Andre Drummond, No. 6 (Mock)
All-Star potential with size you can’t teach.
by Brendan Bowers / @BowersCLE
There was a minute this past season when the Portland Trail Blazers resembled an elite team in Western Conference. That lasted about eight games. Then the trade deadline came by and blew everything up in Rip City.
Brandon Roy is gone, Greg Oden too. They’re not coming back. Nate McMillan isn’t coming back either, and the choice for his permanent replacement belongs to former Clippers GM Neil Olshey. The NBA Draft will be Olshey’s first opportunity to breathe new life into the Blazers. Officially deciding on Kaleb Canales’ future will be another.
Raymond Felton didn’t work out at the point guard spot the way Portland had hoped last season. Nolan Smith didn’t either. The 2011 first-round pick was underwhelming in his first year with the Blazers, and they’re in need of another guard as a result.
What Portland does have right now is LaMarcus Aldridge. He was an All-Star last season, and the NBA universe expects he’ll be one again for years to come.
Aldridge would prefer to play his natural position of power forward. Marcus Camby began last season as the team’s center. After Camby was traded, LA was forced to shift down and fill Camby’s spot at the 5. If a quality big is available in this Draft to fill that void, Portland is interested.
Assuming Nicolas Batum is re-signed, the Blazers need additional help on the perimeter as well. Backcourt help, specifically. Wesley Matthews is there, a point guard isn’t. Young talent needs to be stockpiled, and the Blazers will look to do that with picks 6 and 11.
The first need they will address is the frontline.
With the sixth pick of the SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select…
Andre Drummond from Connecticut.
At pick No. 6 overall, the physical ability and potential upside for Andre Drummond is too much for the Blazers to pass up. Standing 6-11, with a wingspan measuring just over 7-6, the 18-year-old from St. Thomas Moore (CT) High has size and length that is as scary as it is unique.
He might one day work himself into becoming an All-Star center in the NBA.
I know there’s the Greg Oden factor that might hang over Rip City like a dark cloud with a pick like Drummond in this spot, but you can’t think like that if you’re Portland. It doesn’t make sense either. There’s no jinx as real as the physical tools that Andre Drummond possess. Assuming those tools can be maximized at the next level.
Ten points and 7 rebounds in the Big East for a guy like Andre isn’t good. Twenty-nine percent from the free-throw line is embarrassing. There’s no excuse for that. But he doesn’t need an excuse, he just needs to put in professional work starting now.
Andre Drummond isn’t about to get selected and paid based on what he did at UConn. The Blazers will take him in this spot based on what he can become, and the ceiling there is as high as he is tall.
Through drafting Andre Drummond, Portland would now have a guy they can play at the five. LaMarcus would be firmly secure in the power forward position he’d prefer to play. The position he’s better suited for. Playing and working alongside each other could make both players better. Especially Drummond in this opportunity to learn how to be an NBA pro from one of the best there is.
They could prove to be a dynamic frontcourt one day if Drummond develops. Something that would leave Portland fans with a smile on their face, right along with Andre. A guy who’s been criticized for smiling too much, and spoke on that this week at the NBA Combine.
“I always have a smile on my face,” Drummond said at the NBA Combine this week. “I don’t beat my chest, roar or show my feelings. Some people think I don’t get angry.”
If he shows out, there’d be no reason for anybody to be angry about this pick. Except those five teams that passed on him.
|2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft|