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Raptors GM Colangelo talks about not drafting Andre Drummond

Nov 16, 2012, 6:39 PM EDT

Andre Drummond AP

How much does raw talent versus personality and concerns about work ethic when drafting someone?

We all are great at looking back at a draft three or five years later and saying “how did we pass on player X” when at the time it’s not that simple. To use an easy example, any GM that tells you now he would have taken Kevin Durant over Greg Oden is lying — that is not what anyone with the power to make a decision inside basketball was saying or thinking at the time.

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo was part of a cross-sport conference of GMs this week at the Prime Time Sports conference and talked about what he looks for in a guy to draft, and he used an example from this past draft. From The Toronto Star (hat tip The Big Lead).

There’s a checklist: talent, physical tools, basketball IQ, how they perform, how we anticipate they’ll perform. Character. Emotional make-up. Marketability. Each component is part of the process. The toughest is what’s inside a player. You can’t see the heart, the emotional aspect of things.

Picking eighth, I passed on somebody I consider a top-five talent in the draft because we felt like he didn’t have the right mental makeup. I passed on someone we thought was a top-three physical specimen because we felt he wasn’t the right fit for our team and didn’t have the right mental makeup.

At No. 8 in the 2012 draft, the Raptors took Terrence Ross from Washington, who can’t get off their bench right now but certainly is an athletic shooting guard with potential.

At No. 9, the Pistons took Andre Drummond out of UConn. When you look down the draft board it’s clear Drummond is who Colangelo is talking about — scouts loved his skills and makeup, the question was whether he would stay focused and mature as an NBA player. Because he didn’t show that in college.

So far this season Drummond has looked pretty good in limited minutes — he’s shooting 67.6 percent, has had some good defensive plays and has a PER of 23.7. He has shown highlight moment flashes, but still is a rookie learning his way (and could use more run, frankly). Nine games into his rookie season is no time to judge Drummond, but you can see what GMs were tempted by.

And that’s the risk — if Drummond, who was very young, pulls it together you let the guy with all the talent get away. But if you pick the guy with the million dollar body and the five-cent head, you can get Kwame Brown. Drafting is more art than science at times, with some luck thrown in.

  1. Justin Halbersma - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:36 PM


    How do you know he is talking about the same person. To me it seems he could almost be talking about 2 separate players. The first phrase seems to describe Royce White (who would have been a top 5 pick had he not had his mental health issues that everyone knew about) and the second seems to more aptly describe Drummond who is a physical specimen but also has questions around his mental toughness.

    • eugenesaxe - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      Nobody spoke of White being a top-5 pick. Almost every draftnik had Drummond top-5, even with the question marks.

      • Justin Halbersma - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        The reason no one talked about White being a top 5 pick was because of his well documented Anxiety Disorder and what that meant in terms of his future in the NBA….Colangelo didn’t say a top-five pick he said “top-five talent”…people thought White had top 5 talent but nobody thought he would go top 5 because of his anxiety (which those doubts have been proven true and real)

        I give you the following:

    • saint1997 - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:39 AM

      I absolutely think you are right. It without a doubt sounds like he was talking about two people and that’s precisely what i thought when i read it

  2. scoregasmic - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    Nah…he was definitely talking about Drummond

  3. chichi78 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:06 PM

    @Justin Halbersma…It is safe to say he is talking about Drummond. Before college, he was projected as a top 2 pick. He made a poor choice going to UConn, who had a lot of “me-first I’m going to the NBA” types and an ailing coach.

    Regardless, Drummond is raw, but he definitely has the potential to be a HOF if he is willing to put in the work. He has great natural instincts, seems coachable, and appears to be a great kid (good support system too). Learning from Monroe how to be a pro will do this kid wonders.

  4. weaselpuppy - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    and this is how teams like the Raps and Warriors stay in the lotto year after year after decade….Enes Kanter / Ekpe Udo…or…Greg Monroe….I mean it goes on and on with a few of these clubs…Todd Fuller…Ike Diogu, Patrick OBryant…

    • siege102 - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:11 AM

      Yeah, because the Pistons are tearing up the league right now with that 1 and 9 record and stellar personnel moves

  5. money2long - Nov 17, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    was the point to find the goofiest drummond snapshot because he doesn’t have “the right mental makeup” ?

  6. furiouslytim - Nov 17, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    At 8th in the draft, considering they took Ross, Raps should have taken a chance on Drummond.

  7. spthegr8 - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Dude he looks like Handi Man from in living color, in that picture. Up Up and AAAAAAAAAAWAY!!!!!!!!! LLS!!!!! Real talk though, Drummond call BALL!!

    • kavika6 - Nov 18, 2012 at 7:13 AM

      You got that right spthegr8. Watch out Damon Wayans.

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