The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t make any moves at the NBA trade deadline, but the buyout market has already produced a major addition. Center Andre Drummond has agreed to join the team and brings the Lakers a very different look in the middle from their other options.
The two-time All-Star has led the league in rebounding four times and averages nearly 14 per game in his NBA career. Additionally, he gives the Lakers that big, athletic big man they’ve been missing who can protect the rim and is a big threat on the pick-and-roll.
The Lakers players had reportedly been recruiting him to join the Purple and Gold and they are happy to have him on board, as Kyle Kuzma talked about. “We’re excited to add him to the bunch and get him acclimated and get him up to speed with everything we do offensively and defensively,” the Lakers forward said.
“If we can get him to buy in defensively and continue what he does on the boards and just keep it simple, I think it will bode well for us.”
The end goal for the Lakers is to win a second consecutive championship and Kuzma sees how Drummond can make a big difference for this team in the playoffs. “Obviously, I can see if for certain type of matchups,” Kuzma noted. “If we play the [Philadelphia] 76ers, they have a big big. The [Denver] Nuggets have a big big. Portland [Trail Blazers]. Those teams that play big fives.”
Marc Gasol hasn’t been quite what the Lakers hoped, though he has played better in recent outings. More important, however, was the fact that he was the team’s only option against true bigs as Montrezl Harrell is just too small to bang with the league’s true centers such as Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.
Drummond brings size and athleticism to the Lakers with the potential to make a major impact on the defensive end and Kuzma is excited to see the impact he will make. “He can get down the floor, he can run.
“From what I’ve seen being the league so far, not too bad at pick-and-roll. He has really good hands. Steals and deflects. I think he averaging over a steal a game. I think that’s good for us. I’m excited.”
Vogel believes the Lakers will need all three centers
The biggest question in terms of the Lakers’ rotation with the addition of Drummond is how it will impact the team’s other centers in Gasol and Harrell. It seems certain that Drummond will be a starter, but now head coach Frank Vogel has to figure out how best to use Harrell and Gasol off the bench.
For his part, Vogel envisions all three playing a role. “There’s no doubt in my mind we need all three of them for this playoff push that we’re about to endure,” the head coach said. “We have a really condensed second half of the season and every playoff series is different.”
In last year’s playoffs, Vogel continually switched his lineups and rotations depending on the opponent and he sees the same thing happening this time around. “I think we saw the flexibility we have as a coaching staff from playoff series to playoff series,” he noted.
“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.”
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