Grading Andre Drummond’s 2019-20 play with the Cavs thus far

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond reacts in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond reacts in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff high-fives Cleveland center Andre Drummond. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Taking a look at Drummond’s defensive play

Drummond has been active on the defensive as an interior rotator, and in the paint, he’s done a nice job, which was what the Cavs were expecting.

Thus far with the Wine and Gold, against more traditional 5’s, Drummond’s 6-foot-10, 279-pound frame has held up, and he clearly is a player that is able to wall up in the post against more physical interior players.

In the team sense, Drummond, who has actually led the league in steals to this point, has led Cleveland in his games active in steals per outing with 1.5 steals per contest, per Drummond has shown the requisite recognition skills needed to routinely get his hands in passing lanes, and his rim protection has been a positive, too, as he’s had 1.4 blocks per game, which has led Cleveland on a per-game basis, too.

The issue often with Dre, though, is that he’s not a player that’s all that capable of switching out in pick-and-roll on to perimeter players, and against quicker 5’s, he has had problems.

While I again acknowledge that’s been banged up for much of his time with the Cavs and is in a new situation with few competent perimeter defenders on-ball, Drummond having a team-worst defensive rating of 120.0 to this point is anything but stellar.

Grading Drummond’s defensive play thus far with Cleveland in 2019-20: B

Drummond is a particularly alert defender in the team sense, and though it’s not great that he’s not too switchable on to perimeter players in ball screen coverage, his rotating instincts and ability to shut off cutters has been good to see.

Going forward, however, unless Garland and/or Cedi Osman get significantly better on-ball on the perimeter, I’m not sure how viable a Drummond-Love pairing can be with neither being realistically switchable.

I do have to give Dre credit for continually being an elite glass cleaner and being a formidable rim protector, though, and he again is pretty new with the Cavaliers.