Andre Drummond won’t be a savior for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he certainly improves the roster.
Despite not having LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup, the Los Angeles Lakers are doing as good of a job as you’d expect to stay afloat in the Western Conference. After losing their first three games without LeBron and AD, the Lakers have won two straight games – wins that could prove to be crucial at the end of the season.
As it currently stands, the Lakers are fourth in the Western Conference, at 30-17, and just 1.5 games ahead of the sixth seed. Every win that the team is able to eke out without their two stars could go a long way in terms of playoff positioning – the short-handed wins also buy more time for their stars.
While it was somewhat curious that the Lakers failed to make a move at the NBA Trade Deadline, they did make a big splash in the buyout market by signing Andre Drummond.
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Drummond became available after the Cleveland Cavaliers couldn’t find a trade partner for him at the deadline. The Lakers had a need in the frontcourt and it became quickly apparent that Drummond would be a good fit. I don’t think that could be questioned.
The Lakers needed a starting center and they got arguably the best one that was available on the open market. However, I don’t think it would be fair to expect Drummond to solve all of the Lakers’ issues in the frontcourt.
The one area where Drummond will help immediately is rebounding, both offensively and defensively. Drummond is one of the better rebounders in the league and while the Lakers aren’t a bad rebounding team, he could help make them one of the best in the league in that department.
The misconception surrounding Drummond is that he will help LA’s rim defense.
Drummond has never been a great defensive box plus/minus player and is pretty average this season, with a rating of 0.2. He’s also 70th in the league in defensive win shares (1.4). In fairness, Drummond did have a 104 defensive rating during his time with the Cavaliers this season, but that number is also his worst of his career thus far.
Drummond leaves much to be desired as a versatile defender and won’t be able to effectively switch on smaller forwards and will struggle against quicker centers. He will be eaten up in the pick-and-roll game and could be forced to the bench in late-game situations.
While there’s no question the Lakers did improve overall and theoretically by the addition of Andre Drummond, I’m still not sold on the idea that he’s going to drastically raise the ceiling for the team this season.
Then again, a team’s ceiling that is already set at winning an NBA title didn’t need raising anyways.