The Curious Case of Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2012 NBA Draft. When we look back at this draft class ten years from now, Drummond may be considered the biggest star or the biggest bust. Some executives compare him to Dwight Howard while others compare him to Kwame Brown.
One on hand, Drummond has all of the physical tools to dominate in the NBA. He already possesses an NBA-ready body, standing at 6’11 and weighing 275 lbs. He has the longest wingspan of any player in this draft class, measuring at 7’6.25. He’s extremely athletic, explosive and quick. Drummond should be an unstoppable force every time he picks up a basketball.
On the other hand, Drummond is extremely raw. His back-to-the-basket game needs work and he doesn’t have a go-to move in the post. Not only does he need to develop his offensive game, his defensive awareness needs to improve. Throughout high school and college, his consistency and motor have been a constant concern. The game has always come easy to him, and his work ethic has been questioned in recent years.
At 18 years old, Drummond is one of the youngest players in the draft. At this point, nobody is sure which is higher: Drummond’s ceiling or the risk associated with him.
At the 2012 NBA Draft Combine, a number of teams expressed interest in Drummond. The big man met with the New Orleans Hornets, Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers among others.
Up until this point, Drummond has been working out in Manhattan with trainer Idan Ravin. He’ll begin scheduling workouts with teams over the next few days. In the meantime, Drummond is saying all of the right things. He’s vowing to work hard and focus all of his energy on improving as a player.
“All I can tell you is that no matter what team I get drafted to, whoever I’m with, I’m going to work my hardest,” Drummond said. “I’m going to do the best I can and play to the best of my abilities. I can’t dictate the future and know what I’m going to do. All I know is that I’m going to go out there and give it my all.”
While Drummond has been compared to a wide spectrum of players – from Howard to Brown -he doesn’t care what people think. He’s more concerned with creating a name for himself rather than trying to live up to the accomplishments of other players.
“I don’t really compare myself to anybody,” Drummond said. “I compare myself to Andre Drummond. I’m not really trying to model my game after anybody. I’m trying to create my own brand and my own mold as a person. I don’t want to be like the next person. I want to be myself and do things differently.”
Drummond brushed aside concerns about his motor or lack of competitive spirit. He says that he’s just a happy person, which makes it seem like he’s not intense or serious on the court. Drummond said that his smile is misleading, but admitted that sometimes he uses it to his advantage like a poker face.
“I smile all the time when I play the game of basketball,” Drummond said. “It’s because I enjoy and love the game. I just never show signs that I’m mad or upset or anything like that. I always have a smile on my face. I guess some people want to see me be angry or show emotion all the time, but that’s just not the player I am. I don’t beat on my chest or yell. I’m just a happy person and I love playing the game of basketball.”
“Some people may see me and think, ‘He’s too happy all the time. He’s not really serious,’” Drummond said. “That’s just the person I am. I play serious all the time, but I always have a smile on my face. I’m not one to show my feelings. Basketball is like poker. You don’t show on your face how you feel at a certain time. I always smile and you never know how I feel. Some people don’t see that.”
Looking back on his single season at Connecticut, Drummond believes he and the team could have achieved more under different circumstances. It was a strange year for the Huskies, from Drummond joining the team late to Jim Calhoun missing a large chunk of the year due to suspension and then spinal stenosis. Connecticut finished with a 20-14 record, and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Iowa State.
“As a team, we didn’t meet some of the goals that we set for ourselves,” Drummond said. “For me, personally, I didn’t meet some of the goals that I set for myself as well. I feel that we could’ve done a lot of things better and we just kind of had a tough season, with some of things that happened to us. We didn’t really have a chance to jell as much as other teams. We had a lot of players sit out and Coach was gone for a little over a month. It was kind of tough for us to transition with each other.”
On the Huskies, Drummond said he wasn’t able to show his ability to “put the ball on the floor and beat defenders off the dribble” as well as his “15-foot jump shot.” However, he did admit that he needs to improve offensively, stating that his biggest weakness is his ability to score in the post.
“I don’t have a back-to-the-basket game, honestly speaking,” Drummond said. “That’s one of the things that I’ve been working on for the past two months and I’ve actually built a back-to-the-basket game. I have a lot of moves that I’ve been working on.”
Will Drummond be able to step in and compete against grown men as an 18-year old? He believes so.
“It’ll be to my advantage – they’re old men and I’m quick on my feet,” Drummond joked. “I think I’m ready. It’s going to be a great experience for me. I’m not nervous or scared at all. It’s just the next step and I need to take it in stride.”
“This is a blessing,” Drummond said. “I’ve always dreamed of this day. Being at the combine, sitting at the draft table and going through this whole draft process, it’s been a great experience so far. It’s like a dream come true.”
Drummond’s work ethic has been on display in recent months. He has lost 22 lbs. since the end of the college season and has worked to expand his game. However, he still has a long way to go to realize his full potential.
“He’s extremely athletic and has tremendous upside,” said one scout. “His work ethic will determine just how good he’ll be at the next level.”
“Drummond has moments where he’s a top five player in the draft, but they are way too few and far between,” said another scout. “He needs to be in the right situation to succeed.”
On June 28, Drummond could be one of the top picks in the draft or he could slip several spots. There are many unknowns when it comes to Drummond, which is why he’s hit or miss. He could be the face of a franchise or the disgrace of a franchise. Boom or bust. Only time will tell which route Drummond will take.