Los Angeles Lakers’ 101-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets gave LA – still without superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis – a 4-3 record to complete a seven-game road trip, but something was missing in the middle.
Andre Drummond, who came off the buyout market last month, scored just four runs on Tuesday on 2-for-7 shots against the Hornets. This came one night after the 6-10, 279-pound center scored just three points in defeat to the New York Knicks.
“Offensively, this is probably the worst I’ve played in my career,” Drummond said after Tuesday’s game. “I’m still trying to figure it out here. I won’t let it take me out of my game. I know why I’m here, which is to help this team defensively. It’s going to be offensive for me.”
The back-to-back marked the second-fewest points that Drummond has scored in a two-game period in which he has played at least 20 minutes in each game, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information. He scored four runs in a two-game period from November 10 to 12, 2014.
This scoring slowness dropped Drummond’s average to just 10.5 points per game since joining LA. He has a career score of 14.6 points per game in nine seasons and scored 17.5 points per night in 25 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers before being released.
Drummond reasoned that the eventual return of James and Davis will allow him to establish himself in the role he should be playing for the defending champion.
“I think we will find a way for us as a team to make it happen when the guys get back healthy,” he said. “Because you have to think, we play with a different five every night when we step on the field. So you can’t expect to have a lot of chemistry if we don’t know who we’re playing with. And every night. So we hang our hats on the defense and let that project us to victory. “
Lakers coach Frank Vogel agreed, noting that LA is not just missing two players. They are two of the best in the game.
“Well, I think having LeBron out there will contribute and AD, two of the elite playmakers,” said Vogel, referring to the 10.9 combined assists the pair averaged for their injuries this season.
Vogel also cited the Knicks and Hornets’ defensive plans designed to eliminate touch in the paint. LA’s backup center Montrezl Harrell, averaging 14.4 points over the season, was also neutralized in the back-to-back, scoring just six points over the two games.
“The last two nights have been tough challenges,” said Vogel. “We met a really stingy defense that we were playing last night that was supposed to stop us posting by fronting and our bigs not getting post touches and tonight they played the whole match zone, you know what I mean zone? to take away the mail to pack it up and take players like Trezz and Drummond.
“We just have to take what the defense gives us, which is a lot of perimeter shots, a lot of drive and kick situations and it didn’t result in Drum with a high point total.”
Kyle Kuzma offered additional perspective, believing that Drummond is just going through the learning process that comes with joining a title contending team, compared to the teams he played for in the past.
“I mean, it’s just a process, man. It’s not going to happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built overnight, ”Kuzma said. “I think it’s a big adjustment for him. When you think about it, he’s never actually been coached in his career – in Detroit in Cleveland and then coming here to a championship organization, it’s hard. It’s hard.”
Kuzma said Drummond has been a quick study speaking out when he has a question and delving into the challenge.
“It’s a huge difference [between] if you play basketball and win basketball, “said Kuzma.” He’s handled it well and it’s an adjustment period and I think when the two big dogs come back it will be much, much easier for him because it will be much easier. And you’ll see some big impact games from him along the way. “