Andre Drummond made two huge plays in the waning seconds of Friday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers. First, deadlocked at 96-96 with :24 seconds remaining, Drummond coaxed Pacers All-Star big man Roy Hibbert into an offensive foul. Then, on the ensuing possession, Drummond followed a Brandon Jennings’ miss for his 16 point on his 16 rebound, giving the Pistons 10 wins in their last 12 games.
I have not been shy in proclaiming Drummond a Hall of Famer, barring injury. His athleticism is so freakish, he could completely redefine the center position in the NBA, similarly to how LeBron James redefined the small forward. In just his third season, at a mere 21 years old, Drummond is averaging roughly 12 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. To average these numbers, with a game so raw he barely has a viable post move or sense of defensive positioning, is a scary thought for Eastern Conference opponents.
Though impossible to imagine at this point in time, Drummond’s athleticism will eventually fade. His ultimate reputation will be decided by technique, development and execution. As SI.com’s Rob Mahoney puts it in his article linked below: “He will always appear capable of more, because in some sense he’s capable of almost anything.”
Ladies and gentlemen, watch out for Andre Drummond.
It’s impossible to repay Kemba Walker for what he gave UConn fans in the Spring of 2011. However, voting him into his first All Star game (a NYC homecoming at that) is a great way to start. Walker is averaging 30+ points in the midst of a 5 game win streak, including 28 points in just 28 minutes during last night’s blowout of the New York Knicks. In addition, Cardiac Kemba ALREADY has three game-winning buzzer-beaters on the young season. Kemba Walker deserves to be an All Star, here are the many ways to vote him in:
Tweet “Kemba Walker” with the hashtag #NBABallot, or, simply RT my tweet below. Might as well RT for Andre Drummond too while you are at it…
Vote by texting “Walker” to 69622 (MYNBA). Message and data rates apply.
Fans can cast up to 10 votes per day on each voting medium, but only one per player. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts must include the player’s first/last name AND the hashtag #NBABallot. Voting ends January 19, 2015 so let’s get to it…
I recently found videos I took from quite possibly the most epic dunk contest in the history of UCONN First Night (more commonly known as Midnight Madness). This particular contest featured a semifinal matchup between hyper-athletic big man Andre Drummond and bouncy guard Ryan Boatright. Both Drummond and Boatright made it difficult for the judges- consisting of Kemba Walker, Hasheem Thabeet, Ray Allen and ESPN’s Doris Burke- to announce a winner with a flurry of impressive dunks that I was lucky enough to catch on camera directly behind the basket.
#12 Andre Drummond
#11 Ryan Boatright
The judges ultimately awarded the honor to Boatright for his dunk over the seated Napier. Were they right?
A month ago I evaluated the prospects of draft hopefuls Shabazz Napier, Deandre Daniels and Niels Giffey. Here is a look back at those projections and where I ultimately believe they will be selected:
Draft Projections: Shabazz Napier
According to scouts present at the combine, Napier’s performance solidified a first round selection. Here are some possible destinations that stand out:
17th pick, Boston Celtics: Hometown kid on the hometown team is always an inspiring story line.
26th pick, Miami Heat: LeBron tweeted: “No way u take another PG in the lottery before Napier.” Starting point guard Mario Chalmers is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, if Napier were still available you know who LeBron wants…
28th pick, Los Angeles Clippers: Current backup Darren Collison has a player option for next season. Like Collison, Napier is a pesky defender who would benefit under the tutelage of Chris Paul while he develops.
Update: The Miami Heat are my favorite to select Shabazz Napier. There has been much publicity regarding LeBron James support of Napier and the Heat will do anything they can to please their superstar forward. Look for the Heat to move up in the draft as it is unlikely Napier will fall to the 26th pick.
Draft Projections: Deandre Daniels
Deandre Daniels has the talent to be a late first round draft pick. On the other hand, scouts see him as a second round selection due to his pencil-thin frame and lack of strength. In a draft full of talented small forwards, Daniels’ performance in workouts will ultimately seal his fate. In my opinion, Deandre is one of the most underrated players in the draft and could make an impact for a contender after a season in the D-League. Here are some possible destinations:
25th pick, Houston Rockets: The Rockets have the flexibility to allow Daniels a season in the D-League to bulk up on a NBA strength training regimen.
35th pick, Utah Jazz: Young at every position the Jazz can go after the best player available which at this point in the draft, could be Daniels.
43rd pick, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks need a perimeter scorer, if they don’t fill this need in the first round look for them to fill it here.
Update: Daniels is an intriguing prospect as his NBA career is based mostly off potential. He is largely considered one of the biggest steals in the draft however was left off Chad Ford’s latest mock draft. Daniels could go as early as late first round or possibly slide out of the draft. With Josh Smith’s future up in the air, look for the Pistons to take a chance on Daniels with the 38th pick.
Draft Projections: Niels Giffey
Analysts have Giffey anywhere from late second round to undrafted. As an underexposed role player, workouts will only help Giffey get his name out there. Scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational came away impressed and there is no reason to believe that trend will not continue. Here are some second round opportunities for Giffey:
32nd, 39th, 47th, 52nd or 54th, Philadelphia 76ers: With five second round picks to go along with two lottery picks, the 76ers can address immediate needs and plan for the future.
58th or 60th, San Antonio Spurs: Giffey is the epitome of a role player on a team of role players.
New York Knicks: With no draft picks and change on the horizon, the Knicks could look to make moves.
Update: I am torn here between the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks. In a blockbuster move yesterday, the Knicks acquired the 34th and 51st picks, among others, from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Tyson Chandler. The Knicks have been known to take chances on European players in the past, however Giffey fits perfectly into San Antonio’s organizational philosophy. Still, look for the Knicks to take their chances on Giffey with the 51st pick.