When Max Kellerman isn't going toe-to-toe with Stephen A. Smith on First Take occupies, he does a lot of other stuff for ESPN. For example, he hosts his own radio show, which doesn't get nearly the coverage that his soundbites on studio shows get. Such is the nature of TV vs. radio in sports media nowadays.
All that is to say that, for the first time I can remember, I watched a segment of Kellerman's radio show today. And he was good! Obviously Kellerman has more to offer than simply being Stephen A.'s foil on the network's most popular debate show; everyone with as high a profile as Kellerman over at ESPN does a little bit of everything in addition to whichever primary duty made them the stars they are today. It was a reminder that the hard-line, bordering on irrational opinions thrown out on shows like First Take are part of the performance. Kellerman's segment below details exactly what impact he believes Andre Drummond will have on the Lakers with measured opinions backed up by solid reasoning, the kind of conversation you have over drinks with your smart basketball friends.
I'm sure the fact that I found this at all noteworthy is perhaps worth some introspection on my part, but we can save that for another day. And none of that is to say I agree entirely with Kellerman that Drummond will average 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers.
I am not at all a fan of what Drummond brings to the table for Los Angeles and not nearly as bullish as Kellerman or fellow TBL opinionator Ryan Phillips. Drummond is an all-time rebounder and that is literally it. He is an average-at-best rim protector, is one of the worst pick-and-roll finishers in the league this season, and his tendency to hijack possessions and sort of just wing it is an issue that has plagued him his entire career.
Now, some of those issues will be addressed by virtue of his new environment. I am sure Drummond's pick-and-roll numbers will be improved by running it with LeBron James instead of Darius Garland or Collin Sexton. When fully healthy, the Lakers would rather bench Drummond than let him go isolation against anybody because they have two of the best isolation scorers in the league alongside him. The big man is saying all the right things about wanting to come in and win and only win and is willing to sacrifice to do it.
But 20 and 15 is optimistic, to say the least. Not the 15 rebounds part. Until Davis comes back full-time, Drummond will be the only big man on the roster who can rebound at all; Marc Gasol is large but can't jump anymore and Montrezl Harrell can jump but isn't very large. Drummond will probably post multiple 10-plus rebounding efforts in the opening games of his Lakers tenure. I just can't see him averaging 20 points.
To this point in the season, Drummond is averaging 17.5 points on 15 shot attempts per game. That shots-per-game number should plummet, even before the Lakers' stars return, because Los Angeles will want to prevent bad habits from forming. Drummond averaged 1.4 field goal attempts on isolations while with Cleveland, a number the Lakers would probably like to see disappear entirely. Drummond's points will come off boards and as the roll man, and the Lakers will have him hone in on those areas from Day 1. It'll mean less chances to score for the big man.
Which is fine. The Lakers need him to rebound. A single great rebounder doesn't make or break a team's chances to win games most nights, but things will be different when it's Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals and the Lakers' opponent can't make a shot and Drummond is there to vacuum up every miss in his general direction. But until then, I would suggest caution as far as how impactful Drummond will be in winning efforts. Even if Kellerman's case is solidly made.