JOE DUMARS (From left), Andre Drummond, Khris Middleton, Kim English and coach Lawrence Frank. – Andre Smith photo
From the University of Connecticut the Detroit Pistons in the 2012 NBA Draft selected center Andre Drummond with the ninth overall pick on the first round.
Drummond, 18, is the draft’s second-youngest player, after of course, Anthony Davis. Because of his age and being very raw offensively, he dropped down from a project fourth to sixth selection on the first round.
“When we came out of the Chicago pre draft camp, he was one of the players we met with,” Pistons President Joe Dumars told reporters. “When he left the room, we all looked around and said, ‘Well, that’s the last time we see him.’ I’ve been saying that for three straight years, but, really, this guy wasn’t supposed to be there at nine, for real this time.”
The Pistons left their interview with Drummond in Chicago feeling they’d made a connection with him. Drummond confirmed as much.
“I definitely felt that way,” Drummond said. “We had the meeting in Chicago and we just had this certain vibe for each other. I think we would be a great fit for each other. All I know is that I’m walking into a brotherhood and I’m walking into a great family and coaching staff and the organization is amazing. I know that I’m going to grow as a player and as a person. I know the fans are great out there, so I just can’t wait to walk into a great situation.”
Just like Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight, going into the draft, the Pistons did not think they had a chance to get any of the three players.
Most analysts had Monroe, Knight and Drummond poised to go higher than they did. Yet all three fell in the Pistons’ laps and Dumars and company could not pass them up. He can only hope that the young Drummond will grow and mature like Knight and Monroe have.
“I am going to go through and Summer League and all the other things they ask of me,” Drummond said.
“I heard some of the talk about my motor and all the other stuff, like I do not play hard, but I will immediately put to rest it all to rest. I’m definitely a hard worker and my teammates know that and my coaches definitely know that.”
Though other attractive big men were still on the board — North Carolina teammates John Henson and Tyler Zeller and Illinois 7-footer Meyers Leonard — Dumars said it was an easy decision to draft Drummond, a 7-footer with amazing lateral quickness and an enormous wing span.
The Pistons don’t expect Drummond to have an impact as a shot-blocker, pick-and-roll defender and an offensive rebounder. The Pistons also beefed up their perimeter in the second round by taking Texas A&M’s Khris Middleton and Missouri’s Kim English.
Middleton, 6’-8½”, is a junior out of Texas A&M who averaged 13.2 points and 5.0 rebounds last season. The 44th pick English at 6’-6½” will give the Pistons more size at shooting guard behind Rodney Stuckey.
“All three of our picks tonight, we feel extremely lucky to get them,” Pistons personnel director George David said. “I don’t know if we’ve had a draft here where that many guys, three guys we had ranked higher, fell to us like that. We’ve been pretty fortunate here the last three years.”