Why Andre Drummond should go No. 1
Today Insider concludes its three-part debate over who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA draft. All three of our draft insiders -- Fran Fraschilla, David Thorpe and Chad Ford -- debate the merits of the player currently at No. 3 on Ford's Top 100: University of Connecticut freshman Andre Drummond.
David Thorpe: I remember attending a high school game in December 2001, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The game featured one of the top prep players in the country against my alma mater, Seminole High School, which had a small and slow team with no one taller than 6-foot-3. The prep phenom had killed everyone all summer -- for the second year in a row -- and should have scored 50 in a cakewalk on his way to being a top five NBA draft pick the following June.
After watching him jog up and down the court, rarely showing his immense talent while his team lost to my below-average Warhawks, I laughed at the notion that a team would even think about drafting him. Apparently eight teams agreed with me in June 2002, perhaps having seen similar incidents throughout his prep career.
Today it's clear that Amare Stoudemire was just bored out of his mind in those games. Likewise, I've seen Andre Drummond jog around during games. At times, scouts will catch him standing and watching rebounds, looking alive only when the ball is in his hands. Sure, it's possible that he lacks the kind of motor a No. 1 overall pick should have, but it's more likely that he's so much better than everyone else on the court that it's hard to remain on edge.
Indeed, the landscape of NBA draft history is littered with remnants of super-talented guys with lazy streaks, everyone from Stromile Swift to Andray Blatche -- who's as talented as anyone at his position but has not come close to realizing that potential. It won't be enough for Drummond to play well, if he wants that No. 1 spot in the draft. He'll need to play with reckless abandon, destroying guys most nights and not looking cute and crafty. It's great that he likes to pass, but top overall picks need to show a disposition to dominate.
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