One year ago today, Harrison Barnes was considered the likely No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Come draft night, Barnes wasn’t even part of the party, staying at North Carolina for another year. Kyrie Irving was the man.
So we can say that whoever is the No. 1 choice of scouts right now has a long way to go to keep that title.
Especially considering next year will be a deep draft with the top several teams getting real talent. This is going to be a potential franchise changing draft for a few teams.
So who will be the top pick?
Barnes is back in the mix, but the guy everyone seems high on is Anthony Davis, heading to Kentucky this fall. Davis is 6’10” with a 7’4” wingspan who is seen as raw but can make plays around the rim. What really seems to catch scouts eyes is the guy is an active and willing defender — he can come in and give a team a real shot blocker inside. Davis is a guy that will take a couple more years to develop, but he could be very good.
Barnes is a swingman that started slow at North Carolina but dropped 40 in an ACC Tournament game and has good skills and is just one of those guys who seems to have a natural feel for the game. He has an outside shot and with a consistent season will be a top three pick.
But the guy catching eyes right now is Andre Drummond, who this week committed to Connecticut (a team that needed a boost if it wanted to repeat as national champions and may have gotten it). Come next June, don’t be shocked if this is the guy at the top of the draft board. Check out what Chad Ford said about him at ESPN.
For starters, he’s got ideal NBA size for a big man. He’s 6-foot-10, has a massive 7-foot-5 wingspan and already has the bulk (currently listed at 275) to play in the middle.
Drummond also possesses explosive athleticism and quickness for a big man. He gets up and down the court well, attacks the rim and pops off the floor quickly. Pair his size and athleticism together, and you have the makings of an elite NBA prospect…. Drummond is an excellent defensive player. He’s an aggressive rebounder and shot-blocker who can guard both the 4 and the 5. He also has a high basketball IQ (especially in his passing ability out of the post) and shows an array of skills on the offensive end of the floor.
Teams will take the big man in the middle over a wing player like Barnes almost every time (hence Oden over Durant, Hakeem and Bowie over Jordan). Davis and Drummond are going to be compared a lot to each other this coming season, and don’t be shocked if they go No. 1 and No. 2 next June.