In signing Andre Drummond, the Los Angeles Lakers got one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history, if not the greatest. However, they also got one of the worst finishers around the rim in the league today.
Despite his unique combination of size and speed, Drummond has a hard time finishing around the rim with any consistency. Prior to joining the Lakers, Drummond had the worst field goal percentage from the restricted area (51.9%) of anyone in the NBA that attempted at least 200 field goals from there.
Since joining the Lakers, that number has improved to 52.5%, but that’s still the second-worst percentage under those parameters behind Malcolm Brogdon, who’s five inches shorter and around 50 pounds lighter than Drummond. Drummond’s the only player 6’10 or taller shooting less than 60% from the restricted area on at least 200 attempts.
It’s not unrealistic to assume Drummond’s field goal percentage from the restricted area will continue to trend upward, especially when he starting plays alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but that doesn’t change the fact that Drummond’s finishing around the rim has been a problem throughout his career.
Fortunately, it sounds like Drummond recognizes his weakness, as he told Kyle Goon of the OC Register that he and his trainers worked on his finishing around the rim during his time away from the Cleveland Cavaliers:
They also practiced his touch around the rim, knowing that wherever he wound up, it was likely he would get fewer post-ups. While Drummond believes in his post-up game, he knows he can live without it: “I’ve played in the NBA for a long time where I didn’t get touches on the post, and still averaged 16 and 16. So one way or another, I’m gonna figure it out.”
Drummond said he was motivated to work on his game after the Cavaliers told him he wasn’t going to be part of their plans in February. The Cavaliers acquired Drummond for Brandon Knight, John Henson and a 2023 second-round pick at the NBA trade deadline last year:
“When (Cleveland and I) decided for me not to play anymore, I said, ‘All right, well I’m not going to use this time to sulk and be upset about the entire thing,’” he said. “I’m gonna use it to make sure I get myself better and prepared for what’s next to come.’”
Time will tell if Drummond actually got better in that short amount of time, but even if he didn’t, he should get more open looks than he’s ever gotten as the third option to James and Davis, as opposed to the No. 1 option on a team with limited offensive weapons. That alone should be enough to help his finishing trend in the right direction.