NBA Draft: The gambles

NBA Draft: The gambles
May 21, 2012, 3:09 pm

However, those temperamental NBA Draft lottery ping pong balls align themselves on May 30, the Wizards' options appear rather clear: the shot blocking Anthony Davis first and foremost followed by in some order the rebounding Thomas Robinson, the outside shooting Bradley Beal or the aggressive natured Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.That's a short list of four. The Wizards could land the fifth selection. Should that take place, this is where the prognostications get a little tricky.Not with the Wizards on the brain, but Sam Amick from SI.com slotted prospects into three categories: winning the jackpot (the quartet above), the safe options (think Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller) and the gambles. The realistic names to ponder have a Nutmeg state kind of vibe. That's Connecticut for all of you non-state motto buff folks out there.

Andre Drummond, the powerful 6-foot-10, 270 lbs freshman center is the epitome of risk. Size matters, but so does skill and instincts and not sure anyone can say in this case that the hefty former outweighs the training wheels latter. You don't need, as Amick has done, to quote an anonymous NBA front office to say about Drummond, "he's a project."His silky wing guard teammate Jeremy Lamb fits a greater need for the locals. However,for observers who turned hot for the 6-foot-5 guard's perimeter game following a stellar national championship run with the Huskies,Lamb's sophomore campaign left them a bit cold.Read the two profiles, stay for my final thoughts below...Andre Drummond, Connecticut, freshman center (6-foot-10, 270 pounds): While Kentucky power forward and consensus No. 1 pick Anthony Davis was the headliner of the "Jackpot" bunch, Drummond has that label in this group. His talent and size are worthy of Jackpot status, but the best center in the bunch lands here after being the poster boy for the Huskies' disappointing defense of their 2011 national title.Drummond's unexpected decision last August to attend UConn was seen as the sort of recruiting coup that could keep the Huskies near the top of college basketball despite the loss of star guard Kemba Walker to the NBA. Scout.com made Drummond the No. 2 recruit in the country as a senior at St. Thomas More High School in Oakdale, Conn., where he won a national prep title.But the mix never worked, even as UConn returned a fellow pro prospect and a breakout player in its championship run, shooting guard Jeremy Lamb (more on him later). The Huskies were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament by Iowa State, finishing 20-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big East. Drummond had just two points and three rebounds in 26 minutes in that game, capping a season in which he averaged only 10 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 28.4 minutes while shooting 53.8 percent from the field and an embarrassing 29.5 percent from the free-throw line. "He's a project," one front-office man said.Still, he's about as promising a project as there is in this draft. The combination of his size and elite athleticism has teams wondering if he could become a hybrid of the Lakers' Andrew Bynum and the Magic's Dwight Howard. Like both players, he is a force on defense at a young age but has a long way to go offensively.Drummond can run the floor like a guard, he's a natural passer and he can step out for mid-range jumpers. But the inconsistency and his penchant for playing while in third gear have raised concerns. His playing time was inconsistent as well, though, with six games of fewer than 20 minutes, and his ability to be a dependable rebounder when he played big minutes could be revealing. Attacking the glass is often an indicator of a player's motor, and Drummond averaged 9.6 rebounds in his 16 games of 30-plus minutes.Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut, sophomore shooting guard (6-5, 185): As is the case with Drummond, there's some guilt by association here when it comes to the Huskies and their weak title defense. Lamb's skill set, shot, athleticism and smooth scoring are still enough to ensure that he doesn't slide too far in the first round, but he didn't progress the way that many expected after Walker's departure. Four of his 10 games with at least 20 points last season came in the first five contests, and he averaged 17.7 points overall while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 33.6 percent on three-pointers. Lamb's very skinny frame is an issue, too.Can't imagine anyone talking me into Wizards drafting the general manager kiling Drummond- and that goes triple should any of those jackpot-y types still be on the board. Plus the Wizards have young bigs plus Nene andneed shooters. Then again, if you're taking a risk, go big over small, so they say.If another high lottery team has that mindset and drafts Drummond ahead of the Wizards, best case scenario. If the Wizards drop to five and it's a choice between him, Lamb or one of other "safe" or "gamble" types, conjuring up a trade for a veteran could bethe better Plan B.