The acquisition of James Harden by the Brooklyn Nets was by far the most significant front office move of the season, a move that brought three of the game’s most prolific offensive players to one team. Several weeks later, Andre Drummond was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers and proceeded to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Many thought that the Lakers catapulted themselves to a tier only for them and the Nets by signing the young center, but with the Lakers’ early exit in this year’s playoffs, this no longer seems to be the case.
Drummond will become a free agent this summer, and while it was far from his fault that the Lakers had a disappointing season, it seems like the idea is to bring him back. However, last season exposed many weaknesses to his game, which may impact what Drummond’s perceived value is at the moment. Andre is a talented player and excellent in the locker room, so without a doubt, the Lakers and their fans want him back for next year. One fan took his wishes to another level, taking to Instagram to express what he would like to see more from Drummond by saying, “I wish you could only dominate the paint like #lopez & #ayton… like for real.”
This is, of course, in reference to Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez and Phoenix’s DeAndre Ayton, two centers who are playing exceptional basketball for the two teams playing in the NBA finals. Luckily for this fan, Drummond heard what he was saying and provided his take on the situation.
“Tell y’all coach to play me more and I could”Andre Drummond, Instagram comment
The Lakers were hoping that Drummond could fill in the roles that belonged to Dwight Howard and Javale McGee during their 2020 championship run by running the floor and constantly controlling the boards on both sides of the ball. Andre feels he can be much more than that, and his play with Detroit and Cleveland would support the notion, but just not when he is averaging just under 25 minutes per game. Drummond has not been the only player to take shots at the player rotations of Lakers Coach Frank Vogel.
Fellow big man Montrezl Harrell recently shared an Instagram Story of Trez playing in the Drew League. The post was captioned “Trez finally getting some run in LA,” an obvious slight at the inability of the Lakers to field Harrel off the bench. Going from last year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year to a benchwarmer must not be great, and for the kind of talent that Drummond is, last year was probably not great for him either. Unfortunately for him, this may not be a case of just changing the rotation and giving him more minutes, as there are valid concerns about him being on the floor in several matchups.
Drummond struggles to guard the high pick and roll, which is essentially every team’s first offensive option in today’s NBA. Dwight and Javale were not exceptional at it either, but they were significantly better than Drummond, plus they had a healthy Anthony Davis to cover late rotations and other mishaps on the defensive end. This has been the story for Drummond, a player who was meant to be brought in as a complementary piece to LeBron and AD that never really got to share the floor with the Lakers’ star duo.
Whether or not the Lakers keep Drummond remains a mystery, but I imagine he will have to be more reliable on the defensive end to get more minutes. Improving on one end will lead to more minutes and gains on offense as this means he will be on the floor with LeBron James and Anthony Davis longer, two guys who can create more opportunities just by being there. For Drummond, the improvement will almost have to come instantly as the Lakers are a franchise looking to win now, so I hope he was on his way to the gym when he responded to that fan.
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