The Los Angeles Lakers made a statement when they signed two-time All-Star Andre Drummond last month. The former Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons center was the biggest prize of the buyout market, drawing the attention of the NBA’s best teams.
Before parting ways with Drummond, Cleveland exiled him to the bench after acquiring Jarrett Allen in the blockbuster James Harden trade. The 27-year-old hadn’t played since mid-February before clocking in 14 minutes in his Lakers debut against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 31, raising questions over his overall fitness.
But according to Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group, Drummond had put in extra work during the layoff to get ready for the next chapter of his career — having high hopes for what would come his way in the coming weeks:
“I know what the main focus is, which is to win a championship,” Drummond said. “So sacrifices will be made, and that’s something I’m comfortable with. I don’t have an issue with giving up certain aspects of my game for the better of the team, or what’s best for the team. And I’m in a great situation right now where I can showcase myself in a different light.”
Goon reported that besides conditioning, Drummond had particularly focused on improving his defense during the private workouts — even before it became clear he would sign with the defensive-minded Lakers. Despite missing out on game minutes, the rebound chaser still wanted to make each day count:
“When (Cleveland and I) decided for me not to play anymore, I said, ‘All right, well I’m not going to use this time to sulk and be upset about the entire thing,’” he said. “‘I’m gonna use it to make sure I get myself better and prepared for what’s next to come.’”
Drummond returned from his toe injury in the Thursday 110-104 loss to the Miami Heat scoring 15 points and adding 12 rebounds.
Drummond thinks adjustment period won’t take long
Drummond showed in his second game as a Laker he could provide a significant boost to the team’s frontcourt. The center offered a taste of the unique blend of size, strength, and mobility that helped him made a name for himself in the NBA — even though he is still adjusting to the new environment.
But Drummond said he doesn’t expect the process to take long, even if LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ return will change things up again. “I’m just it by stride right now,” he said after the loss to Miami. “I’m having fun while I’m out there. Learning a whole lot while I’m out there.
“I’m a smart basketball player. These guys are smart as well, too. I don’t think it’ll take very long for me to get adjusted and really figure out how to get all the engines running.”
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