Perhaps no player on the draft board gives teams pause quite as much as Connecticut freshman center Andre Drummond. He has drawn praise for "other-worldly" talent, but has been called the kind of player whose high-risk, high-reward potential gets GMs fired whether they take him or not. His athletic gifts and rebounding prowess make some scouts drool, while his lack of offensive development and inability to lift his team depress his stock. The latest we hear from Chad Ford of ESPN.com has him going somewhere between third and fifth, with some teams ranking him second only to presumptive No. 1 pick Anthony Davis. No. 2 is where Draft Express has him in their mock draft and list of the top 100 prospects, so the media reflects the dichotomy of opinions that teams have.
A heralded prospect coming out of high school, Drummond was supposed to keep defending national champion Connecticut among the elite teams in college basketball. That didn't happen, as the Huskies struggled through the regular season and lost to Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Still, Drummond shouldn't bear the full brunt of the blame for his team's failure's, since UConn had to deal with the health problems of coach Jim Calhoun, uncertainty over their eligibility for next year's postseason because of academic shortfalls, and the loss of Kemba Walker, its best player from the year before.
Drummond averaged just 10.0 PPG, struggling in post-up situations, as Jonathan Givony of Draft Express notes, and settling too often for jump shots, in Ford's eyes. He still shot 53.8% from the floor. He averaged just 7.6 RPG, but 3.4 of them came on the offensive glass. The low numbers are partly attributable to playing just 28.4 MPG. That makes his 2.7 blocks every night that much more impressive. He's listed at either 6'10" or 6'11", but his wingspan is 7'5", according to ESPN.com.
Of the teams likely to draft between two and five, according to the Hoops Rumors draft order tracker, the Hornets seem to be the team most in need of frontcourt help, particularly if they fail to sign free agent center Chris Kaman. They might be more willing to wait for Drummond to develop and learn some offensive moves around the basket now that they have an owner in place. Drummond will be only 18 on draft night, and is the second youngest lottery prospect behind Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. If the Blazers wind up with the Nets' pick and Drummond's still around when they're drafting, don't be surprised if they take him, since they'll have plenty of free agent money to spend on immediate upgrades elsewhere. The Wizards seem least likely to take a flier on another underdeveloped big man, as they have Nene Hilario and Andray Blatche locked up long-term, and Washington fans are still haunted by JaVale McGee's inability to pick up on the game's nuances.
Patience will be key for whichever GM decides to draft him. The stats indicate he's just a one-way player right now, and that's a tough sell for struggling franchises looking for someone to help them turn it around.