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Point/Counterpoint: Which UConn alum will perform better in the NBA?

By Anokh Palakurthi and Scott Carroll
On October 17, 2012

Anokh: The most underrated aspect of Drummond's game is his passing game from the post. Though UConn underwhelmed in their final season with him and guard Jeremy Lamb, Drummond's passing helped open three point shooters on the floor and was a big part of the Husky offense. His ability to make plays from such a deep position, in my opinion, separates him from many athletic big men in the league. Combine this with his athleticism, ability to finish at the basket and ball handling skills - that's one of the most promising young transition big men rookies in the league.
Scott: Lamb is a basketball player, Drummond is an athlete. I think Drummond may be more suited to the NBA Dunk Contest than the NBA. Let's face it, outside of dunking and blocking shots, he really isn't that useful. His shooting motion makes conventional coaches cringe. He just isn't a basketball player, but instead a terrific athlete. Unfortunately for Drummond, he's entering a league in which everyone is as athletic as him. During his career at UConn, Drummond demonstrated that he had no post game, no hands and zero drive. This was when he was supposed to be impressing NBA scouts and showing them what he could do. Why would he work any harder now that he has the money and the contract?
Anokh: I'm not saying Drummond will be a franchise player, because he probably won't be. He still needs to refine his post moves (a lot), cut back on overaggressive fouls, and take care of his free throw shooting because it is...surreally awful (think beneath 50%). The mercurial center disappointed many in his performance last year in the March Madness tournament. Moreover, many question his confidence. However, I believe Detroit will give him a good chance to come into his own as a professional player. A big man tutor like Ben Wallace should help Drummond gain defensive potential and act as a possible future anchor for a Pistons defense that needs more interior D. Add that expectations are low for Detroit this year, and there won't be pressure suffocating Drummond as there was at UConn. He will get a decent amount of minutes (a lot more than former teammate Jeremy Lamb will get backing up Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lin) for a rebuilding Pistons team and should be a good complement for Brad Miller 2.0, Greg Monroe.
Scott: You claim that Drummond will be better because of his opportunity for playing time, but that may work against him. This is just time for him to show off the flaws in his game, not to mention the long term affects this could have on his career. The game isn't built for big men anymore. It's shifting towards a smaller, international game that is faster than big men can keep up with. Each year big men come out as busts and just wear themselves out of the league. Hasheem Thabeet, Greg Oden, Michael Oluwakandi, and Shawn Bradley are proof that just being tall isn't enough and that an injury filled career is possible. Especially with Drummond's play style of constant jumping, injuries could plague his career.
Anokh: Maybe he won't be a superstar, but I can definitely see Drummond being a great teammate if he isn't suffocated by pressure, is given a core of young teammates to bond with and veteran big men to hone his defensive skills with. He's also only 19 years old, which gives him a lot of time to develop. I can see him becoming a center/power forward hybrid that can anchor a good defense, while becoming a deadly finisher in transition. Sure, that may not be franchise material. But it's not so bad for the ninth pick, is it?
 


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