Andre Drummond held his first press conference as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday afternoon.
Drummond will provide an energy boost to the Lakers, who need a boost after the outages of LeBron James (ankle sprain) and Anthony Davis (calf strain).
Predictably, the 27-year-old center – who averages 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 games – has already said all the right things from the Lakers’ perspective. Here are five impressions from the Stellar Zoom dual launch event.
1) He’s ready for the Lakers.
Drummond has been doing that since the 12th. February did not play after his representatives and the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to part ways. He’s got Basketball Jones.
It’s been almost a month and over 10 days since I played, so you can imagine how hungry and excited I am to play and be on the field, he said. This experience was a crazy time for me. But it’s definitely a blessing for me to focus on myself and prepare for the next opportunity.
I used this time to get myself in the best shape possible. I lost about 10 pounds. I can play now.
Drummond said if he’s in the starting lineup Wednesday for the Lakers against the Milwaukee Bucks, we’ll have to discuss it. Tuesday will be his first official workout as a Laker. I expect him to come out of the gate with a lot of power.
As for his dismissal, the Lakers’ first spokesman asked Drummond about Draymond Green’s comments calling for a double standard in play in situations like Drummond and Cleveland.
The fact that Draymond would do that for me – my friend, I’ve known Draymond for years – the fact that he would do that and talk about it was really cool of him, and I was really honored that the guys supported me to be happy.
FOR INFO : Drummond had no say in the Cavs’ organization on Monday.
2) It is focused on the present.
Not surprisingly, Drummond avoided questions about his future with the Lakers.
For me, right now, it’s about wearing a Lakers jersey. When it comes time to make the next decision, we will cross that bridge. But right now, my main goal is to have this team win as many games as possible.
Drummond accepted less money for a chance at the Finals for Free Agency. He signed with the Lakers for $794,536, which is the exact amount he brought to Cleveland after they bought out the rest of his $28 million salary for 2020-21.
Andre Drummond has a message for members of the Lakers family pic.twitter.com/qLblIuRUm3
– Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 29, 2021
3) He does not try to steal another’s shine.
The addition of Drummond brings up center Marc Gasol, who has started all of his 37 games with the Lakers (Gasol declined to speak to the media on Sunday).
Montrezl Harrell played himself into the NBA Sixth Man of the Year discussion, but his 25.3 minutes per game will be a lot less with the Lakers. Markieff Morris (who is playing his best basketball right now) will also be used less.
They’re all proud veterans, and Lakers coach Frank Vogel will have to distribute the minutes delicately, depending on the game and the mood.
Drummond, on the other hand, is not there to cause friction.
Yes, we discussed it, Drummond said of his place in the rotation. I know what it is, he knows what it is, the team knows what it is. I’m just here to help in any way I can, I’m not here to steal anyone’s thunder. I’m just here to help this team win as many games as possible.
4) He understands his role.
Years spent as a low-skilled offensive coordinator for lottery teams eroded Drummond’s shot selection and efficiency numbers. With James and Davis returning to the Lakers, Drummond will be challenged as a highly skilled role player for the first time in his 10-year career.
I’m just here to help in any way I can, he said. I think playing with these guys can really help my game. Let them play their game and let a third man wreak havoc in the paint.
The two side stars and Bird allegedly poked Drummond in the eye as he shouted with James and Davies. He will be the fourth or fifth option for the Lakers on some nights, and his main offensive duties will be hard tackling, diving and receiving lobs.
In the meantime, Drummond’s old habits may come in handy, as the Lakers need someone who can put the ball in the basket.
Eventually, his real impact could lead to a defender position. The 6’7 player has proven to be an above average rim protector when used, and he seems motivated to own the paint with the Lakers.
I personally think I can have a direct impact on this team’s defense. I talked to the coach today that my defensive play will help the team a lot. With my quick feet, quick hands, ability to recover and play at 1-5. I think our defense is going to be really awesome when these guys come back, and I’m looking forward to it.
He specifically pointed out the burden he can take from Davis if they share the floor.
I think coming here, AD can move up to the 4 and play my real position without all the bumps and bruises I had at the 5, he said. I can’t wait to sit in the same chair as him.
(In the Lakers’ crucial playoff minutes, Davis will be cut to five and Drummond, historically a poor free throw shooter, will sit).
Additionally, the Lakers are one of the best rebounding teams in basketball when healthy, especially when James and Kyle Kuzma are aggressive on the glass. But since Davis was injured, the Lakers have fallen out of the top 10 in both defensive and offensive rebounds.
He’s a rebounding machine, Morris said. But he scored more points than people think. He reads the terrain well. He does a lot on defense and offense.
One of the keys for the Lakers is to steal a few games and keep the front six from making easy baskets – and they don’t make open three-pointers. It is necessary to convert turnovers and missed opportunities into transition opportunities. Drummond will help us in this area.
At full strength, it may be nearly impossible to make the Lakers’ roster.
I now have someone to fight with on the boards, Kuzma said Sunday. So I think that’s something that really stands out. Especially if we get the AD back. Me, him, Drummond and Bron fighting for the boards will be tough. It will be difficult for the other teams.
5) Drummond ready to win
Coming here is about making sacrifices and doing what’s best for the team because we’re trying to win a championship here, Kuzma said.
Clearly, Drummond is eager to internalize that culture with the Lakers and make a real impact in a serious playoff run. Drummond’s teams have only qualified for the postseason twice in his career. He has eight playoff games to his name and hasn’t played in a basketball game of significance since 2019.
For me, that’s what I’ve always wanted: to experience the playoffs, but not that kind of success, he said.
I’m not here to do anything but win.
Get back to work.
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