Two-time All-Star Andre Drummond has yet to adjust to the new environment after signing with the Los Angeles Lakers last month.
The center averaged 9.2 points and 9.2 rebounds in his first five games for L.A., a major decline compared to his numbers before the Cleveland Cavaliers bought him out. Drummond registered 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 games for Cleveland, although spending 28.9 minutes per night on the floor, about six more than with the Lakers so far.
The 27-year-old beat himself up for his offensive contribution after ending the 101-93 victory over the Charlotte Hornets with just four points.
“Offensively, it’s probably the worst I’ve played in my career,” Drummond laughed on Tuesday. He had scored three points the day before in a loss to the New York Knicks.
But Kyle Kuzma came to Drummond’s defense. “It’s a process. It’s not going to happen overnight,” he said. “I think for him it’s a big adjustment. If you think about it, he’s never really been coached in his career. Going from Detroit and Cleveland and coming here to a championship organization, it’s tough and I think that for him he’s doing a great job of learning and asking questions and soaking everything in.”
Kuzma added that playing for a mid-table side differs significantly from competing for the title on a championship team. “I learned it firsthand last year,” he said. “It’s a huge difference when you are playing basketball and winning basketball and that’s the adjustment he’s trying to make right now. Figure it out with new teammates, new offensive and defensive schemes and trying to play the right way.
“He’s handled it well and it’s an adjustment period.”
Kuzma also thinks the return of Anthony Davis and LeBron James will play a factor in unleashing Drummond’s full potential.
“I think when the two big dogs get back it’s going to be much easier for him because it’s going to be a lot more simplified,” he said. “You’ll see some big impact games from him down the road.”
Kuzma: Lakers going to be ‘scary’ when James & Davis return
The Lakers slipped into fifth in the Western Conference in recent weeks, particularly due to the lack of firepower on offense playing without James and Davis.
But Kuzma predicts the Lakers will be dangerous when the two All-Stars are back. “Someone that just erases mistakes with AD out there and for us to continue to do that without having those guys out there, it’s going to be scary for people when those guys get back,” he said.
“That’s giving us confidence and I think offensively we’ve really been subpar, honestly. But we’re just trying to make strides on that end and just trying to weather the storm.”
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