One of the most polarizing figures in this draft class is headed to the Cleveland Clinic Courts today. While draft analysts and skeptics question Andre Drummond’s heart and motivation, league executives are taking a long, hard look at a legitimate center who has the physical tools to dominate the game for the next decade.
Or he could be the next Hasheem Thabeet.
Drummond, in town for a private workout with the Cavaliers, stands 6 feet, 11¾ inches and weighs 275 pounds. He readily admitted at the combine that his offensive game is raw and he has no moves with his back to the basket. It’s why he has been working for the last couple of months with renowned NBA trainer Idan Ravin.
If Drummond is anything, he appears to be honest. He was quick to point out his flaws and that he, too, was disappointed in his final numbers from his one year at Connecticut.
“I didn’t have a good year,” he said. “I had an OK year.”
Perhaps there are legitimate reasons for why he averaged just 10 points and 7.6 rebounds after entering college as the nation’s No. 2 prospect, or maybe they’re just excuses hatched during the combine season to make teams take another look. You decide.
Drummond says he never really fit in with the Huskies because he arrived late, tweeting just days before classes began that he would attend Connecticut. Initially, he was part of the 2012 graduating class, but restructured his classification to graduate early. His recruitment was kept a secret until his announcement.
By deciding so late, Drummond missed valuable practice time over the summer with his new teammates. Then he broke his nose during practice in late October and was forced to wear a mask for weeks that he said was uncomfortable and left him tentative for fear of getting his nose hit again.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do because I was going to go back to high school, then I made the jump and didn’t transition as well as I thought I would,” Drummond said. “I was a little rattled throughout the season. It didn’t come as fast as I thought it would.”
Drummond could grow into a star like Dwight Howard, or he could flop like Kwame Brown and Thabeet, the 7-3 center out of Connecticut who was selected second overall in 2009 and will go down as one of the worst picks in the draft’s history.
Drummond won’t turn 19 until August, making him one of the youngest players in this class. While questions about his motor and motivation persist, a number of NBA executives infatuated with his ability simply chalk it up to being 18 and still growing into his body.
Drummond is doing his best to squelch any concerns over his motivation and demeanor.
He has maintained a rigorous workout program and diet, eliminating all sweets and soft drinks while working on his offensive game with Ravin.
Ravin, playfully referred to as the Hoops Whisperer, has worked with Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Rudy Gay, among others. His latest project is Drummond.
The two have worked on raising the release point on his jump shot and developing post moves. Drummond’s offensive game in college was nonexistent outside of lob dunks.
His free-throw shooting was abysmal. He averaged just 2.6 attempts per game and made only 29 percent of them. He blamed it on changing his routine throughout the season and not sticking with one.
For all the drawbacks, there is still the jaw-dropping athleticism that keeps scouts coming back for more. The Cavs remain intrigued by Drummond. Coach Byron Scott worked wonders with J.J. Hickson, another athletic big with a questionable mental makeup, and has a history of getting the most out of players.
“All I can tell you is whatever team I get drafted to, I’m going to work my hardest and do the best I can to the best of my ability,” Drummond said.
“I can’t dictate the future of what I’m going to do, all I know is I’m going to go out there and give it my all.”
Former Kentucky forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is also expected in town today for a workout. Kidd-Gilchrist spent nearly a month in Cleveland after the college season ended working on his game.
He slipped and fell, tweaking his back, during a workout in Charlotte on Monday, but the injury isn’t considered serious.
Sims, Maleski join Cavs
Brad Sims has left a position with the vice president position with the NBA league office to become the Cavs’ senior vice president and chief revenue officer, the team announced Tuesday. Mike Maleski also returned to the Cavs in a newly created position as vice president of digital sales, marketing and operations. Nic Barlage was promoted to vice president of ticket sales and services. Maleski previously worked for the Cavs from 2008-11.