The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal with Andre Drummond, securing his services two days after a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers. The signing was monumentally important for the Lakers for a number of reasons. In the short term, it gives them an extra frontcourt body with Anthony Davis out, in the long term it gives them incredible lineup versatility, assuming Davis returns healthy this season.
For now, expect the 27-year-old Drummond to play significant minutes. While his skills have declined since his All-Star days, he's still a dynamite rebounder and a solid rim protector. In the absence of Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers have fallen to 26th in offensive rebounding leaguewide and are 28th in second-chance points. Drummond ranked seventh in the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage and fourth in second-chance points per game (4.3). While he's not a great post-up option anymore, he's still really good in pick-and-roll situations which should help boost LA's lagging offense.
Drummond won't make a dramatic impact on the LeBron- and AD-less Lakers, but he's a boost to the frontcourt, which is where they desperately needed some punch. If and/or when James and Davis come back, Drummond could have an enormous impact on things.
Davis has long documented his disdain for playing big minutes at center. Which is why the Lakers virtually always started JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard next to him last season. With Marc Gasol struggling this year and likely headed for retirement, Drummond fits better next to Davis than anyone currently on the roster. He gives LA a look it used a lot last season but hasn't been replicated this year.
Now LA can throw multiple options at opponents up front. Davis could play center with Markieff Morris on the perimeter as a true stretch-four -- something that worked well in the NBA's Orlando bubble. They could line Davis up next to Gasol, who is almost purely perimeter-oriented at center. Thus allowing AD to post up on offense but Gasol to take he heavy load of defending a center on the other end. Now with Drummond in-hand, Davis could take on more of a perimeter role and spot up looking for his shot, or drive, while they use Drummond on the block and in pick-and-roll situations. Davis can spread the floor as a shooter and excelled at working one-on-one with the floor cleared.
Finally, Davis could also work in a perimeter role with Montrezl Harrell as the pick-and-roll/post guy. Harrell's athleticism and length allows him to play as lead post player, which would free Davis up to improvise and find his offense.
The amount of looks LA can throw at opposing frontcourts is pretty staggering considering the times. Most importantly though, Drummond only helps the Lakers' stellar defense, which was the key to their title run in 2020. His size and length with help alter shots, while his rebounding ability will shut down second-chance opportunities. Hell, he's led the NBA in rebounding four times, including last season. In fact, this year he averaged 13.5 bounds through 25 games. He can still go get the ball off the glass.
The Lakers got better by adding Drummond on Sunday. He'll help them a ton in the short term but his biggest value is that he gives them lineup flexibility for the postseason.