Draft notes: Drummond a mystery man; big Cavaliers workout looms
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The idea, of course, is for NBA teams to get a look at the draft prospect.
But it's important for the player himself to be able to see during a workout, and so it was that UConn center Andre Drummond had to stop showcasing his skills for the Kings on Thursday when his vision became a bit of an issue. There was a 10-minute search for the contact lenses that fell out, after which he went back to being the tantalizing talent that has so many teams both confused and intrigued about what to do with him.
Drummond is a mystery man in this draft class. NBA executives wonder about how imposing he can become given that the 18-year-old center stands 6-11¾ in shoes and has a 7-6¼ wingspan. The immediate data, however, aren't nearly as impressive.
Drummond was a disappointment in his one season with the Huskies after arriving as the No. 2 recruit in the country. He averaged just 10 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 28.4 minutes while shooting 53.8 percent from the field and a woeful 29.5 percent from the free throw line. He capped an up-and-down season by scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds as UConn's title defense ended with a loss to Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
But even in that poor performance Drummond's shot-blocking ability was on display (he had four), and that kind of presence may be what the Kings -- and a number of other teams picking in the top 10 of the June 28 draft -- are looking for. It's one of the calling cards of this draft, with Kentucky power forward and consensus No. 1 pick Anthony Davis playing the lead role and players like North Carolina power forward John Henson (2.9 blocks last season) also being considered near the top of the first round in large part because of defensive prowess.
There was clearly a focus on that skill in Drummond's workout with the Kings, who have the fifth pick. He ran through shot-blocking drills in which members of the coaching staff lobbed high-arching shots from all areas of the floor that Drummond swatted away. His motor and ability to be a consistent contributor are seriously in question, but Drummond remains unlikely to fall out of the top 10. He said he'll work out in Portland (Nos. 6 and 11 picks) on Friday, then head to Cleveland (No. 4), Washington (No. 3) and Charlotte (No. 2).
While Drummond's size means his defensive impact will likely always be there, he's trying to convince teams he's growing as a scorer as well.
"I've worked hard on my offensive game the past couple of months, and I'm still working on it to this day," he said. "I've definitely built a back-to-the-basket game. My face-up game is a whole lot better. My jump shot is a whole lot better, I'm shooting better free throws and I'm just trying to become a well-rounded player."
• North Carolina small forward Harrison Barnes and Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal will face off in a workout for the Cavaliers on Saturday, according to sources. Cleveland is known to have interest in both players with the No. 4 pick, though Barnes and Beal now appear to be possibilities for Charlotte at No. 2 as well, along with Kentucky small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson.
A source said that Robinson, who worked out in Washington (No. 3) on Wednesday, will work out for the Bobcats next Friday. Beal worked out for the Wizards on Thursday, and he is agreeing to work out for only the top four teams. Kidd-Gilchrist is scheduled to work out for Washington on Friday.
• UConn shooting guard Jeremy Lamb remains in the running as a top-10 pick, but his workout with Toronto (No. 8) on Thursday hardly helped his case. Sources said Lamb turned his ankle minutes into the session, and he was expected to cancel a scheduled workout with Portland (Nos. 6 and 11) for Friday. Though the injury is not considered serious, the predraft workout phase is obviously not a good time to be dealing with a weak ankle.
• When it was reported that a lottery team had promised to draft Duke shooting guard Austin Rivers, many suspected that it came from New Orleans with its No. 10 pick. His father, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, and Hornets coach Monty Williams are close friends, and Austin is just the sort of young, confident talent that New Orleans could use during its rebuilding process. But a source with knowledge of the situation insisted that the Hornets have not promised Rivers.