Today’s NBA Draft Blog Scouting Report looks at a freshman who shows a lot of raw athleticism, ability and promise, but may still be a few years from being an effective pro– Connecticut’s Andre Drummond. Drummond was an enigma when he got to UConn; and his freshman year did little to make those weary of him feel better, but the flashes that he showed were spectacular. Will it be enough for teams to take a chance early in the draft? Let’s take a look at Andre Drummond:
Andre Drummond, Connecticut - Freshman
Forward - 6'10, 279
9.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 53.6% FG, 29.5% FT
Post Skills/Footwork- While Drummond is far from a productive post player, the progress he made by the end of the season was significant. Setting up in the post, he does a good job getting low and wide, though he needs to do a better job calling for the ball. Also, he needs to work on his positioning in the post, working to keep the defender on his back, and not giving him the opportunity to deny the entry pass. Once he gets the ball, he needs to stop over-thinking his move and look to get right into it. He is much better on the left block and making moves over his left shoulder, and has shown good touch around the basket. He is an above average screener – he needs to watch a tendency to move into a defender – and if a ballhandler or shooter uses him correctly, it is tough for a defender to get through him. In pick-and-roll situations, he needs to have a better understanding of the “roll” portion. He needs to understand how to open up to the ball, including which direction to pivot to head to the basket. Also, he needs to do a better job looking for the ball and giving the ballhandler a target to get it to him. If he can do this, he can do very well in the NBA. He moves his feet well, and has good foot speed for his size. He is still working on some advanced moves in the post, but by the end of the season, he had already showed the beginnings of a very nice drop step along the baseline. Also, though it would help if he could hit free throws, he has the footwork to pull off a nice up-and-under while drawing contact. For now, he relies mostly on a simple pivot off of his left foot towards the middle of the lane, and looks to lay it in or finish strong. Improving his left hand would allow him to do this from the other side as well.
Ballhandling/Hands – Drummond is an average ballhandler, though he is much better with his right hand. He uses his body well to shield the ball, and keeps the ball low. He needs to watch a tendency to overdribble, especially when making a move in the post, and he needs to really improve his left hand to prevent him from being overplayed too often. While Drummond has shown the ability to get up high for passes and finish at the basket off of them, he still needs to work hard on improving his catching ability. First, he should look to get his hands out to set a target and not allow defenders to get a shot at deflecting the pass. Also, with his size, he needs to do a better job keeping the ball high when he has it. Whether holding it or taking a shot around the rim, he keeps the ball around chest level, letting defenders get an easy swipe at it. Also, he needs to get a better grip on the ball for someone his size. Too many times he is stripped by much smaller players.
Perimeter Shooting- If you have seen Drummond shoot, you know this is not a strength area of his. Everything, from the use of his legs, to release point, to the release itself, is not in sync. He needs to focus on getting square to the basket, keeping the ball high, and shooting the ball with arc and follow-through. What you see often from him are fade away attempts off of one leg while pushing the ball at the rim. Yes, he does get some of them to go in, but it is not a method that will give any positive long-term results. And this is only from 10 feet in; I won’t even discuss further than that right now, because unless he fixes this, he won’t be of any use outside of it.
Rebounding/Passing- Drummond can be an effective offensive rebounder, but most of it is due to his size and athleticism. However, once he is competing in the NBA, he will need to work on his positioning and using his body more to create space. He does a good job going strong for the ball, though he has to make sure to keep the ball up high after he secures it. He also does a good job getting another shot off quickly, or if he can’t get it, tipping it, plus he has the ability to grab the ball and go up and finish strong. Passing out of the post is another area where, while improved, Drummond still needs to work. First, he has to anticipate double-teams better and get the ball out quickly. Also, he needs to work on seeing the court better out of the low post, and find cutters and open shooters opposite him. The passes he does make, for the most part, are good and catchable. Where he really developed well was his ability to pass out of the high post, especially when paired with another big he could dump it to around the basket.
Free Throw Shooting – I’m not even sure where to begin on this. There is very little right with his form at the line. It starts with his feet, where the spacing seems to vary from shot to shot, often leading to him having less control of his upper body as he shoots. The shooting motion itself is fragmented and leads to more of a “shot put” motion where he is pushing the ball at the basket and then trying to add some rotation. Also, his release point is way too low, which adds to the “pushing” motion, and he needs to work on keeping his elbow in on the shot.
Post Defense- Drummond has the makings of a strong post defender. He uses his lower body well to anchor himself, and he stays low, allowing him to react to post moves quicker, as well as making it tough to get quickly around his big frame. He reacts well with his feet, though he still needs to watch reaching too often, which leaves him off-balance and picking up bad fouls. His footwork is above average, though at times he seems a step behind. He does a good job keeping his arms extended to make shots difficult. He improved throughout the season hedging on the pick-and-roll, though while his length makes passes difficult, he still needs to do a better job recovering to his man. He is a good help defender, though he needs to anticipate the need to help a little quicker to avoid getting to the spot late. The biggest adjustment he needs to make is his consistency. He does a lot of things well; he just needs to do them regularly.
Perimeter Defense- For his size, Drummond defends the perimeter very well. He positions himself well, gets low in his stance, and has good balance. His lateral movement has improved, and while his foot speed isn’t great, he can often stay with players he is matched with. He needs to improve his court awareness; understanding where he is in relation to the basket, who he is guarding, and what is developing around him. Off the ball, at times he does a very good job denying passing lanes when a pass away from the ball, but he needs to work on his positioning when 2 or more passes away. He closes well on shooters when he is in their vicinity, getting his arms up and making it tougher for the shooter to get a clean look.
Rebounding/Blocking- While his lack of positioning on the offensive end isn’t a big deal, Drummond needs to do a better job positioning himself for rebounds on the defensive side. When the shot goes up, he needs to use his body to clear out space before going for the ball. Using his lower body well will not only give him the room, but it will allow him to move quicker to a spot where he can get the missed shot. Also, especially when he gets drawn out of the lane area, he doesn’t make the effort to get back there to go after rebounds. Part of it goes back to his court awareness; he needs to know when a shot goes up and what he can do to better his chances of getting it. When he is around the miss, he goes strong after the ball and looks to secure it before getting rid of it. Drummond is a good shot-blocker; he has good timing, gets his arms extended well and can be aggressive going after the shot. All those things work, but he needs to make sure he gets in good position before he can do any of it. With his size and agility, he needs to get to get into help position quicker to have a good chance at blocking shots around the basket.
Drummond runs the court extremely well for his size, and can often be found out in front of the transition ballhandler. While he can handle the ball for short spans on the break, he needs to do a better job heading through his lane and right to the basket, making sure to look for the ball coming to him. Also, he needs to have a better understanding of what the lanes are and where he should be in an organized break.
Summary & Intangibles
Athleticism – Very High
BB IQ – Above Average
Watching Drummond play, it is hard not to try and envision the player he will be 3 or 4 years down the road. The athleticism and agility for his size is almost impossible to find, and as raw a player as he is, he still does some things very well. Also, when you watched him throughout the season, it seems easy to see that he is coachable, which should be a big relief for teams considering picking him. While his current strengths rely almost too much on his athleticism, he has the potential to be a very good basketball player as well. It will be a lot of work, and it will be a couple of years before he could have any kind of real impact, but if it all comes together, he could be a dominant post player for a long time. This is the kind of raw ability that you risk a high draft pick on, and his draft value reflects that. His value falls in the 2-8 range of the 1st round, but most likely he is picked in the Top 5.
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