NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 28: Andre Drummond (R) of the Connecticut Huskies walks off stage after he was selected number nine overall by the Detroit Pistons during the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft at Prudential Center on June 28, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
When key decision makers from the Golden State Warriors flew across the country to see UConn center Andre Drummond, they were obviously searching for something - maybe anything - that would persuade them that he could be their center-in-waiting behind Andrew Bogut.
But it was obvious when they came back talking about toughness and actively looking for opportunities to trade down that Drummond hadn't done a whole lot to impress them. So although it was by no means a surprise that they passed on the big man with considerable physical tools, you still had to wonder what had occurred to all but erase Drummond from their draft board.
As reported by Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, what it came down in that workout to for Warriors owner Joe Lacob was Drummond reinforcing the fact that he's a great athlete who could develop in 2-3 years but not yet a great basketball player.
I'll just say that he's a very, very impressive athlete. He's not an impressive basketball player today. I think if you'll talk, you'll hear that.
There's a reason he slipped from potentially 2 to 9. All the teams he worked out for. I guess, my estimation, watching him, we saw that. That doesn't mean that those people all made the right decisions. He could wind up being great, right?
How often do you get 7-footers that have his physical abilities? So it's hard to say, nobody really knows for sure. He certainly was tempting. We debated him.
Some of us here will agree with the Warriors' ultimate decision - Drummond was not worth it and Barnes is a player who can step in and contribute right away.
But Lacob also acknowledged that there's a possibility that the Warriors - and the other eight teams that passed on him before the Pistons grabbed him - were just wrong on Drummond. And some of us here probably think that his relatively rare physical abilities made him worth the 2-3 year wait and lament the missed opportunity.
Realistically, unless you're getting a guy like Anthony Davis in the draft, there's always a sort of anxiety-inducing opportunity cost associated with selecting any player in the NBA draft that might lead a fan to monitor what could've been.
And let's be honest: usually without any personal malice, we hope that player our favorite team passed on will fail in his first year just to confirm that we can learn to accept the hand we've been dealt.
Two years ago that was Greg Monroe who the Golden State Warriors passed on in favor of Ekpe Udoh; for me, the one that really stands out in this millennium is passing on Danny Granger in favor of Ike Diogu in the 2005 (sorry - saying that we had Mike Dunleavy just isn't an excuse for passing on a clearly multi-skilled small forward).
I think there's little question that in this coming season a number of us will be keeping an eye on Drummond who the Warriors passed on to take Harrison Barnes with the seventh pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, even if Barnes succeeds.
It's just not often the Warriors have had the opportunity to add a 7-footer that have Drummond's physical abilities.