The importance of Andre Drummond for the 76ers now and moving forward
When the off-season first kicked off I remember the exact reactions of many to the Andre Drummond signing. Like it always does, 76ers twitter had a massive overreaction, acting as if the season was doomed because Daryl Morey had signed a backup center. While many members of the Sixers faithful continued to rant across social media, I decided to look further into the signing because nine times out of ten, Morey knows what he is doing. In the case of the Andre Drummond signing, that fact rang true once again in a big way.
Before getting to the impact Andre Drummond has had for the 76ers so far this season, I want to break down this signing and why it was a positive from the jump. To do that, lets compare Drummond to Howard. Right off the bat, the age difference is a huge plus for Drummond. While Drummond may look like he’s been in the league for a decade, which I would argue is due to the fact he was stuck in Detroit and Cleveland for a majority of his career, Andre is only 28 years old. That’s only a year older than Joel Embiid, and seven years younger than Dwight Howard.
To sign a 28-year-old backup center to a veteran minimum contract is already great, but when you look at his accolades and general statistics on top of that, the Andre Drummond signing looks like gold. Keep in mind, Drummond is currently the defending NBA rebound leader of the past four seasons. Yes, despite moving around the league the past season Andre Drummond remains the league’s best rebounder and the 76ers have him off the bench whenever he’s needed. Andre Drummond has also never averaged less than 12 points a game since his rookie season, and has averaged as much as 18 points a season as a starter in his finals years with Detroit.
So, how has Andre Drummond looked with the 76ers so far this season? Well, Drummond has been everything the 76ers could’ve asked for. Currently in the NBA there are five players with 60+ rebounds, 10+ steals, and 5+ blocks, and Drummond is one of them. In fact, Drummond is the only player in that list who comes off the bench and has the lowest amount of minutes of the five players in that category. Drummond is averaging 10 rebounds a game this season, and to put the cherry on top has only missed one free throw of his first nine attempts. What really sets Drummond apart though is how productive he can be when asked to start for the 76ers.
While it has only been one game, Andre Drummond has already impressed when asked to jump into the starting lineup for the Sixers. With Embiid getting rest last night against the Blazers, Drummond showed what really separates himself from Dwight Howard’s time as a backup for the 76ers. Drummond played a total of 34 minutes, which right out the gate are minutes Howard would never have been to log in a single game due to his age. In those 34 minutes, Drummond was simply masterful. Andre ended the night with 14 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, a block, and five steals. All from the center position.
This is where the points I made earlier really come into play. Drummond can be a good plug and play in place of Joel Embiid in the starting lineup in certain matchups, and it really makes this signing pure gold for the 76ers. The Sixers do not win last night’s game without Drummond, and if that was Howard starting like last year, it would’ve been even uglier. Andre Drummond could be a starting center on a few teams in the league currently, and the 76ers have the luxury of using him as one to help rest Embiid in certain matchups. That is why Drummond is so vital to this team now and going forward.
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Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY SPORTS