Andre Drummond may not be a terrifically well-rounded basketball
player, but he is very, very good at one thing: rebounding. He does
not shoot threes, he is not a great free-throw shooter and he does
not block a ton of shots.
So he is not perfect, okay? Who is? (Aside from LeBron, of
Dennis Rodman was not perfect either, but he was a rebounding
specialist whose skill set was incorporated into a Chicago Bulls
team that needed someone to hit the boards like a maniac. That’s
what Rodman did quite well, leading the NBA in that category for
seven consecutive seasons during the 1990s.
And Rodman made it to the Hall of Fame... not bad for a guy
whose first job as a young adult was mopping floors at a
Dallas-Fort Worth airport. Ben Wallace was the same type of player,
a rebounder (and shot-blocker) who did little else statistically,
but was a key cog in a championship puzzle; he was adored in
Detroit. Dwight Howard led the league in rebounding five times, and
DeAndre Jordan did it in consecutive seasons, becoming such a hot
commodity in free agency that he spawned the NBA “Emoji Era” on
Twitter back when the Dallas Mavericks were trying to sign him.
All of this is relevant today because the Cleveland Cavaliers
are now trying to trade Drummond and his
expiring $28.7 million contract. There are people out there who
are bashing him, citing quantitative stats that make perfect sense
to the quants but mean nothing to the folks who judge basketball
players more simply: “Can he help us win a championship?”
Overthinkers are overly abundant in the NBA. Metrics can show
just about anything you want, positive or negative, depending on
how you spin the data you encounter.
Folks, Drummond has led the league in rebounding in four of the
past five seasons. He currently is second in the league at 13.5 per
game. Can’t we just keep it simple and not pick apart things aside
from his particular prowess doing the one thing he does well?
Drummond has warts, but who doesn’t?
Cavs general manager Koby Altman got Drummond last year for
expiring contracts and a future second-round pick. It was a steal.
Now, Altman has the league on notice that Drummond is available.
His job is to get as much as he can for
Drummond before the NBA trade deadline on March 25.
Somebody is going to have to outrebound Nikola Jokic (11.5 per
game) or Rudy Gobert (13.2) in the Western Conference playoffs, and
Joel Embiid (10.8), Julius Randle (11) or Domantas Sabonis/Nikola
Vucevic (both averaging 11.4) in the East playoffs.
Drummond could be that player, and he is clearly on the
He is better than some may lead you to believe, sort of like
Enes Kanter, who is No. 11 in the NBA in rebounding as an emergency
fill-in for Jusuf Nurkic. Kanter is a one-trick pony, too, and his
defensive inefficiencies are well-documented. But he rebounds well,
and where would the Blazers be without him?
So let’s wait and see what Altman can get for Drummond, who ends
up being a rental in Cleveland as many expected he would be when
the Cavs got him. At the end of the day, Drummond is an elite
rebounder. He is 27. He has a lot left.
As Tuesday afternoon arives, the trade market welcomes
Drummond’s arrival. Let the bidding begin.