Though the Los Angeles Lakers dealt with a crammed injury report heading into their matchup with the Miami Heat, Andre Drummond returned to action and drew praise from head coach Frank Vogel.
After missing three consecutive games with a toe contusion he suffered in his debut against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Lakers received a firsthand glimpse of what Drummond can bring to the squad.
Drummond logged 27 minutes of playing time, bestowing L.A. with 15 points, 12 rebounds (four on offense, his season average), three assists and two steals while shooting 5-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free-throw stripe.
Vogel commended the big man’s outing and said Drummond still has to familiarize himself with the scheme as he registers more playing time.
“Drummond was great,” Vogel said. “He competed, he does what he does. 15 and 12 in 26 minutes, four offensive boards and a great screener, active hands defensively. Obviously it’s game one, there’s a lot to learn still in our offensive system on both sides of the ball, finding his teammates. Good sort-of first game, technically second game, but first full game.”
Throughout his nine-year career, Drummond has established himself as a center that loves to attempt and score the bulk of his shots in the paint.
Defenses try to key in on that and seek to force the 27-year-old center to pass the ball instead of launching an attempt. Opponents oftentimes send double-teams to Drummond’s way to make someone else score the ball, and against a Heat team that limits the damage crucial players deal, Drummond needed to display crisp passing.
His three dimes on the night indicate a successful rate, as he averages 2.6 assists on the season and just 1.4 in his career. Vogel explained how the Lakers’ staff has helped coach Drummond to make the right reads in any situation.
“When he got here it’s one of the things that we asked of him is to make great decisions in the paint because he’s gonna draw a crowd,” Vogel said. “And in particular this morning, we talked about with the Miami Heat that they swarm the paint as well as any team in the league and his touches, he’s gonna have to go quick or he’s gonna have a crowd and if he has a crowd to throw it out and find a team, find an open man. And he did a good job of that tonight.”
Vogel describes how Lakers will acclimate Drummond, McLemore
Amidst Drummond’s first game back, Ben McLemore, who signed with the Lakers before their contest against the Toronto Raptors, also made his debut versus Miami.
In a season enmeshed with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, practice opportunities have truncated and getting newly acquired players up to speed is more strenuous than before.
Vogel described how the Lakers will acclimate the two new members with sparse time.
“It’s mostly gonna be on film,” Vogel said. “It’s gonna be difficult to get court time between now and really the rest of this trip, so what our coaching staff does a great job of is moving the needle, getting guys more comfortable, understanding what we’re trying to ask of them with the film sessions, and that will be the case here.”
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