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Andre Drummond to make Lakers debut vs. Bucks

Lakers, Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond will make his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Drummond made the announcement during his Zoom session with the media following his first practice as a Laker. Moments later, head coach Frank Vogel confirmed that Drummond will indeed start.

The Lakers were long considered leading candidates to add the 27-year old center before officially closing the deal on Sunday.

In 25 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the two-time All-Star averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. He hasn’t played since Feb. 12 after he and the Cavs agreed to seek a trade or buyout.

Drummond’s addition to the Lakers will relegate Marc Gasol, who has started in all 38 of his appearances for the team this season. The 15-year veteran has averaged 4.8 PPG and 3.9 RPG with solid defensive metrics, but he’s made just 35.7 of wide-open threes and gets blown-by in pick-and-roll defense. He recently missed three weeks due to a scary fight with COVID-19.

“He’s been a true pro,” Vogel said on Tuesday about Gasol. “We’re gonna need all three of our centers throughout this playoff push, this championship run.”

Drummond has a chance to be one of the best buyout additions in the short-lived history of the tradition. Despite a month off, the Lakers big man says he’s kept himself in peak mental and physical shape.

“He played really well,” Vogel said about his first practice. “He does what he does. Offensive rebounds, runs the floor really well, stole the ball several times…Everything we thought we were going to get from him, he showed in practice today.”

“He had a million steals in one practice,” Vogel said. “He has exceptional hands.”

Vogel said Drummond “was quick to pick up the action” they gave him on Tuesday, and doesn’t expect the acclimation process to take too long. Drummond said his chemistry with former Detroit Pistons teammates Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieef Morris should help, too.

Of course, once LeBron James and Anthony Davis returns, Drummond will have to re-adjust again.

Until then, the center’s ability to score, set screens, defend the rim and generate transition opportunities with his rebounding will be a major boon to the short-handed Lakers.

“The level of excitement for me is at an all-time high,” Drummond said.

His first task? Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez, and the 29-17 Bucks.