By Earl Heath
Contributing Sports Writer
The best good news the Lakers have had in weeks is the signing of Andre Drummond. Earlier this week his signing was made official by the team. The team has several players miss games due to a variety of injuries and COVID protocols.
“Andre Drummond gives us a powerful anchor, points, skills on both ends of the court,” general manager Rob Pelinka said in a statement. “We feel extremely fortunate to add a player of his caliber and magnitude to add to our core group at this stage of our journey to defend the NBA title.”
The acquisition come at the right time as the team has lost four of its last six games and appeared to be in a free fall.
The team has won two straight at the day of the signing wit win over Cleveland and Orlando at Staple Center. But there are major challenges ahead facing Milwaukee at home then having a brutal road trip taking on the Clippers the Heat, Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks in the next ten days.
Having Drummond on the roster will be a tremendous asset. He comes averaging 17.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and nearly 3 assists a game. LeBron James and Anthony Davis played a role in recruiting the 6-10 Center has been sidelined by Cleveland since February. His contract was bought out by the Cavs allowing the 27year-old to become a free-agent. It’s a good fix for this season as the Lakers are literally hurting in the worst way.
He’s athletic, mobile and averaged 28 minutes a game before being forced to sit by management.
He can bring back a stronger presence in the middle that’s been missing since the departure of Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee and the injury to Davis. Marc Gasol has had the poorest offensive season of his career averaging 5.3 ppg and just under 3 rebounds a game.
Despite the loosing 4 of 6 game the defense is still is the highest rated in the league. This is where Drummond could help. He’a true rim protect that has a way of making people change their shot.His offensive output is a plus along with his ability to run the floor.
At Staples Center vs. Orlando: This week the Lakers defeated Orlando 96-93. Led by Dennis Schroder 24 points and team high six assists. It helped the team win back-to-back games. Montrezl Harrell had 18 points while he, Kyle Kuzma and Markieff Morris all collected 11 rebounds each. As a team they tallied 52 rebounds as they ran their record to 9-2 when they surpass 50 rebounds.
Kuzma added 21 points and four steals in 39 minutes giving him his 12th double-double of the season. Morris had 12 points to get his first double-double of the season.
At Staples Center vs. Cleveland: Montrezel Harrell ha 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lakers to a 100-86 win over the CAVS. He also had a season high seven rebounds. Schroder had 17 points and seven assists in 32 minutes while Alex Caruso had five points and a season high four steals to lead the Lakers snapping a four game losing streak.
Before the deal was done with Drummond Head Coach Frank Vogal spoke with Gasol and Harrell on the possibility of signing the veteran. “We always make sure we overdo our communications and be respectful to our players so they know where were coming from in every thing we do,” said Vogel on a video conference call. That is the case in this situation and we will keep the conversation private. We are making sure we are over communicating.”
ADD LAKERS: Andre Drummond spoke with Sportsnet and was asked what is it like to be joining LeBron James as a teammate? “Coming into the league at 18 years old and playing against LeBron was an experience,” said Drummond. ” It’s great to be his teammate after all the things he has done for the NBA.
Asked if he’s ready to play. “I’m in the best shape, when time comes to play I am ready to go.”