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“We’re all thrilled that Andre Drummond, a player of his caliber, joined our team,” Vogel told reporters after Sunday’s 96-93 win over the Orlando Magic. “He’s one of the best centers in the league, someone that every defensive coordinator is going to have to account for and figure out how to handle him while they’re trying slow down AD, LeBron and our guards.
“I think he’s going to give us a big lift in the immediate future and when we get going. He’s just one of those guys that can dominate the game on both sides of the ball and his physicality [is] something you have to account for.”
Drummond officially agreed to sign with the Lakers on Sunday after clearing waivers following a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 27-year-old big man sat out more than a month while the Cavs attempted to find a trade partner.
It’s expected that Drummond will replace Marc Gasol as the Lakers’ starting center. Gasol has looked past his prime since signing with the Lakers this offseason, averaging 4.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 38 games. He recently missed nearly a month of action after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Drummond will allow the Lakers to return to their bully-ball style they used successfully with JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard playing center in the 2020 playoffs. Whereas Gasol is mostly a floor spacer on offense and uses his basketball IQ to avoid being a negative on defense, Drummond is a good athlete who hawks rebounds and can catch lobs in the dunker spot.
Assuming Drummond is willing to forgo the inefficient post-ups that have been regular fixtures in his career, he’ll be a quality signing who could put the Lakers over the top in their title defense. Their more glaring immediate concern will be the recovery of Anthony Davis (Achilles) and LeBron James (ankle) from injuries.