NBA

Bulls offer Andre Drummond new stability with defined role

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The Chicago Bulls had one of the biggest offseasons in recent franchise history in 2021, acquiring both Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan in expensive signings and trades, bringing the historic team back into relevance.

A year later, after the first playoff appearance since 2017, the Bulls walked away with Andre Drummond and Goran Dragic in free agency, which for many fans was disappointing compared to the aforementioned actions last year.

However, acquiring Drummond may have long-term benefits that are not necessarily immediately recognizable.

Role stability

Drummond, best known for his days as the Detroit Piston, was traded by the team during the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline. Since then, the former All-Star has yet to appear in 50 matches for the four teams he has played for since.

He played 49 games as a Sixer, 33 games as a Cav, 24 as a Net and 21 as a Laker. It’s been a lot of instability over the course of two and a half years, which has allowed him to finally settle down with a franchise for a longer period of time. If the Bulls keep him through the entire 2022-23 season and he remains healthy, Chicago would represent the most stability of any team since Drummond wore a Pistons jersey.

Why is this relevant, you may be wondering.

Since basketball players are human beings, having stability in life, as well as job security, is objectively a good thing. Being moved often and not knowing where you will work next is not really pleasant. For the Bulls, signing Drummond to a two-year contract, worth an admittedly modest $6.6 million, should allow the veteran to settle firmly into a defined role, which will be fleshed out during camp. coaching.

Also worth noting is the fact that Drummond comes in with a very obvious area of ​​strength. In 718 career games, the 6’10 center grabbed 9,519 rebounds, 13.3 per game in 29.6 minutes per night. Drummond, who will support Nikola Vucevic, will likely receive around 16-18 minutes per night and should be able to close in on a double-digit rebound despite the low minute count, while also presenting himself as a lob target and garbage. man, who scores backhands.

Over the past three seasons, Drummond has also posted Per36 averages of 2.0 steals and 1.7 blocks, which is a pretty high level of raw statistical output.

Yes, he might struggle to guard picks and rolls, and he’ll be beaten when he moves to faster guards, but for a backup center earning less than 3% of the salary cap, there’s very little risks associated with his contract, with substantial upside when up against opposing bench players.

Boot alternative

Drummond, having started in 630 games in his career, is used to being on the floor at first tip, making him a prime candidate for nods if Vucevic goes down. Last year’s backups Tristan Thompson and Tony Bradley weren’t on the same level as Drummond, making him an immediate upgrade in situations where the Bulls might need a backup.

Drummond can also manage extended minutes when fouls with starters, which serves as an extra feather and gives Chicago the luxury of having a player at their disposal who can be counted on to absorb more time on the field.

Acquiring Drummond also helps the Bulls in another way. Chicago ranked 23rd in dunks last season (321), suggesting they were leaving points on the board by simply not converting from close range. Drummond alone, playing just 19.7 minutes per game, has 93 dunks and immediately becomes a player who will put pressure on the rim offensively.

That’s not to say Drummond is perfect. It was available at that price for a reason. Its 280-pound frame doesn’t allow for much movement, especially around the perimeter. He also has times when he stays down defensively, deciding not to challenge shots near the edge that he could, quite easily, wipe out due to his jumping ability and long reach.

Simply put, Drummond’s 7’6 wingspan looks underutilized, especially in falls coverage. He commits a ton (4.3 per 36 minutes) and often seems to play defense with his hands instead of his feet, which limits his impact at this end of the field.

As a starter and a major, Drummond is overtaxed for who he is. As a substitute who can be released in minutes, with a clear role attached to him, there is an advantage in signing.

Unless otherwise stated, all statistics via NBA.com, PBPStats, Clean the glass Where Basketball-Reference. All salary information via spotrac. All odds via FanDuel Sports Betting.

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