If being the MF Doom of college basketball was an advantage, I'd take Andre Drummond No. 1 all the time
The scuttlebutt on Andre Drummond is that he's going to be the hit big or miss by a mile guy of the draft. As we all know, quality big men are hard to come by in the NBA. And Drummond has the size, athleticism, quickness, strength and physical gifts that raise him to an elite level. Pairing his lateral quickness with his size and timing makes for an intimidating defensive presence, and the stats show this in his 2.7 blocks per game. His pick and roll defense is clearly an advantage on this end.
However, size and physical gifts don't mean everything, which brings me to his weaknesses. When your free throw percentage makes Gana Diop's look good, you know you have problems. And Drummond's 29.5 percent prove this easily. So yeah, you could say he might not have a jump shot. Another issue is his drive, or assertiveness, especially in taking advantage of overmatched defenders. With his size and strength, he should have destroyed most college defenses, backing down opponents. But that didn't happen as often as it should have. Further, his offense is quite undeveloped as of yet. Sure, he's young, but Drummond needs to develop some kind of go-to move and right now he doesn't have much of anything in his arsenal -- weak jump hooks, not great touch, etc. He's a project.
OK, let's hear it. Let's hear everyone's jokes and sneers about how Michael Jordan just wants to draft another UNC player and how that falls into some imaginary modus operandi the Bobcats don't have where they only take UNC guys. We through here yet? Now that that's out of the way, here's what we should know about Harrison Barnes. After a disappointing NCAA tournament, the ballyhooed top high school recruit and top college prospect in years took a tumble down the draft boards.
Still, he's a very talented player, and one that probably shouldn't fall very far. His jumper is silky smooth with a high release and good mechanics where he squares up consistently, all on the basis of repeatable form. His midrange game is fantastic and can even post-up and draw fouls well. His range extends well into NBA three-point land. Moreover, he is good in transition and can finish at the rim. Barnes also utilizes a jab step to draw in defenders and get past them since he doesn't have the handles and blazing quickness to get to the rim at will. And therein lies the weaknesses in Barnes' game currently: after a dribble or two, he loses control. He also sometimes gets tunnel vision while driving to the rim, missing open teammates who may be cutting or open for a kick-out pass. These issues with creating his own shot and shots for teammates are mostly what concern analysts.
One of the other issues people have is more of a misconception. Despite chatter of Barnes being unathletic, it's simply not true. He may not use his athleticism the same way, but he certainly has quickness and hops and strength in spades. He had a no step vertical of 38 inches (tops at the combine by about 3 inches) and a max vert of 39.5 inches. To put this comparatively, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist recorded a no-step vert of 32 inches and a max vert of 35.5 inches. The other knock on Barnes has to deal with his tournament problems. Can he be the No. 1 option on an NBA team? I guess that remains to be seen, but he has the tools to become a nice player in the NBA, and I'm certainly not sold on the notion that he'll be a bust.