We’ll see flashes on occasion from the 6-foot-11 center – 22-8 in 20 minutes against the Thunder – but he’s only getting 15 minutes a night. The optimistic Pistons fan will look at his 36-minute averages – 15.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 2.4 bpg – and wonder why he’s riding the bench.
Seven-footers with his type of freakish athletic ability are very rare, so how’d Drummond fall to 9th in the draft? Let Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo, who had the 8th pick, explain:
Picking eighth, I passed on somebody I consider a top-five talent in the draft because we felt like he didn’t have the right mental makeup. I passed on someone we thought was a top-three physical specimen because we felt he wasn’t the right fit for our team and didn’t have the right mental makeup.
How is a 6-foot-11 freak not the “right fit?” The Raptors are 27th in blocks per game and 22nd in rebounding. Anyone who patrols the interior would be the “right fit.” I won’t touch the “right mental makeup” part, as I’ve never been around the kid, but Drummond doesn’t have any arrests on his resume.
What does Toronto have inside? Andrea Bargnani, a 7-footer who was the No. 1 pick in 2006 and for his career averages 4.9 rpg, and Jonas Valanciunas, a 20-year-old who has actually shown some promise through eight games (but doesn’t have better 36-minute averages than Drummond, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
Toronto, in case you forgot, drafted Terrence Ross, a nice shooter from Washington. A few weeks later, they picked up Landry Fields.
* Answer? Stick him out there next to Greg Monroe and let him learn on the fly. Detroit stinks. There’s no playoff spot at stake. Give him minutes, let fans fall in love with his blocks and athletic ability. When he hits the freshman wall – and he will – let him rest.