Cavs: Hitting cutters could be key for Andre Drummond operating out of low post

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) /

Andre Drummond will likely be the primary low post player for the Cleveland Cavaliers next season.

Andre Drummond previously made it clear that he fully intends to pick up his $28.8 million player option for next season, so he’ll all but certainly be with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Also, Forbes‘ Evan Dammarell reported that Drummond and the Cavs have been “exploring a possible long term extension,” albeit Dammarell did then note that it is seemingly anything but a set-in-stone deal.

That’s due to Drummond only having an eight-game sample size with the Cavs, and with Drummond being a non-shooter outside of pretty close to the basket and not being very switchable defensively, it’s unclear if he’ll end up being a long term piece. Perhaps he can be, though?

Granted, as Dammarell alluded to, if Cleveland drafts a big such as James Wiseman, who briefly played at Memphis, and of which he hit on, or a player I’m more of a fan of in USC’s Onyeka Okongwu, a Drummond extension wouldn’t be a logical move at all.

We’ll have to see what plays out feasibly with Drummond on the floor with pieces such as Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, Kevin Love and Kevin Porter Jr. more, either way. On the positive side of things, Drummond has made significant strides in the past few years as a low post player, and has good footwork down there and can get to his spots for quality interior looks due to his strength and hard rolling.

He is a legitimate lob threat, too, and Drummond is coming off a 2019-20 campaign in which he averaged a career-best 17.7 points per game. Plus, it’s clear that Drummond, who has led the NBA in rebounding four times in eight seasons, including this now-past one from the Cavs’ perspective, is arguably the league’s best glass cleaner.

Along with that, Drummond, even while not being very switchable, is a really heady team defender that makes plays in passing lanes. He was second in the league going into the novel coronavirus-induced hiatus and what would be the end of 2019-20 for Cleveland, in relation to total steals, in the league.

His 6-foot-10 frame and 7-foot-6 wingspan has led to him averaging 1.6 blocks per outing in his career as well, most of which was with the Detroit Pistons, who dealt Drummond to Cleveland near the 2020 trade deadline.

When it comes to Drummond for next season, it would seem at least, for the Cavs, though, I still see plenty of his value as coming from him the Cavs’ primary low-post presence. Kevin Love off-ball screening, which could be a nice addition to counter Drummond off-ball screens for him, more so on the perimeter, could help generate favorable matchups for Dre on the inside, too.

Drummond again can muscle his way into getting position often, anyhow, and even while he’s again not a shooting threat from the mid-range or the perimeter, really, Drummond is still a nice option to have as an interior option to go to.

Drummond, though his free throw shooting is absolutely not a strength, still could help open driving lanes for Sexton, KPJ and others throughout games by potentially getting opposing 5’s/shot blockers in foul trouble by his damage on the low block. He should be able to find those pieces/others as cutters at times, too.

In addition to the scoring/foul accumulation sense, Drummond hitting cutters operating out of the low post could be key for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Drummond, admittedly, turns it over, and is coming off averaging a career-high 3.6 giveaways per game.

On the plus side, he has shown he is capable of hitting shooters when doubles come to him, and at times, he has shown the ability to hit cutters when he’s been delivered a pocket passer via rolls.

Sometimes, he can hit cutters when operating out of the low post as well.

I’d imagine that with more time alongside Love, Sexton and company, Drummond could be able to trim down his giveaways some, though, but be able to hit Cleveland Cavaliers players such as again, Sexton, who showed improvement as a cutter as 2019-20 progressed, or Cedi Osman, for example.

Now, am I suggesting that we’re going to see Drummond in a secondary playmaking role nearly as much as he was throughout 2017-18 with Detroit, when he had a career-best 3.0 assists per game and looked more promising in that realm?

Nylon Calculus’ Ian Levy previously highlighted that, but frankly, that’s a role that will suit Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. more, and both more near the high post/perimeter, whereas pre-Blake Griffin trade, as Levy hit on, Drummond was productive as an elbow passer.

For the Cavs, though, Drummond in that regard could be a boost yes, but what is probably more feasible is him at least being able to hit cutters operating out of the low post.

Albeit Andre Drummond being able to pass out of doubles/anticipate them and help give Sexton, KPJ, Garland/Love and/or Dylan Windler, who is reportedly progressing along in relation to complications involving a stress reaction in his left leg, would aid Cleveland’s offense, sure.

But Drummond hitting cutters on the interior operating out of the low post could be key for the Cleveland Cavaliers, as that could cause rotators could be more drawn to that as games/the season progresses. That could then lead to those cutters at least filtering, through, which could then clear out more room for Dre for his interior looks, or enable him to find Windler or others on the perimeter/initiate ball-swings leading to more open shots.

So again, to help get more out of Drummond, whether or not he can be a viable elbow passing threat, which I have my doubts about, him hitting cutters operating out of the low post/in anticipation of double teams could help get more out of him offensively.

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It should be intriguing to see if Dre can do so fairly regularly next season.