Join Date: Oct 2010
The scariest name on the Toronto Raptors
draft board: Andre Drummond - Sports Blog | Top Sports Blog | Best Sports News ? Sympatico Sports - The Cheap Seats
Heading into next Thursday’s NBA Draft (7:00pm on TSN), there may be no scarier name for the Toronto Raptors than Andre Drummond, and he might be one that they unexpectedly have to contend with.
A lot would have to happen for the Raptors to be facing the possibility of Drummond at the eighth selection. First is that Damian Lillard and Dion Waiters would have had to have gone in the top seven, most likely to Sacramento, Portland or Golden State. As recently as three weeks ago such a scenario would have been laughable, as Lillard and Waiters were both considered borderline lottery picks while Drummond was in the running for second overall. However, workouts and interviews can change things quickly, and while it would still take an unexpected turn of events for Lillard and Waiters go top-seven and Drummond to slip, it’s not nearly as hard to conceive of as it was back in May.
Which routes us back around to Drummond and Toronto meeting head on. In his one year at UConn, Drummond nearly redefined inconsistency by being alternately dominant and invisible, often within the same game. He is a jaw-dropping physical specimen, in the athletic mold of Dwight Howard or Amar’e Stoudemire, he measures out at 7-feet, 279 lbs. and possesses a staggering 7-foot-5 wingspan. However, he lacks the drive on the court that guys need to be great, or at least to max out their raw natural talents, and that already sounds like too many players on Toronto’s roster.
It will take years for the eighteen-year-old Drummond to develop the arsenal of moves, both offensively and defensively, he’ll need to be great, and Toronto would have to be certain that he’d would commit to such a regimen before they’d feel secure in taking him in the draft. If you believe in him and he pans out you could have the next Andrew Bynum. If you believe in him and he doesn’t pan out then you have the next Hasheem Thabeet. Eventually one team is going to have to take that chance next week.
Complicating matters for the Raptors is the 2011 NBA Draft, the one where they selected their center of the future, Jonas Valanciunas. He is another athletic specimen, but unlike Drummond, Valanciunas is all motor all of the time. He doesn’t have the raw size that Drummond has, but he does a lot more with his athleticism and length than Drummond does. In fact, the very presence of Valanciunas should make passing on Drummond a no-brainer, especially for a team like the Raptors that has plenty of holes elsewhere on the roster that they need to address before October.
The problem is that once you get past Davis, Thomas Robinson, Bradley Beal, Barnes, Kidd-Gilchrist, Lillard, Waiters and Drummond, the upside drop-off is staggering. Yes, there is a very good chance that Drummond never pans out, but would you rather miss on a guy like Drummond, or hit on a guy like Austin Rivers or Jeremy Lamb?
Remember, every year tons of players that are guaranteed to produce are passed on because teams know that when they reach their ceiling they are going to be no better than role players in the NBA. Role players are readily available in free agency and in trades. That’s why teams tend to swing for the fences with guys like Drummond in the draft, because while there is a greater chance that you swing and miss in such a scenario, if you connect you alter the future of your franchise overnight.
Plus, if you miss at least you missed trying to reinvent the future of your franchise, rather than working to solidify your backup shooting guard spot for the next few years.
So what would the Raptors do? If the choice is to either take Drummond or Rivers/Lamb, I can’t imagine that they’d pass on taking Drummond. Bryan Colangelo and Ed Stefanski have spoken often during this draft process that if a prospect falls to them, even if he appears to create redundancy, they’ll take him if he’s the best player available.
That’s the scary part, though. If Drummond slips to the Raptors the organization may feel that their hands are tied and that they have to take him (sort of like what happened with Ed Davis two years ago), even if he isn’t a player that they really want to deal with. The Raptors would be faced with needing to accommodate Drummond minutes-wise, which could cut into the development of Valanciunas and eat into Toronto’s most productive player’s minutes (as of right now that is still Andrea Bargnani). They would have to deal with finding ways to motivate Drummond in addition to teaching him how to play basketball, a drain on time and resources when there are so many players floating around that need no motivation to play as hard as they can all of the time.
However, IF the Raptors felt forced to select Drummond and IF they managed to squeeze seventy-five-to-eighty-percent of his potential out of him they could come away with the steal of the draft. That’s the dilemma that they would face if Drummond falls to them next Thursday. They’d almost have to take him and they would no doubt be terrified to do so.