Over this past weekend, the LA Lakers made the big-splash signing with star big man Andre Drummond. The move created some significant buzz around the franchise after adding another potential key piece to the puzzle. However, all that hype nearly went out the door after Drummond avoided a crushing disaster in his Lakers debut.
Lakers sign Andre Drummond
The Lakers may have stayed pat at the trade deadline, but the front office didn’t hesitate to make a big splash in the buyout market.
LA managed to secure a deal with two-time All-Star big man Andre Drummond after his contract buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Through his first eight seasons, Drummond has proven to be one of the league’s top big men.
He has led the NBA in rebounding four times and holds a league-best 44 games with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds since 2012. According to Statmuse, he has more than those such outings than Anthony Davis (eight), Joel Embiid (6), Karl Anthony Towns (12), Giannis Antetokounmpo (four), Nikola Jokic (four), and Nikola Vucevic (seven) combined.
Drummond is an elite factor on the glass and provides a strong paint presence on both ends of the floor. However, his first game with the Lakers nearly saw things head in a disastrous direction.
Andre Drummond avoided disaster in his first game with the Lakers
Following a few days of much anticipation, Andre Drummond made his Lakers debut on Wednesday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Drummond showed some immediate impact to start the game behind his presence defensively, but his night ended prematurely due to injury. The 27-year-old suffered a toe injury that kept him off the floor for the second half.
Following the loss, Drummond voiced to the media that he lost a toenail after Brook Lopez stepped on his foot in the first quarter. (H/T ESPN)
“In the first quarter when I came Brook [Lopez] had stepped on my foot,” Drummond said. “I didn’t really think anything of it. It was hurting a little bit more. Then after halftime I finally took my sock off and look, and my whole toe nail was gone. It was all bad from there. I couldn’t walk or run from there.”
Drummond also added that he lost a toenail before but never experienced any pain like that. However, the biggest takeaway from the situation is that the x-ray on his toe came back negative. That alone avoids more significant issue that could have sidelined him for a lengthy period.
LA focused on NBA title push
Although Andre Drummond saw his Lakers debut limited by a toe injury, there were some glimpses of his potential impact.
Drummond has much work to do to build on-court chemistry with his teammates, but it’s clear that he can provide adequate rim protection. Following the game, Drummond stated that he was excited by what he brought to the table defensively despite playing in only his first game in nearly six weeks.
“If you saw the first couple of minutes, I was out there the energy I brought out there defensively,” Drummond said. “Just unfortunate that it was a little deflating for me. My head is high, and I am going to come back better than ever.”
The Lakers will need Drummond to be a high-impact defensive factor due to their lack of size in the frontcourt. He has the opportunity to be a key piece in the puzzle to push the team toward an NBA title run.
The final six weeks of the season will provide Drummond plenty of time to fit into the fold ahead of the playoffs.