With Jeremy Lamb set for the NBA, the spotlight now shifts to Andre Drummond.
I spoke to an NBA scout this afternoon and (surprise) he thinks Drummond should return to school. The scout couldn’t envision Drummond — still raw in the skills department — logging more than 20 minutes per game in the league next season.
And over the years, big men who fit that category don’t exactly develop into superstars. Here’s a look at post players drafted in the top 10 who played 20 minutes or less as rookie. In most cases, things don’t usually work out. From Stromile Swift in 2000 to Hasheem Thabeet in 2009, only two — Andrew Bynum and Tyson Chandler — have gone from riding the pine to the big-time.
Most have been complete flops, while others like Tyrus Thomas and Chris Wilcox turned into decent NBA players.
Obviously, Andre Drummond isn’t Andrew Bynum or Chris Wilcox or Kwame Brown or anybody else. He’s his own player, and he has immense upside. And when someone is waving top five money in your face, it must be awfully tough to turn it down.
But, as the list below suggests, maybe some unpolished big guys should have. There have been far more Browns than Bynums.
BIG MEN WHO PLAYED LESS THAN 20 MINUTES PER GAME IN ROOKIE SEASON
*Derrick Favors (3rd overall in 2010): 6.8 points, 5.3 rebounds in 19.7 minutes per game as a rookie…Has started just eight games in his second season.
Hasheem Thabeet (AP)
*Hasheem Thabeet (2nd overall in 2009): 3.1 points, 3.6 rebounds in 13 minutes…Has been traded twice since and hasn’t come close to matching those stats.
*Jordan Hill (9th overall in 2009): Traded to Knicks midway through rookie year, 4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 10.5 minutes with Knicks…Has never averaged more than 5.6 points per game.
*Brandan Wright (8th overall in 2007): 4 points, 2.6 rebounds in 9.9 minutes as rookie…Has been on three teams in the past two years and currently averages 6.7 points per contest for Dallas.
*Tyrus Thomas (4th overall in 2006): 5.2 points, 3.7 rebounds as rookie…Has averaged double-figures in three separate seasons and averages 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks for his career. Hasn’t been a disappointment.
*Shelden Williams (5th overall in 2006): 5.5 points, 5.6 rebounds in 18.7 minutes with Hawks…Has never matched those numbers and has played for seven different teams.
*Patrick O’Bryant (9th overall in 2006): Appeared in just 16 games and played 7.4 minutes as a rookie…His “career” year was in 2008-09 (4.7 points in 11.3 minutes).
*Mouhamed Sene (10th overall in 2006): Played 6 minutes per game as a rookie…And that was a career-high.
*Ike Diogu (9th overall in 2005): 7 points in 14.9 minutes as rookie..Has played for five teams since and has never logged more than 14.2 minutes per game.
Andrew Bynum (AP)
*Andrew Bynum (10th overall in 2005): 1.6 points, 1.5 rebounds as rookie…Has developed into one of the best true centers in the game…Was named a starter for this season’s All-Star game.
*Rafael Araujo (8th overall in 2004): 3.3 points, 3.1 rebounds as rookie…Lasted just two more years in the league.
*Darko Milicic (2nd overall in 2003): No explanation needed here. Everyone knows the Darko story.
*Michael Sweetney (9th overall in 2003): 4.3 points, 3.7 rebounds in 11.8 minutes…Played just three more seasons in NBA.
*Chris Wilcox (8th overall in 2002): Super-athletic forward who bolted after sophomore year at Maryland…Averaged 3.7 points, 2.3 rebounds in his rookie season…Had three solid years with the Seattle Sonics, but has bounced around the league since.
*Nikoloz Tskitishvili (5th overall in 2002): Averaged a career-high 16.3 minutes and 3.9 points in rookie season.
*Kwame Brown (1st overall in 2001): Regarded as one of the biggest busts of the decade…Went to the NBA out of high school and played only 14.3 minutes as a rookie. He improved rapidly in his first three years, but never developed into anything more than an average center (at best).
*Tyson Chandler (2nd overall in 2001): Logged 19.6 minutes per game as a rookie…Never grew into a great offensive threat, but he’s one of the league’s premier rebounders and defensive post players….Played a huge role in Dallas’ NBA title a year ago.
*Eddy Curry (4th overall in 2001): Played 16 minutes per contest as a rookie alongside Chandler…Developed into a big-time low-block scorer in New York…Health issues cut his career short.
*DaSanga Diop (8th overall in 2001): Career year was 2.3 points and 5.1 rebounds for Dallas in 2006-07.
*Stromile Swift (2nd overall in 2000): Six starts as a rookie…Enjoyed a career year in his sophomore campaign (11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks) and never matched those stats again.
*Joel Przybilla (9th overall in 2000): 0.8 points, 2.2 rebounds in rookie season…Averaged a career-high 8.7 rebounds for Portland in 2008-09, but has been inept offensively throughout his career.