Why I Have a Feeling That Andre Drummond Will End Up More Successful Than Anthony Davis

First and foremost, Mr. Wilson Tarpeh, Jr. has crafted his blog and media vision as being one that embraces, supports, and demands objectivity. Therefore, I cannot rely on a mere hunch if I am making this big of a statement. Before I go any further, let me explain what I mean by Andre Drummond being “more successful” than Anthony Davis. I believe that Drummond will achieve more in terms of winning games (I predict he’ll have at least one more championship than Davis {it’s okay to laugh}), he’ll develop more as a big man, and will far exceed expectations. One may say that my measure of success is uneven due to the Davis’ higher expectations and the lackluster team he is a part of. However, turning a bad situation into a great one is what I measure great success in. I have faith that Davis will win the battle of accolades and statistics against because he is the central point of his team going forward. Drummond will have to play third banana to Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe once he becomes a starter. 

Being a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats, I got a chance to watch the great Anthony Davis perform at an extraordinary level in high school and during his college playing days. Each time I saw Davis perform, I did not hesitate for one minute that he was a once-in-a-generation kind of player. He has the rare ability to blend guard abilities with his developing dexterity as a big man. There has been not a single piece of evidence that has suggested that Davis will pan out being anything less than a stud. His work ethic and focus alone will carry him as far as his unique talents can. Davis couldn’t have had a better year, as he won the national championship with the wildcats, became the number one pick in the 2012 NBA draft, and won a gold medal while playing with the greatest athletes in the world. Many believe Davis has the opportunity and potential to grace the same stage of excellence that Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan have over their illustrious careers, and rightfully so.

On the other side of town, there is a young (in age and in mind) big man who was expected to play a pivotal role in the Connecticut Huskies’ quest to repeat as champions. Unlike Davis, things did not go so swell for Andre Drummond in college.  He joined a team that clearly had the talent to compete for the national championship but proved to be dysfunctional, starting with the head coach and trickling down to the players. At times it seemed as though Kemba Walker had taken with him the leadership, confidence, focus, and intensity that belonged to the Husky players. Shabazz Napier, Jeremy Lamb, and Alex Oriakhi, just one year removed from promising performances which culminated in a championship, played like they were inexperienced players who are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the stage.  Drummond put up solid numbers, as he averaged 10 points and 7.6 rebounds, but anyone who watched saw he hadn’t made nearly the impact that was expected of him. Instead, he took on the persona of his teammates: uninspired play, confusion, and inconsistency.  Unlike Davis, Drummond began being labeled as a bust who would not reach his potential because of his laid-back approach, his happy-go-lucky personality, and his unproven motor. I felt Drummond was prone to the same dangers that Perry Jones III had been exposed to at Baylor: an offense that did not highlight his strengths and bad team dynamics.

For failing to meet expectations, both Jones III and Drummond slipped in the draft (Drummond to #9 and Jones III to #28). But everything happens for a reason. Drummond and Jones III players couldn’t have ended up on better teams that would cultivate their talent while making sure they would not be plagued by the same dangers they had experienced in college. The New Orleans Hornets, a team in flux, meanwhile selected Anthony Davis out of Kentucky. In a sense the roles of Drummond and Davis had reversed. Now, Davis was placed the one placed on a team devoid of much direction. The recent trade of Chris Paul and the indifference of Eric Gordon, who wanted no part of being in New Orleans, have left the Hornets in a serious rebuilding effort.

There aren’t many who share my optimism when it comes to the very bright future of the Detroit Pistons and the limitless potential of Andre Drummond. The process of getting back to a level of relevancy will not be an easy one for the Pistons. Neither will the road to maturity be a seamless journey for Andre Drummond. There will be highways and byways, roadblocks and detours, but with the support of veterans, coaches, and family, he will drive into greatness one day.

While I believe that the teams that both Davis and Drummond play for will have an impact on whether they reach their respective potential, the origin of my argument for Drummonds success began after I watched this breakdown of his game compared to the breakdown video on Anthony Davis’.

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/V1xHtOMCJPg?feature=player_detailpage” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/qzFcTK-f5M8?feature=player_detailpage” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

  • From the first graphic on the video, I saw the clear distinction in size between Drummond and Davis. Drummond was an inch taller at 6’11’’ and had 46 lbs on Davis. The official measurements at the combine showed that Drummond, in shoes, was 6’ 11.75’’ compared to Davis, who was 6’ 10.5’’.  But what really stood out was that Drummond was weighed at 279 pounds with .4 less body fat than Davis (who was still at 222 lbs). As long as Drummond can keep his weight at a level which still allows him to be explosive, he should adapt to the physicality of the NBA much easier. He has the girth to maintain position on the block when posting up. I expect Davis to struggle carving out space in the post, which should limit his post game early on. I believe it is something he can build upon, however.

 

  • Something shared among Drummond and Davis is their athleticism for their size. But as I watched the video, Drummond seemed to be a more explosive leaper than Anthony Davis. Drummond appeared to be on pogo sticks, leaping and soaring without much effort. He was every bit as fast running the floor, and could maneuver in a similar manner while defending the pick and roll as Davis. Often times he smothered the guard initiating the pick and roll.  At the 2:34 mark in the video, Drummond’s physique was analyzed. His lower body strength and size is a definite advantage over Davis, who lags behind Drummond in those areas. Although he has the “size of a Center,” Drummond has the “agility of a Power Forward.” To go along with those physical tools, Drummond has “very good and strong hands,” which should serve him well catching passes in the league.

 

  • Playing in the Big East, Drummond witness firsthand the physicality he would deal with night in, night out at the NBA level. He did a pretty good job handling it as he was able to get deep into the post and hold his ground defending in the post. Davis, on the other hand, has had trouble handling the physicality of bigs like Festus Ezeli.

 

  • Davis was a premier shot blocking big, evidenced by his astounding rate of swatting 4.7 shots a game. However, Drummond is no slouch in this area either. Although he averaged only 2.7 blocks a game, he demonstrated the leaping ability and has the wingspan (7-5) to cause guards to think twice about driving.

 

  • The one clear advantage that Davis has over Drummond is free throw shooting. Drummond shot an abysmal 29.5 % from the stripe. That is the one area Drummond has to drastically improve upon if he is to contribute offensively. Davis has a nice stroke from the line, which is one of the guard skills he possesses, and shot a very good 71%. Given his good shot mechanics, Davis should develop a solid jumper.

 

  • Overall, Drummond is a bit better physically than Davis, but what separates the two is the game between the ears. Davis has a constant motor while Drummond holds back when he becomes confused.

Every team, player, and coach is aware of Drummond’s tendency to coast but the Pistons have devised a plan to keep him in check. Rookie Kim English went to management and personally stated that he would help Drummond be accountable. That is both a sign of maturity and responsibility for Kim English. The fact that a rookie would take part in trying to help a fellow youngster is a good sign for the Pistons. Corey Maggette has also taken upon himself the responsibility to help Drummond adapt to the NBA and remain focused. There is no better advice than from a veteran who has gone through similar experiences, and that is what Maggette is attempting to do. The Pistons have gone an extra step to even put Drummond’s locker in between Brandon Knight, arguably the hardest working and most serious players in the league, and Maggette. That will keep Drummond flanked by work ethic, experience, and focus, a stark contrast to what was in his college locker room. In addition to the advice he can receive, Drummond gets to gain on court experience each day in practice as he goes against the skilled Greg Monroe, a great big man in the league, and the rugged and tough Jason Maxiell. Drummond is no lackadaisical knucklehead either; he demonstrates very good attentiveness and is willing to learn. With the mental aspect taken care of for Drummond, he will have no trouble developing his physical game. Thus far in preseason, Drummond has played very well, surprising many who thought he didn’t have the mental fortitude to contribute consistently. But, then again, it’s preseason.

Here’s a good look of his play in preseason:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_7vKFDchI4?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Nevertheless, this is the exact ability I foresaw when I was watching the scouting videos back in May and June.

The team dynamic and potential of the Detroit Pistons, Drummond’s physical advantage and his willingness to learn will carry him to great things that I believe Anthony Davis will not experience. That is not to say that Davis will not be great, however.

Tonight comes the first test of real NBA basketball for both Davis and Drummond. And when the road ends in the distant future, hopefully I will be there to witness the greatness of the kid they said couldn’t reach his potential.

Written By Javeen Rob

Follow Javeen on Twitter: @JJRob15

 

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CEO/Founder of My Mind on Sports For More Information on Wilson, check out his Bio in the "Team" Section Follow Wilson on Twitter: @Willietspeaks

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