The Los Angeles Lakers shifted from their physical and athletic frontcourt profile to a more skillful one when they signed Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrel. In order to give them a force in the painted area, the Lakers successfully signed Andre Drummond after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Drummond played 21 games with the Purple and Gold, averaging 11.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 blocks in a shade under 25 minutes a game. Drummond’s ability to run the floor and control the glass was a welcomed addition to Los Angeles’ roster, but unfortunately, he had various factors working against him that led to him falling short of expectations.
Drummond’s tenure with the Lakers got off to a rough start as he injured his big toe in his debut against the Milwaukee Bucks, forcing him to miss time. The big man eventually got healthy and showed flashes of how he can dominate the interior but did not get many opportunities to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the superstar duo was also sidelined. Even when James and Davis did return, Drummond struggled to keep up with teams defensively, and his effort seemed to wax and wane on a nightly basis.
Head coach Frank Vogel tried to acclimate Drummond as quickly as possible by immediately slotting him into the starting lineup, but in L.A.’s first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, he was eventually benched in the deciding Game 6. The Drummond recently seemed to take a shot at Vogel regarding his minutes usage, which could mean he might bolt in free agency.
With the Lakers shorthanded against a hot Brooklyn Nets team, Drummond stepped up to lead them to an improbable win on the road. In just 22 minutes, Drummond scored 20 points and pulled down 11 boards, controlling the paint area and bullying the smaller Brooklyn bigs.
The 27-year-old’s best play from that night came when he was able to finish a tough and-1 over LaMarcus Aldridge. Drummond signaled that Aldridge was too small to guard him, much to the delight of Lakers fans and the bench.
Even though Drummond has expressed a desire to return to Los Angeles, there have been some indications that he may be on the way out. Also, despite his shortcomings as an offensive hub and floor spacer, the center will likely command more money than what the Lakers can offer. The organization has maintained that they view Drummond as a long-term piece, but it is hard to imagine a deal getting done unless he agrees to a discount.