Andre Drummond was the Los Angeles Lakers’ prized mid-season acquisition after he was bought out by the Cleveland Cavaliers, but for the most part, has been inconsistent since joining the team.
A toe injury in Drummond’s debut game with the Lakers delayed his chance to get acclimated with the team, and he has since turned in up and down performances while other key players have been cycled in and out of the lineup due to injuries.
Drummond showcased his physicality in the paint in their win against the Brooklyn Nets but has largely struggled to find his groove on both sides of the floor.
However, the center looked more like himself in Los Angeles’ overtime win against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night as he recorded an impressive 16-point, 18-rebound double-double to go along with three assists and two blocks in 36 minutes.
“I finally felt normal for once,” Drummond admitted. “Just kind of finding my rhythm while I’m out there. Doing what I do best. Rebounding the ball, kicking it out for threes and finishing in the paint when I get the ball.
“Like I told you guys before, I’m still trying to get a rhythm. It’s been two months since I’ve played and I’m on a new team trying to figure out a new role. These games or these practice games should give a bigger vision in sight, so these games I’m taking to really figure it out. Find my place and make sure it sticks”
Joining a contending team like the Lakers comes with immense pressure and expectations, and Drummond acknowledged that has played a part in his sub-par showings so far.
“I wouldn’t call it frustration. It’s more just putting pressure on myself because I know what I’m capable of. Everybody knows what I’m capable of and I just haven’t quite shown it yet. It’s been difficult to process that, but I know it’s going to take time. I know these games are really going to help me find a rhythm and that’s what’s starting to happen. Now I’m starting to find myself a little bit more little by little.
“My team is doing a great job of keeping me levelheaded and keeping me encouraged and positive on the court to allow me to play my game the way that I know how to play.”
The big man was pivotal in their victory over the Knicks as he battled on the boards to close out defensive possessions and did a better job of finishing around the rim, shooting 6-of-11 from the field. Defensively, it was arguably his best outing as he was mostly on time with rotations and deterred several shots at the rim.
Head coach Frank Vogel has remained firmly in Drummond’s corner, maintaining that he thinks the center just needs to continue playing in order to find his rhythm. Come playoff time it is likely that Drummond sees his minutes dwindle as Anthony Davis moves more to five spot. But getting him back in a groove would only help the Lakers’ title chances.
Drummond praises Talen Horton-Tucker
Talen Horton-Tucker wound up the hero for the Lakers, nailing two big 3-pointers in the overtime period, including the go-ahead outside shot to hand the team the win.
Drummond was complimentary of Horton-Tucker and even expressed how much he enjoys playing alongside him.
“He knows how to make up plays. I’ll tell you that,” Drummond said. “Coming down and having the big turnover down the stretch of the game. It’s huge in a game and to come back and knock down a big-time three over the same guy that stole the ball from you. It shows the confidence that this kid has despite him being a rookie his confidence is always through the roof.
“The way that he plays, he plays like he’s been in the NBA for years. I love playing with him. He’s an incredible talent.”
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