The Golden State Warriors present a very unique challenge to most teams as they tend to play a small lineup much of the time with Kevon Looney being their only player with true size. The Los Angeles Lakers are the opposite with Frank Vogel employing the Anthony Davis-Andre Drummond frontcourt to start games.
Vogel has always been willing to make adjustments though and he did so eventually in this game as well, choosing to go with the smaller lineup of Anthony Davis at the center position for a majority of the second half.
Drummond played just 17 minutes, but the matchup was not a good one for him and Davis noted that after the game
“Yeah for sure, Drumm was dominant tonight in the minutes that he played,” Davis said after the Lakers’ 103-100 victory. “They’re just a special group, they played Draymond a lot at the five with four guards and so it kind of put us in a little disadvantage on the defensive end. Drumm is not used to making those rotations and things like that so we just made an adjustment.”
Drummond was solid in his minutes on the floor, hitting 2-of-3 shots while grabbing seven rebounds and adding a pair of extremely impressive blocks. This game wasn’t about Drummond playing badly, so much as it was a team that would force him to do things he isn’t capable of doing.
And despite seeing just a handful of minutes in the second half, Drummond had no issues being on the bench. “The good thing about our team, everyone knows their role,” Davis added. “If we make an adjustment mid-game where we go small and I’m at the five, no one is complaining, no one is upset because at the end of the day it’s all about winning.
“So he understood that. He understood no problem, he was up on the bench cheering for us and helping us out from what was his perspective on the floor and we were able to get the win. Locker room was great so we got a great group of guys to kind of understand that. Same way as last year. So it might be other games where we do the same thing, it might be games where we go big with Drumm at the five and I’m at the four, so it’s all about matchups and tonight was one of those nights.”
Head coach Frank Vogel echoed those same sentiments on Drummond. “I thought [Andre] Drummond played a great game. 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,” Vogel noted.
“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.”
Versatility is important in this league and the Lakers have that ability. There will be matchups that are better suited for Drummond and Marc Gasol, and there are others where Davis at center is the best option. It will be on Vogel to figure out how to best navigate that, but the team is all on one page in supporting each other in order to get the win.
Lakers’ chemistry stood out immediately to Andre Drummond
The chemistry on the court is still a work in progress for the Lakers, but the bond and camaraderie between the players remain from last season and that is something that Drummond noticed immediately when he joined the team.
Drummond noted in a recent interview that the relationships between the players is something he had never experienced before, even with something as simple as going out to eat together.
It is this chemistry that allows everyone to stay engaged on the bench, even when they aren’t playing as much as they want, and Drummond fits right into that.
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