CHICAGO Andre Drummond's personality is engaging. He doesn't spout the politically correct lines that many draft picks have been trained to ramble off on cue.
In short, he has some things in common with DeMarcus Cousins.
Two years ago, Cousins was the best center prospect in the NBA draft and fell to the Kings at No. 5.
The Kings again have the fifth pick in the draft, and of all the top prospects, the one who seems most likely to fall to them is Drummond.
If the Kings operate under the best-player-available philosophy, Drummond might be too good to pass up. But does Drummond's potential outweigh the questions?
"He could be a (bust like) Darko (Milicic) or he could be a (star like) Dwight Howard," said Ryan Blake, the senior director of NBA scouting operations. "And that's scary at times."
Drummond's approach to the draft is to prove he's the best player available. He'd like to prove it in a workout against Kentucky's Anthony Davis, the projected top pick, but he doesn't think that will happen.
And he's not going to mince words.
"I'm just a very honest person," Drummond said. "I say what I feel. I keep it real. I don't want to shy away from anything because somehow it's going to come out if you don't tell them. I'm just being who I am. I'm just being Andre Drummond."
Drummond met Thursday with the Kings at the NBA draft combine, who would like to add another frontcourt player while still planning to re-sign power forward Jason Thompson.
Drummond added that during his interview, the Kings told him he would mesh well with Cousins.
"They told me we both could be interchangeable," Drummond said. "We both can do similar things, and if it worked out, we'd have a good chemistry together."
Drummond left the University of Connecticut after his freshman season. He averaged 10 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots.
During that time, the 6-foot-11, 278-pound Drummond developed a reputation for being inconsistent yet foul-prone. His effort was also questioned.
Blake said Drummond is "a true center without true experience," which is why he'd need time to develop. His size, strength and wingspan (7-61/4 and longest at the combine) has scouts believing he can be a dominant defender, shot blocker and rebounder.
Cousins is adept at drawing charges and can be effective going for steals, but he's not a shot blocker. This past season, Cousins averaged 1.17 blocked shots, tied for 26th in the NBA. Thompson averaged .69 blocked shots, ranked 57th.
"I'm going to work my tail off on defense, grab a lot of rebounds, block some shots and put some points on the board," Drummond said. "It's going to be tough. I'm going to be making a big transition from college to the NBA. I'm not saying I'm going to go out there and drop 30 and 15 every game. I'm saying I'm going to go out there and do the best I can."
If the Kings opt for more polished frontcourt options, they could go with North Carolina's John Henson or his teammate, center Tyler Zeller. Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger is another alternative.
None of those players, however, are believed to have the potential of Drummond.
Drummond, as Cousins did two summers ago, believes he is misunderstood entering the draft process.
"Off the court, I'm a very kindhearted person. I look out for other people, a lot," Drummond said. "I've always looked out for other people. On the court, I play with a smile on my face. Sometimes people misunderstand that as not playing hard and (that) I don't take the game seriously, but that's just me. I enjoy the game of basketball."