The Los Angeles Lakers made a splash back in late March by providing a much-needed boost to their frontcourt with the addition of Andre Drummond. Although injuries to the roster delayed his assimilation into the system, it has not taken long for Drummond to notice the differences in playing for such a historic franchise.
Drummond began his career as a building block for a rebuilding Detroit Pistons team as a first-round pick back in 2012. The Pistons made the playoffs just twice during his time there and were swept in the first round each time.
The 27-year-old was eventually traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but his brief stint lasted all but 33 games over the last two seasons. With the playoffs well out of reach for the Cavaliers, they were left with no option but to buy him out after finding no trade suitors.
Drummond’s fortunes quickly turned around after being tasked with taking on an integral role for the defending world champions. Of course, building a winning culture goes beyond success on the basketball court.
It is no secret that the Purple and Gold boast a rich tradition of winning championships. However, Drummond noted that it is their camaraderie off the court that is the biggest difference, via Mirin Fader of The Ringer:
Drummond says the Lakers have a winning culture that goes beyond basketball. He notices how his new teammates always hang out outside of practice, a level of camaraderie he isn’t used to. “They do everything together,” he says. “Going to eat, simple things of being next to each other in the locker room, always communicating.”
Drummond’s comments are indicative of how different things are compared to his previous experiences. While the team chemistry comes as no surprise to Lakers fans after their success in the bubble, it is no something that is common throughout the league.
Drummond will now have an opportunity to experience a deep playoff run now that L.A. secured the seventh seed with their Play-In Tournament victory over the Golden State Warriors. They will be taking on the second-seeded Phoenix Suns in the opening round.
Vogel explains Drummond’s reduced role against Warriors
Despite Drummond being the Lakers’ big addition on the buyout market, he only played 17 minutes in the win over the Warriors and didn’t see the court for the remainder of the game after hitting the bench in the middle of the third quarter.
Frank Vogel explained the reason for this, and it had more to do with Anthony Davis’ effectiveness at center than poor play on Drummond’s part.
“I thought [Andre] Drummond played a great game,” Vogel said. “There wasn’t anything that he wasn’t doing. He was really competing on the defensive end. Tap outs and rebounding the basketball and scoring the ball for us as well, but opening up AD at the five if he’s struggling to go offensively to have that versatility and have that move to go to. Something that worked for us in the playoffs last year and worked for us tonight.”
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