Andre Drummond will make his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers in their game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, Frank Vogel announced after practice on Tuesday. He also confirmed the report from Jovan Buha of The Athletic on Monday that Drummond will start over Marc Gasol, the latter of whom has started more games at center (38) than anyone else on the team this season.
“He’s going to start tomorrow night,” Vogel said. “We’ll keep an eye on his minutes — I don’t know what that’s going to look like — but he does appear to be in very good shape. It’s clear that he worked really hard during this time off, but there is no true simulation like playing in a game.”
Drummond hasn’t played a game of NBA basketball since Feb. 12, but apparently that wasn’t evident in his first team practice with the Lakers.
“He looked great,” Vogel said. “I think our group felt sort of an uptick in energy from having a guy like that come to our team midseason: someone that we know can help us, a good guy that’s going to fit in with our chemistry and everything. And he played really well... Everything we thought we were going to get in him, he showed in practice today. We’re excited to have him out there.”
Drummond was equally excited to get some run in with his teammates for the first time.
“The level of excitement for me is at an all-time high,” Drummond said. “Being off for a month and a couple days is crazy for basketball, and especially for me, never being in this situation. Having the opportunity to play again, I’m blessed and honored and excited to take this opportunity and make the most of it.”
Being brought into a new situation can be tough for a player, especially when they’re brought in during the middle of the season like Drummond was. However, there’s some level of familiarity with the Lakers for Drummond.
For starters, the team’s general manager, Rob Pelinka, was Drummond’s agent for two years. Drummond fired Pelinka in 2014. Additionally, two of Drummond’s former teammates — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris — are with the Lakers, which he said has made his transition to the team easier.
“From the moment I got here, they showed me everything I needed to know, got me all the film I needed to be able to learn their schemes offensively and defensively,” Drummond said. “Being on the same court as them again was an incredible feeling. With Pope, I haven’t played with him in a couple years, and with Markieff, playing with him last year, the chemistry was already there.”
Drummond said he’s hopeful that Caldwell-Pope and Morris have made it known to Vogel that he’s a capable passer, but Vogel said he trusts everyone on the team to make the smart pass. The area that Drummond or his teammates didn’t need to sell Vogel on was his defense.
“He had a million steals in practice,” Vogel said with a chuckle. “Maybe some of them were fouls, but I think we let him get away with a little more than usual. But he has exceptional hands in pick and roll defense and post defense, pressuring bigs that are trying to facilitate from the top of the key, and I think that’s going to be a real strength of what he brings to the table defensively for us.”
Lakers fans will get a chance to see what the team saw at practice on Tuesday when Drummond makes his debut against the Bucks on Wednesday. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. PT, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Notes and Updates
- LeBron James (right high ankle sprain), Anthony Davis (right calf strain) and Jared Dudley (right MCL tear) remain out for the Lakers.