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Size Matters: Drummond, Leonard, Zeller


The consensus top 3 centers in this years NBA draft. The blazers obviously have a need at this position (BPA argument aside), so lets take a look at these 3 players. First of all Drummond might be available at 6th, Leonard will be there at 6 and possibly available at 11th. Zeller should be available at 11th.

The Physical

Here are the combine measurements for these three from DraftExpress:

Height w/o Height w/shoes Weight Wingspan Standing Reach Body Fat No Step Vert Max Vert Bench Press/185 Lane Agility Sprint
Drummond 6' 9.75" 6' 11.75" 279 7' 6.25" 9' 1.5" 7.5 31.5 33.5 10 10.83 3.39
Leonard 6' 11.75" 7' 1.25" 250 7' 3" 9' 0" 5.7 30 32.5 19 11.34 3.41
Zeller 6' 11.25" 7' 0.5" 247 7' 0" 8' 8.5" 6.4 30 34 16 11.13 3.4

Everyone knows that Drummond is a physical beast, his size speed and athletic ability leading to the comparisons to Dwight Howard. As we can see, Leonard is physically a similar player, if not quite as beastly as Drummond. Zeller is not bad at all for a 7 footer in the athletic department, perhaps and inch or two on his wingspan and reach are keeping his stock lower.

By physical attributes alone the rank would be 1. Drummond 2. Leonard 3. Zeller.

The Play

Stats for 2011-2012:


MIN FG% FT% REB AST BLK STL PF TO PTS
Drummond 28.4 0.538 0.295 7.6 0.4 2.7 0.8 2.2 1.5 10
Leonard 31.8 0.584 0.732 8.2 1.3 1.9 0.5 2.9 2.1 13.6
Zeller 28.2 0.533 0.808 9.6 0.9 1.5 0.9 2.7 1.9 16.3

Of course stats only tell part of the story, but these are for comparisons sake. Some notes here, Drummond's blocks were great but he is atrocious from the stripe. Zeller of course was the best scorer and rebounder of the ball last season and by all accounts is the best player right now (we will get into potential). Zeller has a well rounded skill set and a great engine, he knows what he can and cannot do. Leonard by all accounts is still learning his offensive game, but he actually shot the best FG% last season of the three, so he is already pretty efficient. Drummond doesn't really know what to do on offense.

According to current play the rank would be 1. Zeller 2. Leonard 3. Drummond

The Potential

When discussing potential (the most difficult thing to quantify) it is appropriate to discuss both ceilings and floors for theses players. Obviously we know Drummond has the biggest star potential, followed by Leonard and then "know what your getting" Zeller. But let's dig a little deeper into this and come up with a Best case, most likely, and worst case for these 3.

Drummond:

Best case is easy. He makes good on all that physical potential and becomes a dominate NBA center. Think Dwight Howard.

Most likely he is exactly like DeAndre Jordan. A defensive, rebounding center who dunks.

Worst case he is Kwame Brown. A player with great physical tools who doesn't have a drive to get better and therefore never does.

Leonard:

Best case is a player who locks down the paint and scores at the opportune time. Think Tyson Chandler but with a bit more offense. A Joakim Noah but bigger and better.

Most likely he does not become quite that good but is still useful at center like Robin Lopez or a bigger but not quite as tenacious Joakim Noah.

Worst case he takes quite a few years to become productive but eventually finds his role like Spencer Hawes.

Zeller:

Best case is he does everything well but nothing great as a starter like a skinnier but quicker Marcin Gortat.

Most likely he does everything well but nothing great as a backup like a skinnier but quicker Marcin Gortat.

Worst case he does everything well but nothing great as a role player like a skinnier but quicker Marcin Gortat.

So we have one high risk, high reward player, one medium risk, medium reward player, and one low risk, low reward player.

Rankings on potential 1. Drummond 2. Leonard 3. Zeller

Average Ranking 1.66 Drummond 2 Leonard 2.33 Zeller

In conclusion: If the Blazers do take a center in this draft (let's not talk about a PF at center such as TRob or Sullinger. but true centers) who would you rather see in the red and black after June?

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