Assuming he’s back, look for Cavs to go to Andre Drummond early on

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) /

Look for the Cleveland Cavaliers to go to Andre Drummond early on in games next season, assuming he’s back.

It seems almost certain that Andre Drummond will be back with the Cleveland Cavaliers next season. Drummond is reportedly likely to pick up his $28.8 million player option, and for his sake, that’d be a no-brainer move.

Now, it is uncertain if Drummond can be a long term fit with the Cavs, though. As a traditional center that is a non-shooter, let alone three-point shooter, Drummond is not a player that teams seem to place really high value on in today’s NBA.

With that said, Drummond could still be a highly productive player for the Cavaliers, assuming he’s back with the club next season.

Drummond, a trade deadline acquisition, was not all that comfortable yet in his adjustment with the Cavs before the 2019-20 season was suspended due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but he was starting to find his footing. He played only eight games for Cleveland post-deadline, and did provide a nice interior presence on the low block/as a roller.

In those appearances, Drummond had 17.5 points per game, and ultimately with the Cavs’ season concluded, secured himself averaging a career-best 17.7 points per outing last season. Most of his year was played with the Detroit Pistons, for context, who eventually dealt him to Cleveland.

Anyway, so looking at next season, assuming Drummond is back, I’d expect him to still be an interior force for Cleveland, and one of their key sources of offense in the early portion of games.

Going to Drummond early should help open up other options for the Cleveland Cavaliers throughout games.

To help open up other options and/or more perimeter looks, I could very well see the Cavaliers go to Drummond inside a bunch in the beginning portion of games.

Though Drummond is not a good foul shooter, him feasibly drawing fouls on opposing 5’s/rim protectors early on in games would help Cleveland’s drivers such as Collin Sexton and Kevin Porter Jr. as games progress. Coincided with that, opposing bigs might be less aggressive in their contests.

Furthermore, with opponents doubling down more/committing more attention to Drummond inside, if he can hit open shooters such as Kevin Love, Cedi Osman and others, such as Dylan Windler (who can hopefully be healthy), the Cavs should have more quality perimeter looks throughout games.

Granted, Dre does need to clean up his turnovers, as he did have a career-high 3.6 turnovers per outing last season, but I believe he can do so with him more experience/as he gets more used to playing with the Cavs.

More from King James Gospel

If he can make those kickouts after doubles/stunts, that could get the perimeter threats going, and later in games, an elite offensive rebounder in Drummond that led the league in that category leading into the hiatus, per Basketball Reference, could bring quite an impact in that realm.

Frankly, in closing stretches of games, though, I expect KPJ to have a leading on-ball role often for the Cavs, and we know Cleveland’s 2019-20 leading scorer in Collin Sexton, along with Love, will always be reliable options.

In regards to Drummond down the road, though, I can’t gloss over that assuming he’s back via opting in, he could be a valuable expiring trade piece for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As such, the Cavs could potentially target a future replacement in the 2020 NBA Draft in USC’s Onyeka Okongwu, for instance, but there is a possibility that Drummond does prove to fit in well, given his improved post game/touch.

With his interior defensive presence, perhaps he could fit more so going forward, with his rim protection, if Cleveland adds more competent wing defenders around him.

Regardless, with how Drummond could carve out space throughout games by drawing fouls/getting easy buckets near the basket early in games for Cleveland, that could again very well open up the outside for the Cavs. That’d enable key bench pieces such as Windler to establish themselves more from outside.

Going to Drummond early could ease the offensive burden on Love as well, in terms of more so the starters, too, and keep Love more fresh to be a key offensive hub in the middle stretches. Nance often does so in that way, too, though both have done so regularly in the secondary playmaking sense.

Needless to say, with him likely back, expect the Cavs to go to Drummond a bunch in the early portion of games to soften up opposing defenses.

Cleveland Cavaliers: 10 greatest centers in franchise history. dark. Next

Maybe with him contributing in ways such as that, albeit coupled with him needing to mesh with other pieces, Drummond could be a long term fit after all. We’ll have to see in regards to that, however.