Chad Ford of ESPN.com joined Isaac Ropp and Big Suke on 1080 The Fan earlier this week to talk about the 2012 NBA Draft.
Here's a partial transcript. I chopped it up and re-organized it a bit. Download or stream the audio here.
UConn Center Andre Drummond
He's not worked out great by all accounts. He's the second youngest player in the Draft. He doesn't have a great motor. Workout settings for bigs are always a bit challenging. You can't really wow the same way that perimeter players can. A lot of it has to do with the energy you bring to a workout and that's not Drummond's strong point. Pretty much everywhere he's gone, I've heard he's been OK and not great.
He's young, maturity-wise he's young. The thing that throws you off is that when you see him physically, 7-feet, 280 pounds, with a crazy 7-foot-6 wingspan, he looks like a man. Inside is definitely a 17 or 18 year old.
His game in a lot of ways of Dwight Howard's coming out of high school. He's not very skilled. One of the things that screams at you is that he shot a crazy 29 percent from the free throw line. That makes Shaq look like Ray Allen. He's just not a very skilled player. Can he shoot, dribble and pass? The answer for Andre Drummong on all three of those is no. But he's huge. He's an excellent athlete, he may be the fastest guy laterally at that size, I mean ever. He's so quick laterally, like a guard. He was a good rebounder, he was a very good shot-blocker at UConn last year. It wasn't like he had a completely unproductive season there he just has a long way to go offensively.
That's what reminds me of Howard. Howard figured out really early in his NBA career: 'I can't do a lot of that stuff, but one thing I can do well is jump and dunk over everybody.' There's very few guys in the league who can stop him from doing that. If Drummond ever got that mindset he could be the second best player in this Draft. I'm just not sure he will get it because like a lot of young bigs, he thinks he can do more than he can. He thinks he can dribble, he thinks he can shoot, he thinks he wants to play a little on the perimeter. He wants to be more Kevin Durant than Dwight Howard. Usually that's a very difficult thing to get out of players' heads, to get them to accept what they do well in the NBA.
His coach, Jim Calhoun, said that he will be a very good NBA player in 3-4 years. In the NBA, that's an eternity.
Portland at No. 6
The consensus top-5 guys are Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the guy who leapfrogs in is Harrison Barnes, who I think will go No. 4 or No. 5 or maybe even No. 2. After that, I don't think Drummond is a lock for Portland. I think they really like Damian Lillard, the point guard out of Weber State. I think he could well be the pick there. I also think they like Dion Waiters from Syracuse as well.
[Blazers GM Neil Olshey] is very eloquent in what he tries to say but I think you've got to wade through some of that. They're going to be rebuilding. I don't even know that they're in a huge hurry to rebuild at this point, it's not the sense that I get that they want to be a playoff team next year. I think they understand that they have to be patient and get the pieces in place.
That's why I think Drummond is in the mix there because long-term he could be an absolute steal at 6. If he matures the right way, if he puts in the hard work, absolutely a steal at 6. He's going to be a project and he's not going to deliver what you need the first couple of years in the NBA.
Weber State point guard Damian Lillard vs. UNC point guard Kendall Marshall
They're completely different, in every way imaginable. Marshall is a pass-first point guard, he's the best point guard in the Draft at passing ahead, about finding guys, about playing unselfishly. He's limited athletically, he's got good size for his position, he's not a very good shooter and he doesn't really think score at all. His upside is a guy like Andre Miller, who really is a facilitator and doesn't really bring a lot of athleticism to the game. Teams have concerns about how he's going to defend. There's so many quick, elite athletic point guards in the league these days. How's somebody like Marshall who struggled defensively in college going to be able to defend an NBA caliber point guard?
Lillard, on the other hand, is a very good athlete, explosive leaper, can really shoot the basketball -- over 40 percent from three. Has a scorer's mentality. Not only can he shoot it from deep but he can get to the line, which is very rare that you have a guy who is very efficient getting to the basket and who can shoot the deep three. The question is, at Weber State, he was not asked to facilitate that much, he was their lead scorer. He averaged about five assists per game. There's questions about how he makes the transition to more of a facilitator at the next level. He's got the scorer's mindset. But his body -- his athletic numbers at the combine were very similar to Derrick Rose and the same sort of mentality.
Lillard is on the board with the Raptors at No. 8. He's on the board again with the Hornets at No. 10. Even the Warriors have taken a look at him at No. 7, although I think that's less likely. Those two teams need a point guard. Depending on going ahead of him, if Dion Waiters goes No. 7 to the Warriors, I think the Raptors go with a guy like Lillard.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter