It has been one week since free agency opened up and the Sixers made one of the most surprising decisions in the league, signing former Lakers center Andre Drummond. Coming in to be a backup to rival Joel Embiid, this was a signing that many fans could not have predicted.
Having agreed to a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, the Sixers acquired what could be considered the best backup of Joel Embiid’s career. The 27-year-old is a two-time All-Star who has led the NBA in rebounding four times during his career.
For the Sixers, this is basically a swap of backup centers, as Dwight Howard returned to the Lakers on a one-year deal.
For the Sixers, Andre Drummond is a big upgrade at backup center.
This will be the Sixers’ fourth year in a row with a new backup center behind Joel Embiid, and regardless of fit, Drummond is an upgrade over Dwight Howard. With age being a factor, I think this can be a really good signing for the Sixers given the price of the contract. With the health of Joel Embiid being a major factor after he missed 21 games last season between knee and back injuries, Drummond is an ideal backup. He can be inserted right into the starting lineup and hopefully use his skills effectively to have a big impact during the games Embiid sits.
Drummond averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds in 21 regular season games with the Lakers. His ability to rebound the ball and protect the rim with his athleticism and size give the Sixers an essential piece to their supporting cast. Daryl Morey, who seems to be genuinely excited by the move, tweeted out a welcome to Philadelphia tweet for Drummond, in which he highlights a video of Drummond while he was on the Cavaliers dropping 32 points and 23 rebounds.
— Daryl MorΞy ???????? (@dmorey) August 4, 2021
The only concern that could potentially arise is the chance that Ben Simmons and Drummond have to share the court if the Sixers keep Simmons. Just like with Dwight Howard, Drummond and Simmons can’t play next to each other, as they both have limited offensive game and poor free throw percentages.In 368 minutes where Ben Simmons and Dwight Howard shared the floor last season, they had a Plus-Minus of -74. Insert Andre Drummond, and this could be a potential recipe for disaster knowing that he is a worse free throw shooter than Howard, having a career 47 percent success rate at the free throw line.
All in all, it will be interesting to see how Drummond plays with the Sixers next season. As of right now, there isn’t any reason to be down on this addition to the team.