The Los Angeles Lakers stood pat at the trade deadline, instead opting to make their big addition via the buyout market. With the Lakers’ biggest need clearly being a traditional center, Andre Drummond was the perfect choice.
If head coach Frank Vogel can get Drummond to buy in defensively, there’s no telling what his ceiling is in L.A.
The addition of Drummond does create somewhat of a logjam at the center position though. It means the Lakers now have him, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell listed at the five, with Vogel now being tasked with finding minutes for all three. Drummond will almost certainly be the starter, moving Gasol to the bench unit with Harrell.
When asked how he plans on balancing the minutes of the three centers, Vogel said after Sunday night’s game that all of them will be necessary for the Lakers. “All I can say is we are going to need them all. There’s no doubt in my mind we need all three of them for this playoff push that we’re about to endure. We have a really condensed second half of the season and every playoff series is different.
“I think we saw the flexibility we have as a coaching staff from playoff series to playoff series. Get different guy’s skill sets to match different opponents. I really believe we’re going to need all three of those guys and I expect to use all three of them.”
Odds are, Gasol will take the biggest hit in minutes, dropping from a starter to a bench player. However, Drummond’s addition could trickle down to hurt Markieff Morris as well. Of the three centers on the Lakers roster, Morris’ game clashes the most with Gasol’s.
Once Anthony Davis is back and Morris moves to the bench, Gasol could take some of his minutes depending on the matchup. Given both Gasol and Morris work well with Harrell, it’s unlikely that Harrell sees any significant decreases.
Vogel compares this year’s center rotation to 2020
Having a crowded frontcourt is not something that is new for Vogel as the same was the case last year with JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis.
Vogel believes dealing with that and the way he handled their minutes in the postseason could be similar this year as well.
“From last year, I think everything you do gives you experience for the next situation you encounter, but this is just one of those things that all three of those guys have to recognize how important they are to our team. We intend to use them and we intend to hopefully win a championship with all three of those guys. It’s not much more complicated than that.
“We have to keep everyone sharp getting opportunities and when your number is called for a certain matchup or there’s injuries or whatever, those guys got to stay ready. It’s my job to keep them ready. That’s going to be the plan going forward and we’re going to need all three of them.”
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