3.5, as Drummond did.
Player 2PP P40 R40 B40
Patrick Ewing .631 17.6 10.5 4.5
Alonzo Mourning .609 18.6 10.3 7.0
Hakeem Olajuwan .607 18.2 13.5 5.4
Erick Dampier .588 20.3 14.8 3.8
Shaquille O’Neal .573 19.8 17.1 5.1
Michael Southall .557 17.9 10.6 4.3
Benoit Benjamin .555 18.4 11.9 4.2
Yinka Dare .551 17.6 14.8 4.0
Tim Duncan .543 13.0 12.7 5.0
Chris Mihm .527 20.0 12.9 4.7
Shawn Bradley .517 20.5 10.7 7.2
Samuel Dalembert .503 11.1 11.1 6.7
Marcus Camby .502 18.7 11.7 6.6
Jamaal Magliore .490 12.5 11.3 5.1
Eric Chenowith .456 13.9 11.5 3.7
Andre Drummond .541 14.2 10.7 3.8
I listed the players in order of 2-point shooting percentage and the HOFers in bold. This stat more than any other seems to set the HOFers apart. Whether it’s the HOFers, solid players or busts, Drummond does not match up well with this group. His numbers aren’t terrible, but he’s on the low end in both rebounds and blocks. Considering his offensive game is so raw, this makes him quite a risk as a prospect. I can’t even say that if his offense never develops, at least he’ll be a decent rebounding/defense/energy player.
In Drummond’s defense is the fact that Connecticut could not have been an easy place for a talented, but raw freshman to develop in 2012. The legendary coach missed a lot of time due to suspension and health problems. The team was in trouble with the NCAA and underachieved after having been ranked in the top 10 in preseason polls. I can’t say that the situation affected Drummond’s stats, but I doubt it helped. This and the fact that Drummond actually did show some slight improvement during the year should boost his stock a smidge.
Another factor that has to be considered in drafting Drummond is that big guys who were high picks often maintain some trade value for years into their careers whether they’re actually valuable or not. Teams are much more likely to give a 2nd or 3rd chance to a big guy who had been highly rated coming into the draft. Looking at top 2 picks in the past decade alone:
• Hasheem Thabeet struggled in Memphis, but was dealt for Shane Battier, who helped the Grizzlies to the conference finals last year.
• Darko Milicic might have been the biggest bust ever, considering the players still on the board when he was drafted, but he held enough value that Detroit was able to get the draft pick that became Rodney Stuckey in exchange for him.
• Kwame Brown was traded for Caron Butler after disappointing as the top overall pick.
There were other pieces in each trade, but the fact remains that there’s always going to be a market for players who offer both size and potential. Even if Drummond shows little in his first 2-3 years, the team that drafts him will likely be able to cash him in for something. This has to be considered when weighing a Drummond against the likes of Beal or Kidd-Gilchrist for the #2 pick.
In Drummond we have a talented, young big guy with some potential. While his numbers say he’ll be nothing more than a decent backup at the high end, there are some extenuating circumstances that could have hurt his development and his numbers. He remains a longshot for NBA success. While he certainly was in a tough situation at UConn and did show some improvement as the year went on, there is still nothing in his numbers that stood out as dominant. I see Drummond as a huge risk at #2