#9: Andre Drummond
Of the top five rated prospects in this draft, Andre Drummond was the one to take the biggest tumble, but the Detroit Pistons wanted to find an athletic, defensive-minded big guy to pair with Greg Monroe and ended up getting the best possible option in this class with Drummond at #9.
“I actually worked out with [Detroit] the day before the draft,” Drummond said. “They told me they liked me a lot and if I was still there, they would definitely take me. The 8th pick went by and they were right up, and I just broke down in tears because I knew I was going to get called next.”
The questions surrounding Drummond’s drive have followed him throughout this process, and those are still questions he’s going to have to address now that he’s a professional. Many teams that worked him out left feeling as though there were too many concerns surrounding Drummond to warrant using a high lottery pick on him, even though his physical tools have earned him some comparisons to a younger Dwight Howard.
“All the talk about my not playing hard is going to get put to rest immediately,” Drummond said. “I’ll have my teammates who are my brothers now to push me and I’ll put that to rest and the rest of the game is going to be great because they have a great coaching staff out there.”
Dwight Howard he is not, but at #9 there was absolutely no risk involved in drafting Drummond. As good as Monroe has become in his first two seasons in the league, he does have limitations on the defensive end and isn’t a particularly athletic player, either. Drummond will be expected to come in to block shots and hold down the fort defensively, while energizing the frontcourt a little bit with his excellent athleticism. Because Monroe is more skilled, expect him to play the four, with Drummond at the five.
“I’m not going to to try to force anything too fast–just do whatever Coach tells me to do and wherever he puts me is where I’m going to play,” he said. “I’m going to work my hardest, and I’m going to give it my all every single day.”
This was a great pick for the Pistons, but it’s not a great pick because they found some kind of sleeper late in the lottery. It’s great because they got lucky a top-five prospect fell into their laps at #9. Either way, Joe Dumars has to be pumped about the way things worked out. They couldn’t have done much better with that selection than they did.