The Los Angeles Lakers’ 101-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets gave L.A. — still without superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis — a 4-3 record to complete a seven-game road trip, but something was lacking in the middle.
Andre Drummond, signed from the buyout market last month, scored only four points on 2-for-7 shooting against the Hornets on Tuesday. This coming a night after the 6-10, 279-pound center scored only 3 points in a reduction to the New York Knicks.
“Offensively, maybe this is the worst I have played in my career,” Drummond said after Tuesday’s match at Spectrum Center in Charlotte. “I am still trying to find out it here. I am not allowing it to take me from my game. I know why I’m here, and that’s to help this team defensively. Offensively, it will come for me”
The back-to-back indicated the second-fewest points Drummond has scored in a two-game span where he has played 20 minutes in each match, based on ESPN Stats & Information research. He scored four points at a two-game span in November 2014.
This scoring slouch dipped Drummond’s average to only 10.5 points per game since joining L.A.. He has a career mark of 14.6 points per game in nine seasons and set up 17.5 points per game in 25 appearances with all the Cleveland Cavaliers before being published.
Drummond reasoned that James’ and Davis’ eventual returns will let him settle in the role he’s intended to play for the winners.
“I think for us as a team, we’re going to locate a way to have it done when guys come back healthy,” he said. “Since you got to think, we’re playing a different five each night when we’re stepping on the court. That means you can not expect us to have a lot of chemistry when we do not know who we are playing with each and every night. So we are hanging our hat on defense and allowing that to project us into a triumph.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel agreed, noting that it is not just any two players L.A. is currently missing. They’re two of the finest in the game.
Vogel also mentioned the defensive schemes of the Knicks and Hornets, designed to remove touches in the paint. L.A.’s backup centre Montrezl Harrell, averaging 14.4 points over the season, was also neutralized from the back-to-back, scoring just six points over the two games.
“The last two nights are difficult challenges,” Vogel said. “We met a really stingy defense we played last night which was intent to not let’s post up by fronting and not letting our bigs get any article touches, and tonight they played the entire game, you understand exactly what I mean? You perform zone to take away the post to package it in and take away players such as Trezz and Drummond.
“We just have to take what the defense gives us, which was lots of perimeter shots, a great deal of drive-and-kick scenarios, and it didn’t lead to Drum having a higher point ”
Kyle Kuzma offered additional perspective, presuming that Drummond is only going through the learning process that comes with linking a title-contending group, compared to the teams he played for in the past.
“I mean, it’s just a procedure, guy. It’s not likely to happen overnight. Rome was not built overnight,” Kuzma said. “I think for him, it’s a major adjustment. When you think about it, he is kind of never really been educated in his profession — in Detroit, in Cleveland and then coming here to a championship business, it’s tough. It is hard.”
Kuzma said Drummond has been a quick study by talking up when he’s a question and immersing himself in the challenge.
“It’s a enormous gap [between] if you’re playing basketball and winning basketball,” Kuzma said. “He’s handled it well, and it is an adjustment period, and I think once the two big dogs return, it is going to be much easier for him because it is going to be a lot more simplified. And you’re going to see some big impact games down the street.”